Food for Fall

Florida weather has finally dipped into the 60’s, it happened late last night as we slept. As a result, the morning welcomed us with a crisp breeze and a sunny (yet not humid) start to what we hope to be the beginning of autum. That is to say, the start of a season for baking nice buttery pastries and pies. And in the land of eternal heat waves, a little break is always celebrated with something warm and carby. Because we still have late summer eggplants in our markets down here, I decided to stock up and make a savory gallette. For those who have never heard of a gallette, it is a simple, rustic style tart that is made with a buttery and flaky crust. The dough is rolled out into a circle and the filling is placed in the middle, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of exposed dough, which just gets folded over the filling. It is perfect for a quick dinner.

I have made many pies and tarts before, but this time I wanted to try a new recipe. As I perused through the usual list of food blogs, I came upon a pie crust that required sour cream. This was a recipe adapted from the smittenkitchen.com food blog. I had nothing but greek plain yogurt, so I took the risk and decided to use it as a substitute.

The result was a lovely crust that crumbled at first bite. The flaky morsels of crust that were left behind on the plate were almost eaten immediately because it would have been a crime to leave all the buttery, golden goodness behind.

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Caramelized Eggplant Gallette

The crust is actually the star of this dish. The filling, the supporting actors. You can throw in any veggies that you have in the fridge and make a nice hearty filling. In my case, I had eggplants, shallots, red peppers, and garlic.

The Crust
Like I mentioned before, i adapted this recipe from the smittenkitchen.com blog. This is the flaky crust recipe as it appears in their site. I ommited the sour cream and subbed with yogurt.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

1. Cube the butter and chill. Scale all ingredients and chill for atleast 30 minutes. The cold ingredients will make for a flakier crust.
2. Combine your salt and flour, add the butter and start to disentigrate with your hands until the butter is the size of small peas. You can also use a food processor for this step but I don’t like to was all the extra dishes : )
3. Mix the water, yogurt, and lemon together. Add half of the wet mixture into the dry and start to form a dough ball. Add the rest of the wet mixture as needed to form a cohesive ball. Once the ball is formed, place it on a large piece of plastic wrap, then place another piece of equal size wrap over the top and start to form the dough into a small disk as you press down. Chill for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees during this time.
5. Once your dough is chilled, pull it out and with a rolling pin start to flatten it out until it is only 1/4 of an inch thick. Make sure you keep a semi round form. remove the top plastic. Now, with some ninja chef skills, grab the corners of the bottom plastic film and flip the dough over onto a sheet tray.
6. Spoon the filling of your choice onto the center of the dough and work your way out, leaving a 1 1/2 inch thick border. Fold the border over the filling and bake until the crust gets golden brown. You will begin to smell the aroma of browned butter.

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I grated some aged parm cheese onto my pie to make things a little more interesting. As it turns out, I have not been the first to use substitute yogurt for cream. Apparently the yogurt acts as a binder for the dough. Several sites, including Foodandwine.com feature pie crust recipes that include yogurt. The main reason as to why yogurt has made such a visible difference in the taste and texture of my pie remains a mystery. I will surely investigate and return with answers soon. Meanwhile, I’ll be eating my pie! Happy baking!

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