November 11, 2008

Butternut Squash Galette - for Kate

When I was going to school in Halifax last year, I lived in residence and I didn’t have a kitchen. I went over to my sister’s house a lot to cook with her. As the year went on, I also started going over to my friend Kate’s apartment.

Cooking with Kate was one of the best things about last year (among a lot of good ones). We never made anything fancy or complicated – Kate doesn’t usually cook from recipes, unlike me – but we shared a passion for good food and a love of being in the kitchen. I discovered how much fun it is to cook with a good friend.

We even ended up having weekly dinner parties with her friends Heather, Jenny and Kayley. I always looked forward to Thursday nights, when we would all meet at Kate’s, relax on the couch, cook and drink wine, and have great conversations about absolutely everything.

So when Kate came to visit me in Edmonton last weekend, I knew that we had to find some time to cook together. She was here for less than two days, but I thought we could make supper together on Friday night. I decided on a recipe I had been eyeing in Deborah Madison’s book: Winter Squash Galette.

You know what it’s like when you haven’t seen a friend in a while, but it’s so easy to slip back into being around them?

Being in our kitchen with Kate felt almost like last year again. The galette was easy to make, but it took a while. Between every step we sat at the table and talked. Kate told me more about her trip to Europe last summer, and all the amazing food she ate. As the cooking progressed we both exclaimed about how good it looked, and how excited we were to taste it. After a while we opened a bottle of wine. It was going to be a late supper, but we didn’t care.

(In case you’re wondering, J was around during all this, but he left us alone to cook together.)

After several hours, the apartment smelled amazing, with the squash and sage mingling with the scent of the pastry. I pulled the galette out of the oven. It was golden brown and deep orange, and it looked delicious. I was proud of myself for remembering to fry some sage leaves as a garnish, just like in Deborah’s picture.

Some of our other friends had joined us, and we shared supper with them. The galette was a smash hit. Creamy and flaky, sweet and savoury, it tasted like the essence of fall. The parmesan cheese and the earthiness of the sage danced with the sweet squash and the roasted garlic in every bite.

“This is amazing,” said Kate. “I need to copy down the recipe.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll put it up on my blog.”

So here it is, for Kate and for everyone else. This galette is worth the time it takes, even if you don’t have a good friend to make it with. But it will be so much better if you do.

Galette Dough

From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

2 cups all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 to ½ cup ice water, as needed

Mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl. Cut in the butter by hand or using a mixer with a paddle attachment, leaving some pea-sized chunks. Sprinkle the ice water over the top by the tablespoon and toss with the flour mixture until you can bring the dough together into a ball. Press into a disk and refrigerate for fifteen minutes if the butter feels soft.

Winter Squash Galette

from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

My one precaution: I found that when I rolled the dough out to about 14 inches, it was quite thin and fragile, and it was difficult to move the galette onto the baking sheet. When I make it again I’m going to roll it out a little bit thicker. Or you could roll it out directly onto the sheet. Also, I baked it on parchment paper just to make sure it wouldn’t stick to the pan.

One batch galette dough

2 ½ pounds winter squash, such as butternut

1 small head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the squash

1 onion, finely diced

12 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or two teaspoons dried (I used fresh)

½ cup finely grated pecorino or Parmesan

Salt and freshly milled pepper

1 egg, beaten

Make the dough. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, and brush the cut surface with oil. Stuff the garlic into the cavities and place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan. Bake until the flesh is tender, about 40 minutes. Scoop out the squash and squeeze the garlic cloves. Mash them together with a fork until fairly smooth, leaving some texture.

Warm 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sage and cook until the onion is soft and beginning to colour, about 12 minutes. Add it to the squash along with the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle and spread the filling over it, leaving a border of 2 inches or more. Pleat the dough over the filling, then brush the edges with a beaten egg. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Garnish with fried sage leaves, if desired.


Anonymous said...

Is!!! You are the best, and so is this galette. I loved, loved, loved seeing you, and it was wonderful to read this. A perfect account of our friendship and love for food! Kate xoxo

JWM said...

I jusst posted a link to your blog page on Full Belly Farm's facebook page, because we are getting butternut squash in our CSA boxes this week and I love that galette!