We had many requirements at culinary school, one of which was to assist 3 recreational cooking classes. I loved doing this and volunteered often. One particular evening I assisted a pastry class where the students were making an assortment of tarts. The chef described a galette as a “rustic tart” and then smirked, stating:
“I love the word ‘rustic’. It means it doesn’t have to be pretty.”
She had a point. When using tart molds, I often spend quite a bit of time making sure the dough is perfectly formed. Patience and practice yields perfection. Galettes are much easier, and their imperfections are what make them beautiful, in my opinion. They’re great for beginners and experts alike.
This butternut squash and goat cheese galette has a wonderful balance of flavors and is perfect for fall entertaining. The apple enhances the sweetness of the butternut squash and the pecans offer a nice crunch. The shallots and goat cheese are savory and rich. You can get 6-8 appetizer servings, depending on how big you want your slices.
- store-bought pie crust OR ½ recipe of Pâte Brisée (see below)
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and sliced
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried sage, plus more for topping
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg, plus more for topping
- ⅓ cup pecans
- ¼ cup good quality goat cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the butternut squash in a light coating of olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
- While the squash is roasting, brown the butter, shallot and apple in a skillet on medium high heat until everything is soft and caramelized. Set aside to cool.
- Mix the cinnamon, sage, nutmeg and a pinch of salt together and then toss with the apple and shallots.
- Toast the pecans at 400 degrees until you can smell them, allow to cool, and then coarsely chop.
- This tart only requires half a recipe of pâte brisée. I usually make the full recipe and then freeze the other half until needed, but that's up to you. Roll the dough onto a floured surface until very thin. Use a pizza cutter to make a circle with the dough that's around 12 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the rolled dough to a baking sheet covered in parchment. The best way to do this is to gently roll the dough around the rolling pin, then unroll it on top of the baking sheet.
- Spread the apple shallot mixture evenly across the dough, leaving approximately a 2 inch border.
- Sprinkle the pecans evenly on top of the mixture.
- Spread the roasted butternut squash on top of the nuts.
- Distribute spoonfuls of goat cheese on top of the squash.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of dried sage evenly across the tart. Top with fresh grated nutmeg.
- Fold the excess dough on top of the ingredients in a circle, until you have a tightly formed tart.
- Chill for 15 minutes (this helps the dough set and cook evenly).
- Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the goat cheese is browning and the dough is firm. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.
- 12 ounces all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces cold butter, chopped
- ⅓ cup cold water
- Add flour, butter and salt into a food processor
- Pulse on and off until the mixture is crumbly.
- Slowly add the water with the machine running just until the dough forms a ball.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.