I’m not going to lie, I don’t make pies often. I know that probably makes me a bad home cook, but the task always see
ms a little daunting with the whole crust-making business. I have, however, been quietly keeping my eye out for The Perfect Crust Recipe. It’s an elusive thing, this recipe. So many claim that they have it but I continually find myself somewhat put off by so many. I’m looking for something simple, versatile and easy – not too many ingredients, easily adaptable to savory or sweet and the potential to make it with my eyes closed after a couple of tries.
It would be disappointing if I built that up just to tell you I am still searching, wouldn’t it?
C’mon, I wouldn’t do that to you. Thanks to this recipe on the lovely TwoSpoons, my search is over. It’s perfect – crunchy and slightly flaky, and easy to make and handle. I love the texture the wheatgerm brings, too. And no required refrigerating! (If you’ve got the time, go for it – but it’s not necessary if you’re looking to move fast.)
I decided to make a galette with my dough because I like the idea of a free-form tart – its informal and, to borrow my favorite Gordon Ramsay description (in abrupt speech), “simple. rustic. yes.”
I went with some Greek-style vegetables for something summery. (And maybe subconsciously because of all the recent news of Greece’s floundering economy?)
Simple Butter Crust (for pies, tarts, quiches, etc.)
– 85 grams cold butter, cut into small cubes
– 1 cup plain flour
– 1/3 cup wheatgerm
– 4 tablespoons ice water
– pinch of salt
In a mixing bowl rub butter, flour, and wheatgerm together with your fingers and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add water and continue to mix until a soft dough forms. Once you have your ball of dough, knead it on a well floured surface for a couple of minutes, until the flour is no longer being quickly absorbed. Bring the dough back to ball form and roll it out to a circle a couple of inches larger than your pie or tart tin.
Be sure to lightly grease and flour your pie tin before placing your dough inside. Set aside until needed.
Greek Vegetable Filling
– olive oil
– 1 small-medium eggplant, cut into long strips
– 1/2 large red pepper sliced thin
– 1 zucchini sliced thin and cut to the length of the peppers
– 1 onion
– 2 gloves garlic
– 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
– 1 tsp fresh thyme
– 1/4-1/2 cup feta
– 1/4 cup kalamata olives chopped or olive tampenade (pulse kalamata olives and black olives in a food processor with rosemary and a clove of garlic)
To start, I caramelized my onions with balsamic and fresh rosemary rosemary. Stirring frequently and adding a little water any time the pan looked dry, cook until brown and a little sticky. About 30-40 minutes.
Salt the eggplant and let stand in a colandar over the sink to “sweat” for 20 minutes. Rinse and dry. Fry in a hot, well-oiled heavy bottomed plan until tender and slightly browned. Season with salt&pepper. Set aside.
Heat oil in the same pan and add garlic, cooking for about 1 minute. Add rosemary and thyme, cook an additional minute. Add red peppers, zucchini, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes, until slightly tender but still crunchy. Set aside.
Take the crust and crumble feta around the bottom. Cover with a layer of caramelized onions, then drops of olive tampenade or chopped kalamatas, then eggplant, peppers and zucchini. More eggplant, crumbled feta and olives on top. Fold the edges of the crust over the outer 2 inches of the galette.
Bake for about an hour until your crust is slightly golden and crunchy. Rotate the pie tin and change the oven rack positioning halfway through for even baking. I also covered the center of mine with tin foil in the last 20 minutes to prevent the veggies from drying out.