Many home cooks think making dough is not just hard but tricky, with lots of ways to fail. Although it is, indeed, possible to mess up dough, it really isn’t difficult, especially if you relax, know your ingredients and know yourself.
Galette dough is the easiest to make and is ideal for anyone with warm hands, as it takes just minutes to make. The biggest problem with dough is working it too much and allowing the butter to get to warm. So, relax, follow the dough recipe exactly, and, if you know you have warm hands, put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before beginning. Keeping things cold and mixing quickly will prevent the butter from warming, as will chilling the dough before and after rolling it out.
A savory galette makes a great summer meal, especially with a big green salad alongside. One large galette will serve 2 to 4 people if it is the main course, and no one has an enormous appetite.
Two large galettes make a feast.
When adding the filling to a galette, keep in mind that “less is more,” as you don’t want to weigh down the dough and have it get soggy.
Don’t worry too much about measuring each ingredient. Just use your judgment and your eyes, as my small zucchini, for example, may be a different size than yours. You don’t want fillings piled high, like an American-style pizza.
Savory Galette Dough, with Summer Fillings
Makes 2 large or 8 small galettes
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces unsalted butter, in small pieces, cold
1/2 cup ice-cold water
— Filling of choice (suggestions follow)
1 egg white, mixed with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
— Maldon Sea Salt, Hawaiian Alaea Salt, or other high-quality coarse salt
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper and mix well with a fork.
Cut in the butter, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal; work very quickly so that the butter does not become too warm.
Add the ice water and press the dough gently until it just comes together; do not overmix — it’s okay if there appears to be unmoistened flour.
Spread a sheet of wax paper over a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it.
Grip the ends of the wax paper and pull them together, so that it presses the dough together. Wrap the dough into a ball and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. (At this point, the dough can be wrapped a second time in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.)
To make large galettes, cut the dough into 2 equal pieces; wrap one and return it to the refrigerator.
Set the other piece of dough on a floured work surface and use the palm of your hand to pat it flat.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick and about 14 inches in diameter.
Set the dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and keep chilled until ready to fill.
To make small galettes, cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and cut each piece in half and in half again. Keep all but the piece you are working with in the refrigerator. Roll the small pieces of dough into 6-inch rounds.
To freeze the dough after it has been rolled, separate each galette with a sheet of wax paper and then either slip the stack into a freezer bag, push out all the air and seal it or wrap the stack in a double layer of plastic wrap. Freeze for up to about 3 months.
To finish the galettes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
To fill, spread a thin layer of whatever you are using evenly over the galette, leaving a 2-inch margin.
Gently fold the margin of dough up and over the filling, pleating the edges as you fold. Use a pastry brush to brush the exposed dough with the egg wash and then sprinkle salt on top of the wash.
Set on the middle rack of the oven and cook until the pastry is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let rest 5 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
Sheep milk ricotta, mortadella, & olive oil: Using about 4 to 6 ounces of fresh sheep milk ricotta, cover the galette with spoonfuls of the cheese. Cut 3 or 4 thin slices of old-fashioned-style mortadella (with pistachios) into small dice and scatter on top. Grind black pepper over everything and bake as directed. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil just before cutting into wedges and serving.
Zucchini rounds with lemon & olive oil: Cut 2 or 3 small zucchini into thin rounds, set in a colander, and sprinkle generously with salt. Set a plate or lid on top so that it presses down on the zucchini, set over the sink or a bowl and let drain for 30 to 60 minutes.
Tip onto a clean tea towel and pat dry. Brush the dough, after rolling, lightly with olive oil and spread the zucchini on top. Season with salt, grated lemon zest, a light spritz of lemon juice. Bake as serve as directed.
Grated Zucchini with garlic, cheese & avocado: Grate 2 small or 1 medium zucchini on the large blade of a box grater into a medium bowl. Mince 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and toss with the zucchini, along with a little salt.
Brush the dough with a little olive oil and spread 4 ounces of grated cheese, such as St. George, Carmody, Vella Mezzo Seco or Jack, over it. Top with the zucchini and spread it out evenly. Bake as directed. Cool slightly, cut into wedges, and top each piece with a lengthwise slice of avocado and enjoy warm.
Tomatoes, garlic, & basil: Cut 1 or 2 local ripe tomatoes into thin rounds, spread over the surface of the rolled dough, and scatter minced garlic (as much or as little as you’d like) over them. Season with salt and pepper, bake as directed, and let cool slightly.
Cut several basil leaves into very thin ribbons, scatter on top, and enjoy warm.
Mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic & basil: Cut fresh mozzarella into 1/4-inch rounds and spread over the surface of the rolled galette.
Top with sliced tomatoes and minced garlic, season with salt, and bake as directed. Cool slightly, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, top with ribbons of basil, and enjoy warm.
Bacon, cheese & tomato: Cut 4 slices of bacon in half crosswise and fry until almost crisp. Drain on absorbent paper. Grate 3 ounces of cheese of choice over the surface of the rolled dough and top with sliced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and add the bacon.
Bake as directed, let cool slightly, and enjoy warm.
Eggplant with feta and toasted sesame seeds: Cut 1 medium eggplant into 3/8-inch-thick rounds. Sauté in olive oil until just tender and drain on absorbent paper.
Arrange the eggplant over the dough and scatter 3 ounces of crumbled feta and a teaspoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds on top. Cook as directed and enjoy warm.
Eggplant with feta & tapenade: Follow the instructions above for eggplant and omit the sesame seeds. Cook as directed, cool slightly, cut into wedges, and add a generous dollop of your favorite tapenade on each slice. Enjoy warm.
Soppressata, roasted sweet peppers, & Fontina: First, sear the skins of 1 large or 2 medium sweet red peppers, peel, remove the seed core, and cut into medium julienne.
Put into a small bowl, add 2 minced garlic cloves, several turns of black pepper, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and set aside for a few minutes.
Grate 3 ounces of Italian Fontina. Cover the surface of the rolled dough with a single layer of soppressata; it will take 4 to 5 thin slices. Using your dominant hand, pick up the sweet peppers and squeeze to leave excess liquid in the bowl. Spread over the soppressata, top with the cheese, and cook as directed.
Let cool slightly, scatter 2 tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley on top, cut into wedges, and enjoy warm.
Michele Anna Jordan has written 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Oil & Vinegar. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.