Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Overcoming the Crust

Lauren Rauh
  It's devastating for me to admit this, so I'm telling you in confidence: despite my general poise in the kitchen, there are certain dishes/foods that intimidate me. One of these elusive items is the pastry or pie crust. Even the most scrumptious pie filling can be ruined by a disappointing crust. This blog however, offers me a perfect opportunity to face my fears head on. For a baby step in overcoming my crust making adversity, I chose a recipe for, what I hoped would be, a forgiving crust. In this galette (French word for free form crusty pie like thing) a yummy caramelized squash, onion, and goat cheese filling is surrounded by a wholesome and flaky, whole wheat crust. The pastry flour is important here since all purpose whole wheat flour is much too dense.

My recipe is inspired by this lovely collection of recipes on

The Crust:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil

The Filling:

1 medium butternut squash or 2 acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, sliced in rounds
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
4oz fresh goat cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash and onions with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (a dash or two) in a shallow baking pan. Place the un-peeled garlic cloves on top of the seasoned vegetables. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the squash is tender and the onions are caramelized. Remove from the oven to cool. Leave the oven on at 375 degrees.

While the vegetables are roasting, you can make your crust. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add the water and olive oil.

Mix by hand or with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes a cohesive dough. Add more water if the dough feels too dry. The goal is to achieve a dough somewhere between crumbly (too dry) and sticky (too wet). I ended up adding another 1/2 cup of water. Pat your dough into a disk and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

When the vegetables have cooled slightly, squish the roasted garlic out of its peel and mix it with the other vegetables. Stir in half of the goat cheese, mashing the squash slightly as you do.

When the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough in a rough circle, paying close attention to keeping the crust at a uniform thickness. I stopped rolling at about 1/8 of an inch, but I would now recommend trying to get the dough even thinner.

Place the rolled out dough on a lightly greased baking pan. Fill the center of the crust with the vegetable mixture, leaving a 2-3 inch border. Fold the edges of the crust up over the filling, pleating as you move around the circle. Sprinkle the remaining goat cheese on top of your galette and place it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

The crust should be a golden and the cheese nicely browned. Slice and serve warm.

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