Rhubarb Phyllo Galette

4288212 Processed with VSCO with a5 presetNothing like sitting down in a cosy café to write up another yummy recipe. Just had a double salad full of gorgeous greens and beans, the sort of thing which this recipe perfectly complements. Going through recent journal entries always bring forth the necessity of consistency, self-belief, self-growth, and routine, but they also revealed how easy it is for me to get lost in a tangle of unhealthy mentality and unnecessary indecision. I guess it’s okay to excuse oneself for wondering which food photography backdrop to get next and whether the bananas I just caramelised with vegan butter and a lush deep muscovado sugar would pair better with melting dark chocolate or a simple cinnamon and coconut nectar drizzle (the former was quite the mouth show, and I need to do that more often. It’s basically a wholesome sundae for breakfast). The peril of freedom of choice! How superficial it seems, and yet, what changes they bring– to my entire outlook on life, on the way I behave. Just like how I had mushrooms on toast for brunch last Saturday and I could actually feel my heart leap with joy upon seeing perfectly caramelised onions, browned and gooey, stuffed between morsels of juicy oyster and morel mushrooms heaped on a bordering-carcinogenic piece of toast lovingly slathered with homemade hummus. Sweet moments make themselves known. Because they do make life that much sweeter.

Yesterday I ate a delicious carrot cake chockfull of walnuts. Not the most salubrious thing to have at 2pm, but it did hit the spot like nothing else. Typically a big green apple does it, but yesterday, that fine Tuesday, the cake was a brio in my mouth. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d know just how much I resonate with the idea of moderation, so necessary in this age of health and nutrition information advertised to propagandic effect. Cake and coffee by myself, mindful and beautiful. Life is about health, and also about letting go. A pure, one-dimensional sweet this cake was, but what was missing was the hint of tart from the cream cheese component (if only vegan cream cheese wasn’t so pricey, right?) in the icing. Tart, the cousin of sweet, is sometimes necessary to balance whatever saccharine loveliness a baked good or breakfast item has to offer.

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Tart, this pinch of sour, to round off the sweet. Tart, like this rhubarb phyllo galette. Thank you Aldi for 50p on-sale fresh, seasonal rhubarb! This is a twist on a recipe recently written up by Linda Lomelino, one of my favourite baking and dessert bloggers. With plenty of phyllo pastry left over in my freezer, I thought it would be interesting to see what would become of it. Phyllo pastry may be delicate, but it’s also incredibly versatile, and should not be reserved just for baklava and other Middle Eastern desserts. Here is what happens: You layer half-sheets of phyllo pastry on top of each other, each layer brushed with a delicate layer of olive oil to help them stick together, whilst allowing the galette edges crisp up nicely in the oven (without burning). Broken pastry? No big deal. A galette is meant to be rustic, and tears and breaks here and there will only enhance, not detract, from this.

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Notes:

  • For whole, unscathed sheets of phyllo pastry, leave the frozen pastry in the fridge overnight, so do that the night before baking, or at least a couple of hours before. Microwaving the phyllo pastry to heat it up in a rush might leave some parts too delicate and others frozen stiff. That being said, you may still try microwaving the pastry (cover removed but still in its plastic wrap) for 30 seconds at a time, on medium power. Not the highest!
  • Cutting up the rhubarb into batons of equal length may leave you with little pieces of rhubarb. Don’t discard these, you could try fit a few cut-up pieces into nooks and crannies in the galette. Any remaining pieces can be eaten there and then.
  • The seeds and sugar sprinkled on top of the galette before baking is optional but highly recommended. The crunch gives the galette more textural fun.
  • It’s important to watch the galette carefully as it bakes– it’s done once the pastry is pale brown and edges are crisp. Baking time may vary depending on the brand of phyllo pastry you use, or strength of the oven.

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Rhubarb Phyllo Galette (adapted from Linda Lomelino’s recipe for a rhubarb almond galette– makes one 6-inch galette)

Ingredients

200g rhubarb (about 4 large stalks), washed and leaves/ other possible dirty bits and bobs cut off

juice and zest of half a lemon

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp sugar (coconut or brown)

9 half-sheets of phyllo pastry, thawed (from frozen) in the fridge overnight

60ml vegetable oil or melted butter (use vegan butter or margarine if you are vegan)

2 tbsp granulated or turbinado sugar

*optional: sprinkle of mixed seeds (I used a very random mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and some homemade buckwheat granola)

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). After weighing out the rhubarb, cut each stalk in half lengthways, then cut into batons, each 4cm in length. Put the rhubarb batons in a bowl, add the lemon juice and zest, cornstarch and sugar, and mix well with a spoon, until the batons are all coated in the lemony-sugar mix.

On your work surface, place one half-sheet of phyllo pastry down. Brush this with a thin layer of oil or melted vegan butter, then place a second layer on top. Repeat, until you have three layers on top. Rotate this thin stack 90 degrees, then do the same with the next three half-sheets, not forgetting to brush each layer with  oil each time. Rotate 90 degrees again until you are at the same orientation as you were in the beginning with the first three sheets, and then layer on the last three half-sheets so that all 9 half-sheets are used up at this point. You should get what looks like a thick cross shape, with 8 corners

Fold each of the 8 corners down, so that you have an octagon shape. Take your rhubarb batons and place them in whatever pretty pattern you wish, in the centre of the octagon. I did a series of horizontal and vertical batons, but you could also just heap the stuff in the middle. Then fold over, somewhat in a rough and random manner, the perimeter of phyllo pastry, over the border of rhubarb to get the shape of a galette. Brush the pastry with more butter/olive oil, sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the optional sprinkle of mixed seeds. Bake in the preheated oven for 13 minutes. Watch the galette carefully– it’s done once the pastry is a pale brown.

Leave the galette to cool a while on the counter, before slicing and serving with coconut yoghurt or a refreshing scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Apple Galette

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I had been meaning to make an apple galette for quite a while now. I must be this specific– apple galette. Nothing else would have done it for me. Just… Nothing. I had to, and the urge was running wild; coursing hot through my blood. I had looked at quite a few recipes, and surprisingly most required the dough to be set in the fridge for at least an hour or so (understandably), and for the apples to go through a caramelising or some other cook-through method beforehand. Not that I would have minded so terribly… But sadly I am a creature of convenience. Stark laziness, even, sometimes. I’ll be honest. I was really pleased with how this turned out, even after making the radical adaptations. I like those burnt edges. Kill me if you wish. I do. The buttery, caramelised apples with a tender bottom crust go wonderfully with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I paired a slice with some leftover salted caramel sauce, because I didn’t have any ice cream lying around and yes, that was enough to break my heart. The flavours are simple, wonderful, joyful.

As a student, I don’t have hours and hours to play around with recipes; words like ‘proving’ and ‘resting in the damn fridge for 40 hours’ just don’t cut it most of the time. I came across smittenkitchen’s recipe for the ‘simplest apple tart’, and thought it just perfect to play with. My own adjustments were pretty radical, so I’m going to re-type everything I changed. I swear, dough making in this bloody Singapore heat is a right pain, so I suggest only using things like butter and cold water right when you need it, and straight out of the fridge. Blast the air con and get to work!

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Ingredients:

For galette dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and a half tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 80g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (I used half salted, half unsalted, just because I love a little extra)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For apple filling:

  • 3-4 small apples, sliced into thin slivers
  • 30g melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (preferably dark muscovado, if you have that sort of thing lying around)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • half teaspoon nutmeg

For glaze:

  • a quarter cup of your favourite jam (I used marmalade), warmed for a couple minutes in the microwave

 

Method:

Slice the apples and mix with the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.

In a food processor, blend the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until the biggest pieces resemble medium-sized peas. Slowly add in the cold water, continuing to pulse at a moderate speed. I only needed around 2 tablespoons. Grab a handful of dough and squeeze to see if it holds together. If it does, then it’s fine. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a round and slightly flattened ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 10 minutes (Yes! 10. Praise the Lord).

Take the dough out from fridge and using a floured rolling pin on lightly floured surface, roll out until it’s approximately 11 inches wide. Place dough onto a greased, large baking dish lined with parchment (VERY IMPORTANT STEP HERE. DO NOT be like me and do this only after painstakingly placing the apples on top. Please. Learn from my mistakes. Or I will cry for you.)

Take your beautiful cinnamon and sugar-crusted apples and layer them, one by one in a ring spiral, with the outer edges 1.5-2 inches away from the edge of the dough. Continue layering in a ring, working your way to the centre of the circle. Once you reach the centre, you can bend a few slices to fit the very middle, like a rose. If you have extra slices, place them in random nooks around the ring, so they all fit nicely.

Now, this is my favourite bit: Take the outside edges of dough and fold them over, in sections around the ring of apples. Let it be loose and rustic and messy. Enough with the neat crimping. That’s for the uppity. Now brush the melted butter over the edges you folded over and the exposed apple slices. Yum yum. Sprinkle the sugar over the whole thing. Free and easy. Footloose and fancy-free. The joy, the joy, I tell you.

Bake in preheated oven on middle rack for 40 minutes. Leave it in the oven to cool before taking out.

Warm your favourite jam in the microwave for a few minutes, and using a pastry brush, brush all over that beautiful little rustic thing. Galette. The word makes me swoon. The gazelle of all tarts. The almighty apple galette.

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