Rustic Whole Wheat and Heirloom Tomato Galette
Last year’s garden tomatoes were our humble local country varieties which yielded in such profuse abundance, we had no choice but to chutney them over and over again. This year started us on other adventures, which demanded more showcasing and celebration of the aesthetics and taste of the tomato itself. We started with the grand galette:
First, there were the tomatoes, like beautiful red and yellow lights slowly coming on in the midst of garden greens …
Picked, cherished, caressed, wow-ed over …
And then there was the galette, built as a foundation on which to layer the ripening tomatoes–a context for their tastes to pop. We played with crusts a few times, and made ours with whole wheat. We reduced the cream cheese that forms the galette’s hidden inner layer, and added whatever basils the garden offered–rather than searching for fresh rosemaries or thymes (though you could use those, too).
Packaged it all up:
And roasted it until the crust was crisp and crumbly, and the tomatoes’ tastes intensified:
A celebration of form and content alike:
Which we then cut into generous servings:
And served warm with cold French bean salads (barely steamed crisp beans, with a touch of the best Balsamic vinaigrette ever, and a few toasted sliced almonds when we had them, herbs when we did not):
Mmmmmmm. Want to know how we did it? Recipe follows. It’s easy as
pie galette, I promise.
- About half a packet or 1 cup of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or a bit less)
- 1 large onion, diced
- a handful of fresh basil leaves (substitute or combine with thyme and/or rosemary if you have those around)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 smallish egg, beaten
- scant 1/4 cup ice cold water
- A bit of heavy cream or egg wash, for brushing crust
- 6-8 tomatoes of various sizes and colors, sliced approximately 1/4 inch thick
- salt, to taste
- fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (optional)
- Torn basil leaves, to garnish and serve
- Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add in the pieces of butter. Working with clean hands and quickly, press and flatten the bits of butter to incorporate it into the flour. Don't worry about combining it too much, just work it a little.
- Add the beaten egg; mix again with your hands.
- Add the cold water a spoonful at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball. If you need to add a little more flour or a little less water to have this happen, then use your discretion and do so.
- Knead quickly and briefly to form a consistent ball. You want the butter to stay cold, so don't do so much that the whole mix turns warm.
- Now place the dough into a small covered box or wrap in some old clean plastic bag and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day
- Combine all ingredients for the filling and mix well.
- Easy, wasn't it?
- Preheat your oven to 375F/190C
- Have a baking sheet ready to go onto the middle rack
- When you're ready, roll out your dough on a well-floured surface, into a round or a rectangle (as we did) until it's less than 1/4" thick. Take care to turn it as you're rolling so it doesn't stick. It does not have to be perfectly round or rectangular at all.
- Wrap the dough around your rolling pin, and gently unroll it onto your baking tray
- Now leaving a generous 3/4" margin, spread the cream cheese mixture onto the pastry dough gently
- Layer the sliced tomatoes on top, showcasing each color and shape as best you can
- Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and follow with the Herbes de Provence (if using)
- Fold the exposed edges of the pastry dough onto the tomatoes, packaging them up nicely. None of this has to be perfect and super-neat; the charm of the galette is its very rustic form.
- Brush the exposed pastry dough with heavy cream or egg wash (basically just beaten egg white). We've forgotten this step from time-to-time and lived to tell about it, so it's no big deal if you do, too--though the wash keeps the dough looking sheeny-shiny and appetizing.
- Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the pastry is golden and browning, and the tomatoes seem well-roasted.
- Set the galette out to cool, toss your torn basil on top, and serve warm with your favorite salad.
- Please don't use cling-wrap--if we're going to talk about the importance of heirloom tomatoes and kitchen gardening to sustainable, biodiverse futures, we've got to stop using and throwing plastics that irreparably damage that same future.
- You can make the dough a day ahead and store, refrigerated, if you wish.