This galette may be more cosmetically-challenged than others, but don’t let its rustic appearance fool you – they are highly, highly addictive.
A riff on the Asparagus Galettes I told you about, this version features delicate Squash Blossoms paired with tangy, herb-infused goat cheese for a silence-inducing meal. Eating this will be a messy affair and, perhaps, downright unglamorous, no thanks to the large amount of butter involved, but food this delicious is worth every crumb-detonating bite in my book.
Why Squash Blossoms you might ask. After all, they lack a flavor all of their own, reducing them to ornamental vessels for a variety of fillings from cheese to grains. No, my infatuation with these blooms is due entirely to their aesthetics, and the exotic notion of actually eating flowers. I love drinking their infusions and tossing their buds into desserts, but eating them whole, especially when they’re as beautiful as this, is a dining experience I’ll never tire of.
Add to this their ephemerality – they have to be prepared the day they’re bought – and you’ve got gastronomic carpe diem waiting to happen. There is an urgency when you buy squash blossoms. There’s no time for meticulous research or experiments, it’s an ingredient that you need to plan for, or have your pet recipes at the ready, for an unexpected, special meal. They have a status akin to a lottery ticket for me; not always available at our local Farmers’ Market, and even then, in limited quantities, their appearance is a bonus to our weekly visit too good to pass up on.
Our standard preparation of these flowers involves drenching them in a fizzy batter, before frying and snacking on them with a side of aioli. Being new to this ingredient, I had few ideas for employing them in a way that would be more suited for a proper meal. Until, that is, I saw this pizza and this post, which together with this wonderful cookbook, inspired the recipe for this post.
The dough takes a bit of work, making it the perfect activity for a weekend, but I won’t tell anyone if you choose to use store-bought puff pastry for your version. Apart from Squash Blossoms, the galette base lends itself well to a wide variety of ingredients limited only by your imagination (and dietary needs).
I’ve used 100% all-purpose flour below, but the original recipe uses a 50-50 blend of all-purpose and pastry flour, which is supposed to make a better crust. I guess you’ll have to give it a whirl and tell me what you think!
Squash Blossoms and Herbed Goat Cheese Galettes (Adapted from the recipe for Fruit Galettes from Tartine)
Makes about 8 galettes
4 oz/ 125 ml water, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon fine salt
8 oz/ 228 grams very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
12 oz/ 340 grams all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
16 squash blossoms, rinsed and patted dry
8 oz/ 228 grams fresh goat cheese
A bunch of mixed herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, chives, tarragon) rinsed and finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
6 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Egg wash (optional):
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Start with the dough: Mix the salt and water together, then place it in the freezer, along with the butter, to chill for 10 to 15 minutes. In the meantime, measure the flour out directly on your work surface, flattening it out into a rectangle about ½-inch deep.
When ready, toss the butter cubes over the surface of the flour, dust with flour, and start rolling. Be gentle at first, using a slight rocking motion to slowly soften the cubes of butter – you don’t want the flour at the edges to end up on you or your floor. Gradually increase the pressure to flatten out the cubes into long, thin pieces, dusting your rolling pin as you go and using the pastry scraper to keep the flour in the shape of the rectangle that you started out with. Roll and scrape, roll and scrape for 3 to 4 more times until the butter becomes pliable, but not sticky.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour all the water in. With the pastry scraper, mix the water into the dough by scooping the outside of the dough into the center and scraping it together as you go until you get a truly messy, shaggy pile of flour, butter and water that doesn’t look like anything edible.
After all the water is fully incorporated into the flour, roughly shape the mass into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Dust the top of the rectangle and your rolling pin with flour, and start rolling it out until its 1½ times its original size, then scrape it together and repeat the rolling. Do this for 3 more times until you get a neat, smooth and cohesive 10 x 14-inch rectangle of dough. Transfer it to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 to 1½ hours.
While the dough’s in the fridge, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the goat cheese, herbs and lemon juice. Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time until you get a spreadable consistency. Season to taste and chill until ready to use.
Prepare the egg wash (if using) by whisking the egg yolk and cream together.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F/ 190C and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each square out into your preferred shape – square or round – until they’re barely ⅛-inch thick.
Spread a generous tablespoon of goat cheese in the center of each dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Top with 2 squash blossoms, then pleat the sides and chill the prepared galettes in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Just before baking, liberally brush the edges of the dough with egg wash (if using) and drizzle some olive oil over the top. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through for even baking.
The galettes are done when the crust has turned a dark brown and the blossoms are slightly charred, but retain most of their color. If they’re browning too quickly, reduce the heat to 350F or cover the baking sheet with foil. Serve the galettes fresh out of the oven or at room temperature.