We thought that we’d take a quick break from all those cracker and dip recipes that we’ve run over the last few days. We still have a few more, but it’s hard to make a good dinner from crackers and dips, isn’t it? So, let’s see about a dinner that looks pretty darn fancy, tastes even better, but is very little trouble to scratch up!
Galette is a French term that implies a rustic tart or pie. Not necessarily a pie in the cherry pie sense, nor necessarily a tart in the lemon tart sense, although either could be a galette, we think. Instead of fitting a single category when it comes to sweet vs. savory, it’s more like both. A galette can be either sweet or savory, or even a bit of both. The rustic part basically means that you’re making a free-form “pie.” No pie pan required! So, it sounds as if you can put pretty much any filling in a galette, shape it any way you want, and bake it up, right? Well, actually, that seems pretty close to the truth. The only thing we’d add is that by calling it a galette, it sounds fancy, too.
For these little galettes, we started with a recipe from The Southern Vegetarian, by Justin Fox and Amy Lawrence, cut back on the number of apples, and made several small galettes instead of one big one. Feel free to undo the changes.
Makes eight 3-inch galettes
We recommend using Bouchon Bakery’s Pâte Brisée because it’s so easy, and it’s one of the best that we’ve had. If you have a pie crust that you like a lot, by all means use that; we can’t stop you. For the apples, we really recommend you get a good baking apple; we used Granny Smith, but a Fuji might work well here, too. For the thyme, yes, you could use dried, but fresh is a bit better. For the cheese, you’ll want one with a lot of flavor; we went with a sharp Cheddar. For cooking with wine, always pick a wine you like to drink. If you don’t like the taste of it in a glass, why would you think you’d like the taste in an entrée?
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. The galettes can leak out apple juice mixed with brown sugar, so the parchment or mats will be a time-saver in cleanup.
Slice apples. Pour the lemon juice into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Core and slice apples, stirring them into the juice to coat and prevent discoloration as you go.
Cook onions. In a small skillet over medium heat, fry the onions in the tablespoon of butter until they’re soft and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add wine. Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the wine is gone, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. The wine will provide some flavors, but the alcohol will help extract other flavors from the onion, too. It’s a win-win.
Make filling. Mix apples with the cheese, brown sugar, thyme, onions, salt, and pepper. Feel free to taste; it already tastes really good.
Roll out dough. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces, and roll each one between two pieces of parchment until it’s about 5 inches in diameter. No need to be perfect here; not a circle is a-ok.
Drape over ring. Place a rolled piece of dough over a 3-inch by 1-inch tart ring, allowing excess to flow over the edges. Fill with the apple mixture. Press filling down gently, then fold excess dough over the top. Carefully remove the tart ring (no top or bottom; it looks like a wide bracelet) and repeat with remaining dough and filling. You can easily get 4 galettes on a single baking sheet; more than that might crowd them a bit, preventing even baking. Finally, if you don’t have a tart ring (we didn’t, until recently), you could use a clean tuna can with top and bottom removed.
Bake. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until cheese is bubbly, apples are a bit caramelized, and crust is golden brown.
Serve. These taste fine either hot or just warm, so feel free to let them cool a bit before serving.
We made these with a dinner picnic for a local production of Shakespeare in the Park in mind. We wanted something small, transportable, easy to eat, and something that would be really good, even if it started to cool. We’d been out picking apples a few days before, so we wanted to use some of those super fresh, just picked, Granny Smith apples; these galettes came to mind. As it turned out, the galettes were perfect for the picnic. They were delicious, with lots of flavor, although they did tend to crumble — to make 8 galettes, the dough needs to be rolled very thin; next time we’ll probably make just 6 — we were able to get them down to the park without too much trouble, and it was fun to eat these under the stars while waiting for The Merry Wives of Windsor to start. Five stars! Absolutely.