November 25, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten a galette before, and I’ve certainly never made one before. But a week or so ago, my grandma saw a few butternut squash sitting in a bowl on our counter and asked if they were decorative gourds (which immediately made me think of this, but I managed to refrain from reciting it to my gram who probably wouldn’t have found it as hilarious as I do). I explained that they were not decorative gourds but rather butternut squash, and she replied that she had never eaten butternut squash before and wondered what it tasted like. Since we had already volunteered to bring a side disk to Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s house, we decided that we should make something with butternut squash so that gram could give it a try.
Determining what exactly to make was a challenge. We are big fans of butternut squash in risotto, but we didn’t think risotto would work well with turkey, plus it is time intensive and requires a good bit of stove-top attention, which would be tricky to pull off in a smallish kitchen with numerous cooks.
We needed something that would compliment the other fall flavors that would be on the table, and that we could make in advance at our house and just warm up while the turkey was resting. I hit up my usual sources for amazing recipes and found Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for butternut squash and caramelized onion galette — the flavors sounded perfect (I’m a sucker for sage), and it could be made in advance and served at room temperature. Done and done.
I was a bit nervous making this. I’m not much of a baker and dough usually intimidates me (although I’ve grown quite comfortable with making fresh pasta dough and my pizza dough turned out nicely too). But the galette dough actually wasn’t too hard to make, it rolled out beautifully and it baked into a crispy, flaky, buttery pastry and I was pretty stunned that I had managed to pull it off.
The filling smelled divine and I had a hard time not just plopping down on a chair with the bowl and a spoon and going to town. But as good as it smells in the bowl, it smells a million times better wrapped in buttery pastry and baking in the oven.
The end result was really outstanding. This will likely make another appearance soon, perhaps at Christmas dinner.
Adapted, barely, from Smitten Kitchen
For the dough
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in freezer for 1 hour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and chilled in freezer for 1 hour
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 dashes cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To make the dough, combine the chilled flour with salt in a mixing bowl and mix well to combine. Add the chilled butter to the flour mixture and use a fork to toss the butter pieces in the flour and coat them well. Using a pastry cutter or meat beater, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal; the biggest pieces of butter should be no bigger than a pea. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and ice water (remove any ice cubes first) and add to the butter and flour mixture, mixing with a wooden spoon until large lumps form. Using your hands, pat the lumps together into a ball, being careful not to overwork the dough. Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- While the dough is curing in the refrigerator, prepare the squash. Cut the squash in half (cut at the line where the cylindrical part meets the bulbous part) and peel both halves. Cut the peeled halves in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut squash into ½ inch slices and then cut into ½ inch cubes. Transfer squash to a 13×9 glass baking dish, toss with olive oil to coat, arrange squash cubes in a single layer in the pan and roast for 30 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While the dough is still curing and the squash is roasting, caramelize the onions. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet, add onion and a pinch of salt and sugar and cook over low flame, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add 2 dashes of cayenne pepper and mix well to combine.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine squash, caramelized onions, grated fontina and chopped sage.
- Sprinkle a good bit of flour on a clean work surface, flour your rolling pin and roll out dough into a 12 inch round (it doesn’t need to be perfectly round, this is a rustic tart and it need not be uniform and perfect looking). You will notice streaks and splotches of butter in the dough — this is as it should be and it will bring you happiness.
- Transfer the rolled out dough to an ungreased pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread vegetable and cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the vegetable and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit and leaving a large opening in the center of the galette. Bake for 40 minutes or until dough is golden brown; begin checking on the color of the dough around 30 minutes to make sure it is not too dark. Remove galette from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then carefully slide the galette from the baking pan onto a plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. If taking to a party, you can warm it up in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes before serving if you wish (you may want to loosely cover it with foil to prevent further browning of the dough).
- The original recipe directs you to use a pastry cutter to cut the chilled butter into the dough, but I didn’t take note of that instruction when I found the recipe a week ago and I didn’t realize that I do not own a pastry cutter until about 9 pm the night before Thanksgiving. So I improvised and used my favorite kitchen tool, the meat beater. If you have neither a meat beater nor a pastry butter (tsk tsk), I’ve read that you can cut in the butter using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on speed setting two.
- I had to grate my fontina cheese, and it was very soft and creamy. I remembered reading somewhere once that it was easier to grate soft creamy cheeses if you froze them first. So I cut off a hunk of fontina and froze it before grating, and it was a mess — it grated into fine flakes that basically melted into a big blob once the cheese came to room temperature. Fortunately I had another big hunk of fontina in the fridge which I just grated with my box grater, and while it was a little messy, it turned out fine. Lesson learned, don’t freeze the fontina before grating.
- You could cook the butternut squash and caramelize the onion the night before, place them in separate containers and refrigerate until the next day when you’re ready to make the galette. Just make sure to bring the veggies to room temperature before mixing together with the cheese and sage, otherwise the filling will be cold when it goes into the oven and it will take longer to cook and you may end up with burnt dough as a result.