Little rustic spelt galettes, packed full of greens and herby almond ricotta. An a+ addition to any Spring picnic basket. And tips for perfect, flaky pastry!
The weather has been cool, crisp and breezy lately, with blue skies and bright, warm sunshine. Clouds that look like marshmallow fluff, plants sprouting, flowers blooming, birds whistling. That perfect in between, where hot chocolates and pie are just as welcome as salads and ice-cream. Blankets on the lounge and sand in our toes. That kind of weather. Daylight savings starts this coming weekend, meaning longer, sunnier days.
We've cleaned off the deck, planted new baby herbs (still need to find some lemon verbena & purple basil somewhere, i need these in my life this summer) and brought the weber grill out of hibernation, ready to BBQ up a storm. The markets still aren't brimming with the asparagus, baby peas, broad beans or artichokes that I've been dreaming about, but I'm hoping this weekend changes all of that.
The asparagus farmers promised me asparagus soon, and so help me god I will be getting my asparagus this weekend or there will probably be some farm raiding going on. It will be October on Sunday after all, the second month of Spring, and I need my Spring fix!
I did manage to find a beautiful big bunch of rainbow chard, some little kale leaves, leeks and garlic shoots on my last market trip though. Things often found in Winter that are never quite as good as they are in Spring. With my full market bag I decided I wanted to cook something that took a little more time to prepare. Something consuming. I felt that pastry was fitting to match the cool weather, something that could sit happily in a picnic basket to match the warmth in the air and something with an earthy crust to match the dark leafy greens…a galette with a spelt pastry, filled to the brim with the spring greens I had collected.
Also, almond ricotta on the base. I'm absolutely in love with it at the moment, in all forms, sweet or savoury. Just check out my insta and you will see an almond ricotta trail through my photos lately. Normally I just make a plain one so that I can add whatever I want to it later. And I generally like some macadamias mixed in with the almonds because they add +++ creaminess and a little extra sweetness. For this galette though I used this recipe from Hot For Food. It's spot on with the greens and the spelt pastry. I used chives rather than basil though, for extra springiness.
Back to the pastry, the true star of this galette show. I almost always go with a galette when I'm craving pastry because…they're the best, there's no other way to put it! They are just so much easier than regular pie, and they're all rustic and pretty looking. Plus they have extreme picnicability. You can throw them around and leave them for a couple of hours and know that they will still be crispy, flaky and in one piece by the time you've found the perfect spot and laid down the picnic blanket.
This crust from Smitten Kitchen is my absolute favourite. I've used it for years, I just use vegan butter and coconut yoghurt rather than cow's butter / sour cream these days. And this time I swapped out a little of the white flour for some spelt to give it that earthy flavour I was looking for. I use the same crust for sweet galettes, i just add 2–3 tbsp of granulated sugar to the flour and sprinkle the crust with some demerera before baking.
It's soooooo flaky, buttery and just COMPLETELY PERFECT. There's always little croissant-like crumbs scattered about after eating, that's how flaky it is. I could actually eat it everyday for the rest of my life.
If this particular recipe is a little too much for you time-wise, but you'd still like to make the pastry (you really should), you could just make a very simple galette. Perhaps a sweet one… just toss some berries, stone-fruit or sliced apples with a little sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon juice, then heap onto the center of the rolled out pastry. Crimp it up, throw it in the oven and then in about 40 minutes you will cry with happiness at how freaking perfect this crust is. Then make extra pastry (uncooked), keep it in the freezer and you can bake galettes whenever the hell you want them. Uh oh I'm jumping up and down with pastry induced glee.
Anyhow, I digress, do try these little savoury galettes if you have the time. Have them for lunch (or dinner) at home with a crunchy, vinegary salad & a cold glass of white wine. Or pack all of it up and take it picnicking as I did (which I wish I took photos of, but I am still getting used to this whole photography business – apologies!).
Basically though, if you take anything from this post, TAKE THE PASTRY. I've added a bunch of instructions, don't freak out. It's just so you can make the same flaky, perfect pastry that I made. The key things to remember – keep everything super cold and don't work the pastry much. A gentle touch is needed here! And COLD COLD COLD.
Spring Greens, Almond Ricotta + Spelt Galettes
Yield 6 single-serve galettes
vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free
Little rustic spelt galettes, packed full of greens and herby almond ricotta. An a+ addition to any Spring picnic basket. And tips for perfect, flaky pastry! This is quite a long recipe, mostly because I like detailed instructions for pastry making. Though it's not too difficult, it is more of a weekend project but it's well worth the time spent, I promise.
- 1 cup blanched sliced almonds, soaked for at least 2 hours in cold water
- 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours in cold water
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp water (+ more as needed to achieve a ricotta-like texture)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 5–6 grinds of black pepper
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped chives
- 3/4 c all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 mins
- 1/2 c whole spelt flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 mins
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 114 g / 1 stick vegan butter, cut into chunks & chilled in the freezer until firm
- 1/4 c unsweetened coconut yoghurt
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 c ice water
- a few tbsp. olive oil
- 3 small-medium leeks, dark green parts removed, white & light green parts washed & thinly sliced
- a bunch of swiss chard, about 15 stalks, stems & leaves sliced into 1 cm pieces (keep stems separate from leaves)
- a small bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- about 20 garlic shoots, light-medium green parts sliced thinly
- 1/3 c thinly sliced chives
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. aleppo pepper chili flakes (or any chili flakes you like)
- zest of 1 lemon & the juice of 1/2
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- a spoonful or two of coconut yoghurt mixed with a little water to thin
- olive oil
- flaky sea salt
- fresh chives & chive flowers if you have them
- Drain the soaked nuts and give them a good rinse under cold water. Then add them to a a blender (preferably high-speed) along with all of the other almond ricotta ingredients except the chives.
- Blend on high speed until the mixture is creamy but not completely smooth, it should still be little grainy looking and 'ricotta-like' in texture. Stop and scrape the sides of the blender down as needed and add a little more water if you need it to help the nuts blend & become creamy. Once smooth and 'ricotta-like', remove the almond ricotta from the blender and place in a bowl / container, fold in the finely chopped chives. Refrigerate covered until needed.
- Whisk together the flours & salt in a bowl until combined. Sprinkle the cold butter chunks over the flour & cut in with a pastry blender or knife until the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs, with the largest chunks of butter no bigger than a small pea. Put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes if necessary to make sure the butter is still cold.
- In a small bowl whisk together the yoghurt, lemon juice & ice water. Slowly pour this over the flour mix whilst cutting it in with a knife. Continue to gently cut the liquid into the flour mix until everything is incorporated & large clumps form. It's okay if there are some dry floury bits that aren't incorporated at this point, you want to keep the dough as dry as you can for ultimate flakiness. However if it looks like there are a lot of dry unincorporated bits, just add a tsp. or so of ice water & cut in until there are less floury bits.
- Pour the contents of the dough into a large square of cling wrap, use the cling wrap to pat everything together into a loose ball, it may still be a little dry in parts but that's ok, it will all work out after a rest in the fridge. Try to work quickly & don't handle the dough too much. Place in the fridge (covered in the cling wrap), to chill for an hour or so, sometimes I let it hang out in the freezer for the last 10 minutes to make sure it's super cold before rolling.
- Cook the leeks in a frying pan over low-medium heat in a generous glug of olive oil (3 tbsp or so) until soft & sweet, about 5–10 mins, stirring often so that the leeks do not brown or burn. Add the swiss chard stems to to the pan along with the minced garlic cloves, 1/2 of the garlic shoots & a pinch of sea salt. Allow to cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped kale leaves & allow to cook for a few minutes. Add the chard leaves in 2–3 separate batches, tossing them through & allowing them to cook & wilt after each addition. Continue cooking until everything is soft & wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Stir through the remaining garlic shoots, chives, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, aleppo pepper, lemon zest & juice to the greens along with 2 tbsp of the almond ricotta, a good grind of pepper & salt to taste. Allow the filling to chill in the fridge before assembling the galettes (you want the filling to be completely cool so that the dough doesn't become soggy).
- Preheat the oven to 220 celsius/430 fahrenheit & line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge & divide into 6 equal pieces with a pastry cutter or sharp knife. Roll the pieces gently into balls (try to handle the dough as little as you can though, as the warmth in your hands will melt the butter).
- Working with one ball at a time (keep the rest in the fridge/freezer as you work), roll the dough into a a rough 20 cm circle on a floured surface – I like to place a piece of parchment paper on the top of the dough when rolling to make sure that the rolling pin doesn't stick to it – the dough should be pretty thin but not so thin that it would tear easily when picked up. Place on a piece of parchment paper & keep in the fridge/freezer while you complete the same process with the other balls of dough.
- Once all the dough is rolled it, remove one round from the fridge/freezer & place on the lined baking tray. Top with 3 tbsp. of the almond ricotta, spreading it evenly over the center of the dough, leaving about a 3 cm border around the edge. Sit a generous handful (about 1/2 cup) of the chilled swiss chard filling on top of the ricotta.
- Crimp the edges of the galette pastry around the filling, patching up any cracks with your fingers. Repeat the process as quickly as you can with the remaining dough, then chill the whole baking tray with the 6 filled galettes in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the freezer & brush the galette dough with a little of the coconut yoghurt mix. Drizzle everything with olive oil & place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes & then reduce the oven temp to 200 celsius / 400 fahrenheit & bake for another 20 – 30 minutes, turning the tray half way through, until light golden brown & beautiful.
- Pull the tray from the oven & move the galettes to a cooling rack. Serve hot, warm (my favourite) or at room temperature with a little drizzle of quality olive oil, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, some fresh chives & perhaps a little crunchy, vinegary salad alongside. This is seriously good with a glass of crisp white wine if you are in the mood for it! These little galettes are best eaten on the day of baking.
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