Monday 27 March 2017

Roast rhubarb galette

Galet: Old French meaning pebble. So what's a galette then? Isn't that a tart?

A galette is several things; always the way with food. In the north of France it might be a buckwheat pancake served with eggs and ham. In Belgium it's a waffle. In North Lahndahn it's a pretentious name for a tart by a cook who can't EVEN BE BOTHERED TO MAKE HIS OWN PUFF.* It can be, in fact, anything served flat and round. But I'm using the best known definition of a 'flat cake of pastry, often topped with fruit'. OK, rhubarb is a vegetable but it's close. You may well have neighbours popping round with rude sticks of the red stuff. This is your chance to escape the inevitable mulchy crumble.

I'm always looking for new ways of serving rhubarb, especially ones that involve a crunch. The reason this isn't a tart is I wanted to ensure a really crisp and light crunch. Texture is as important as taste, otherwise we might as well blend everything. The other reason is that I can prepare rhubarb and galette at leisure, combing just before service, ensuring the crisp base stays crisp.

It's a great combination. I'm going to use this with peaches and apricots, come the season.

One of the prettiest things in the kitchen.

The rhubarb was roasted in a 140°C oven for about 15 minutes. Cut small and sprinkled generously with caster sugar, the rhubarb keeps its shape this way.

Puff pasty galette

Preheat oven to 200°C.

My galettes are made from puff pastry. I normally use a commercial all-butter number. I will make my own again one day. One day. It is such a faff. The recipe I used to use is M. Roux's. I make individual ones but for family meals, a large one works just as well. When I do make it, I'd mix in some vanilla seeds too.

Roll out your pastry to thickness of a pound. The old round pound! Hey, maybe the new one will be thinner?

Using a tartlet ring cut shapes out. This is much easier when the pastry is cold and stiff so return it to the freezer for a few moments if it's a warm day.

Lift out and carefully centre the pastry in the case, pushing down the excess onto the base. This gives you a slight ridge, all the better to withhold your fruit.

Beat an egg with a little milk and brush the pastry discs. Now sprinkle a big pinch of caster sugar over each. This ensures extra crispness and crunch. 

Bake for 12 minutes. For a large galette you'll probably need 20 minutes. The pastry will dome alarmingly. Remove and gently press the centres down with a spoon. Return to the oven for maybe 6-8 minutes. You want a good, deep golden colour. Remove and allow to cool before uncasing them.

Just before service. Pile rhubarb and a little of the roasting syrup into the centre of each galette and sprinkle with more caster sugar. You could, if you have the time and patience (and who doesn't) arrange the pieces of fruit like a mosaic. Roast for just five minutes at 220°C. Allow the tarts to cool to hand holdable then serve.

I served mine with pistachio ice creamcrystallised pistachios and some of the roasting syrup further pan reduced until sticky and then drizzled. It would also work with a simple vanilla whipped cream.

*Honestly, this is the one thing I serve that I don't make from scratch.

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