Jason asked me yesterday morning if I would be making anything with rhubarb in for him to eat, any time soon. Yes! I said. Today! Spiced rhubarb galette!
Galettes have been my favourite thing to put together in the kitchen just lately. They’re almost embarrassingly easy- I usually make them with a lump of leftover rough puff pastry dough (saved after a batch of savoury pasty-making), a spoonful of jam, a little layer of thinly sliced apple and scattering of demerara sugar. Sometimes I bother stewing the fruit for the filling, but more often than not it just goes in raw with whatever can be found in the cupboards. This galette acts as a vehicle for short stems of beautiful pink early rhubarb, roasted gently so that they hold their shape. It’s a tart tart, this one. It lends itself to a rich, dairy accompaniment. One to be served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or cold with a little orange zest-flecked natural yoghurt.
I should say too that there’s no need to be afraid of making rough puff pastry. I was always too scared to make pastry, and would instantly dismiss recipes that called for homemade dough. This rough puff is by far the easiest pastry to make though, in my opinion. Far, far easier than shortcrust (which I find horrendously tricky). It’s gloriously hodgepodge, and goes from ugly to beautiful in just a few short steps. All that’s needed is a cubed butter and plain flour, smashed together with iced water, and rolled into some rough layers. In the past I’ve added what seemed like far too much water, and far too little water, and forgotten to put salt in, and cooked with it after letting it linger in the fridge for almost a week. It never complains though. Never fails to puff up in the oven, or crisp up underneath. Below are a set of step-by-step photographic instructions, for those of you as pastry-phobic as I was before trying this most foolproof of techniques.
(Recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Makes two approximately 7 inch galettes)
6 stems young/forced rhubarb
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 tbsp honey
4 tbsp soft brown sugar
300g plain flour
150g cold unsalted butter
Pinch flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Wash the rhubarb stems to rid them of any lingering mud, then slice into roughly 1 inch lengths. Place into one large, or two small roasting dishes.
- Add the orange zest and juice to the rhubarb (dividing it between the dishes if you’re using two, as I did) and then squeeze in 4 tbsp of honey. The other 2 tbsp are reserved for later. Then add the ground ginger and cinnamon stick, and toss gently to coat the rhubarb in the honey and spices. Wrap the dish tightly with tin foil, and place in the oven for 30 mins.
- Whilst the rhubarb cooks, let’s make pastry! Start by putting the flour and salt into a large bowl, and cutting the cold butter into small 1/2cm cubes. Toss the butter cubes into the flour, and slowly add in ice water a little at a time. The original recipe called for approximately 12-15tbsp, but I find it’s easier to just judge it by eye. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to clump, and then continue to add ice water a little at a time until it just comes together and has a texture close to soft bread dough.
- Flour both your rolling pin and a clean surface, and turn the dough out of the bowl. Roll the dough out away from you into a rough rectangle, then fold the top third of the pastry into the centre, and the bottom third of the the pastry up over that to create a kind of envelope shape. (The photographic instructions above make it far clearer than words ever could!) Turn the pastry dough one quarter turn (so that you have a short side nearest to you again) and repeat the process! The roll-fold-turn process needs to be completed five times in total, with plenty of flouring of both surface and rolling pin throughout. The dough should be beautifully smooth and pliable once you’re finished. Wrap well in cling film, and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Once the rhubarb has had 30 minutes in the oven, take it out and take off the foil. The rhubarb should have held its shape, but be tender and cooked through. Leave to cool with the foil off, so that it doesn’t overcook and turn mushy. Once cooled a little, taste and check the sweetness. I found it needed a couple of extra tablespoons of honey.
- After the dough’s chilled in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, take it out and divide in two. Wrap one piece back up in clingfilm, and return to the fridge. Roll the dough out into a rough circle, place onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray, and scatter the dough with a generous tablespoon of soft brown sugar. Lay half the total amount of cooled rhubarb out onto the dough, leaving about an inch and a half clear all the way around.
- Fold and tuck the pastry into the centre of the galette, and then brush the edges with a little beaten egg. Scatter over another tablespoon of soft brown sugar (onto both the rhubarb and pastry) and then place the galette into an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius. Bake for 35 minutes, but check it after 30.
- Repeat the above steps with the remaining pastry and rhubarb to make a second galette, or set aside in the fridge to be made up at a later date. Serve the galette/s with ice-cream/sweetened creme fraiche/or natural yoghurt.
p.s This pastry keeps, well wrapped, for about a week in the fridge. I use it to make savoury pasties (sweet potato+spinach+feta, or cheese+onion+potato), sandwiched with Nutella and shaped into rough chocolate twists, and to top hearty meat pies. I should imagine it could be frozen too, though since it’s so easy to make from scratch I’ve not yet tried.