A rustic-looking galette, made with flaky pastry and your choice of sweet or savoury fillings, has been all the rage with food bloggers from France to California lately. I decided to take on the trend and found myself transformed. How could something so simple as a galette be taken to such an obscene delicious end?
Bon Appetit seem to be everyone’s best friend right now. At home with no restaurants and plenty of ingredients, we all turn to the website where we can type in one word and be presented with hundreds of recipes. Galettes have always been a friend of mine. A French, free-form classic. Rather than the quiche or tarte, which require shaped pans and laminated pastry, the galette offers us all a bit more experimentation.
The best part of a galette? You can make them salty and savoury or sweet and scrumptious. I am itching to make this recipe again with peaches in the centre and a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. For now, we will make do with the savoury option I took on.
The first step into this journey requires making pastry. Many of you will be turned off by this idea, frightened away by the difficulty of making laminated pastry or really any other kind of dough. Let me say – even promise – that this is some of the easiest dough you will make and the outcome makes it so so worth it. First of all, there are only 4 ingredients. Cold butter, flour, apple cider vinegar, and cold water. That’s it !!!! You will want the butter to be fullllly cold, so take it directly from the fridge and cut into small cubes, that way it incorporates better. Then, measure your flour and add it all into a food processor (butter and flour). If you haven’t got a food processor, you can do it by hand as well. The point is simply to incorporate the flour and butter together, until the butter exists only in pea-sized balls as opposed to the chunks you originally had in. If you do it by hand, it will require some squeezing and mélange-ing until you have a sandy consistency.
A common mistake is to make a too moist dough. Be very aware of that as you go into this journey and really do not add more water unless you feel it is absolutely necessary. Add in 1 Tbsp of the vinegar, and a couple of Tbsps of cold water, mix the dry mixture together until it comes together. Add in a tiny bit of water at a time (1 Tbsp) maximum, and only if needed. Once all the dry is incorporated, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and give it a small knead with your palms to make sure that everything is truly mixed together. Shape this into a disc, wrap in plastic and put into the fridge for two hours.
A French food blogger that I follow makes the pâte a bit differently, including an egg and sesame seeds to the mix. The Bon Appetit version worked so well that I don’t see why we should complicate things with an egg, but if you are feeling adventurous or don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can (after mixing the butter and flour) make a well in the middle, crack in an egg, add in some sesame seeds, as well as the cold water and mix it from there. Still shape it into a disc, wrap in plastic, and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
As the time is coming to an end on your timer, you can begin to make the filling (and preheat the oven to 200ºC). Again, it is your prerogative to use what you like. If tomatoes aren’t your thing, then get creative with things that ARE your thing ! Heirloom tomatoes have such a delicious earthy flavour, I would recommend them for this recipe, but vine tomatoes will work just fine. I decided to keep it simple for the first one, and sliced up some tomatoes before placing them in a mixing bowl, as well as some sliced garlic and a hearty sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
These need to sit, not only to gain flavour, but because the tomatoes will begin to lose some of their liquid due to the salt. In the oven, the tomatoes will release all of their juicy goodness, which sounds nice until it gives your pastry a soggy bottom. We do not want soggy bottoms ! Salting is a double whammy because, thanks to chemistry, it not only draws out liquid, but also intensifies flavour. That means that with the juices that leave, you’re not missing out on anything.
After about 10 minutes, drain the tomatoes and lay them out on a paper towel in order to ensure that as much liquid as possible comes off. Don’t lose any of your garlic bits in this ! Hopefully they are clinging onto the tomatoes and imbuing them with flavour as well.
Now, your dough should be done with its time out. Unwrap it, place it on a lightly floured bit of parchment, and roll that sucker out. You want the dough to be in a circle shape, and relatively evenly shaped. About 3 mm thick, about 15 cm round, and not overly thick in one place as opposed to another. Another common mistake is to roll the dough too thin or too thick. This can be the real sucker of the ordeal, but just take it slow, flour your rolling pin, and believe in yourself! You can do it.
Once it is rolled out, sprinkle a healthy amount of feta cheese over the top of the dough, leaving a border of about 4 cm on all sides. (Look – I do not ever measure, I just eyeball it ! Don’t get out a ruler and waste your time stressing about that. Perfection doesn’t matter, it is simply if it looks right to you !) Feta covering the base of the dough, lay the tomatoes and garlic mixture over the top. Fold over the edges of the galette, making do as needed, and brush the top of that with an egg wash. Season the top heartily with black pepper and flaky sea salt.
An egg wash has many variations, but for this you can take the whole egg, 1 Tsp of water, and beat together with a fork. It will give the galette that gorgeous golden hue that you look for in baked pies.
One final step – place the whole galette on the baking tray into your freezer for about 10 minutes. This quick freeze will just help everything to keep its shape.
Finally, bake that galette. It will go into your preheated oven (at 200ºC) and stay there for an hour. Halfway through cooking, make sure to flip it around so that it gets a nice, even bake. Let it cool slightly once you remove it from the oven, on the baking sheet is fine, and top it with a tiny bit of lemon zest and some fresh cut green onions.
We can’t stop talking about how good this tasted, and I am excited to try it all again with various fruits and vegetables into the summer. Leek, mushrooms, and then blackberries, stone fruits… you can really have it all!
Give it a try and maybe this will become a staple in your kitchen as well! The galette makes for a wonderful appetizer pre-meal, but also was just enough for the two of us to enjoy as dinner.
Tomato Feta Galette
- 240 g flour, plus extra for dusting
- 21/4 tsp salt, divided
- 170 g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 medium heirloom or vine tomatoes, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ~100g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 egg, beaten to make wash
- Chopped fresh green onion or chives
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Zest of 1/4 lemon
- Mix the butter with the flour, either by hand or in the food processor, until only pea-sized pieces of butter remain and it has a sandy consistency.
- Add apple cider vinegar and 50 mL of ice cold water to the flour/butter combination. Mix in until a dough is formed, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead with palms until everything is well incorporated and there are no more dry spots. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic (or bee’s wrap!) and place in the fridge. Chill for 2 hours.
- Near the end of the dough’s chilling time, begin making the inside – slice the tomatoes and garlic, toss together in a bowl and add 1 tsp of sea salt. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Drain the tomato mixture of liquid, and place slices onto a paper towel. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- Unwrap the dough and roll into a 14cm circle, about 3mm thick on lightly floured parchment paper.
- Move the parchment paper and dough onto a baking sheet, and begin scattering feta over the bottom, leaving a border. Layer tomatoes and garlic on top. Fold the edges over the filling, overlapping as needed. Season with salt and pepper and brush with egg wash.
- Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Bake in centre of the oven for about 1 hour, until the crust is golden brown. Flip it halfway through cooking. Let cool on baking sheet briefly once removing from oven.
- Add chopped onion or chives and zest over top.
- Serve !
I try to not include too many personal narratives in my posts, instead opting for helpful cooking tips. When I make recipes, I am often wondering “Why am I doing this or that?” and I hope that cooking is a fun and educational experience for you – where you can learn about ingredients and carry that knowledge over various recipes.
Give this galette a try, and let me know what you put inside ! Tomatoes and feta were a classic, and turned out so good I think it will be hard to break from this new tradition!