Galette is a free form tart or pie from the French cuisine, made with a flaky pastry crust. You can also call it a lazy cook’s pie. Usually galettes are made as desserts with sweet fillings of fruits and dried fruits but really the flaky crust pastry base is a clean canvas that invites creativity and fills ones mind with all sorts of yummy ideas – both sweet and savoury. In my case, more savoury because I’m more a salt and spice person.
Savoury galettes make impressive main course, party starters and teatime snacks, and no rocket science involved in the making either! In fact you can mix n match things that are already in your fridge and pantry to create a star centre piece for your table. This is how my Paneer and Vegetable Galette was born! If you have the pie dough in the freezer, consider half the battle is won already.
I like to make the dough from scratch for my galette because I add flavour into the dough as well. Pastry is not just a bland vessel to hold the filling but actually the foundation to build up the flavour from, so it has to be delicious too. My Paneer and Vegetable Galette has an egg free pastry crust and still tastes very rich and tender. I add almonds to it for that secret depth of flavour which is there but you can’t really pinpoint what it really is and it makes the pastry so much flakier with least effort possible.
My ideal filling is caramelised seasonal vegetables with a hint of garlic and oregano, mixed with the goodness of Homemade Paneer Cheese . But as I’ve mentioned before, you can choose any available ingredients even left over roasts and dry vegetable curries and lentils make excellent filling options.
Make sure that whatever the filling is, it is rich and flavourful, and there is no liquid in it. Spreading a little layer of your favourite sauce – mustard, tomato, BBQ, works like a buffer between the pastry and the filling and makes each bite more palatable.
For Galette Pastry
2+1/2 cup plain or wheat flour
3/4 cup almonds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs or any dried herb of your choice
1 cup cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup chilled water
For Paneer & Vegetable Filling:
1 cup peas
1 large potato
A handful green beans
1 cup button mushrooms
1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
2 cloves garlic
1 cup paneer or cottage cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano or any of your favourite herb.
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or tomato sauce
This Is What You Do:
To make the dough for crust, add almonds to a food processor and grind to fine powder.
Add flour, salt and sugar. Whiz again to mix.
Add butter and process till the mixture is like wet sand.
Gradually add cold water till the dough comes together.
Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven at 180 degrees C.
To prepare the paneer and vegetable filling, peel and cut potatoes and carrots into thin slices so that they get cooked while baking in the galette easily. Cut slice onion. Cut green beans into 1/2 inch pieces. Half or slice button mushrooms. Crush and chop garlic.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a few seconds, till aromatic.
Add all the vegetables and mushrooms. Add lemon juice, cumin powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté till the vegetables are half done and there is no liquid in the pan. Crumble half of the paneer or cheese of your choice into the vegetables. Set aside.
Lightly grease a pie dish, baking tray or big oven proof plate.
Generously flour a worktop. Roll out the dough into a 1/8 inch thick, big round (10-11 inch). Wrap the pastry over the rolling pin. Move carefully over the pie dish and unroll it.
Spread the mustard or any other sauce over the pastry.
Spread the vegetable mixture in the centre of the pastry, leaving 2-3 inch margin empty all around. Fold the empty sides of pastry over the filling, tucking and overlapping to make little folds all around.
Brush the pastry edges with milk. Bake for 40 minutes or till the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
Top it with remaining half of the paneer and pickled jalapeños. Slice and serve warm with fresh salad and a chilled drink or as a snack with tea or coffee.