It’s usually during these winter months that I love baking pies, but make no mistake, I love eating them all year__round. The cold cubes of butter and rolling of the pastry seem so much more manageable sans the sweltering heat in my Mumbai kitchen. Normally, I can’t ever get away with talking about the Mumbai winter without being drowned by the deafening guffaws of non- Mumbaikars. “Winter in Mumbai? What winter?” And to all such quizzical expressions I say- did you read about the dip in temperature this year? For most people who get to experience a ‘real’ winter, I know that it’s been a cold and grey couple of months, but spare a thought for us who need some excuse other than sub-zero air conditioned temperatures to pull out our cardigans.
I’d been looking for a hearty vegetable pie recipe and this one with the combination of the meatiness of the mushrooms earthy leek and fennel, spell absolute winter comfort food. Add to that some gooey Gouda and the crisp base of the galette, which make each mouthful nothing short of heavenly! The rustic form of the galette, basically just a free- form pie, adds to the charm of this soul-satisfying pie. Free from the restrains of a pie-dish, I chose to roll this pate brisee into a round shape, but if you’re in the mood to experiment, go ahead and try a square shape, and when you do, drop me a line to tell me how it turned out!
Last year, I’d made an Onion Anchovy Galette where I went with partial whole wheat flour in the pate brisee, but this time, call it a winter indulgence if you like, I went with all all-purpose flour.
A food processor makes for really quick work in pulsing the dry ingredients together before adding the cold, cold butter that’s been cubed. I could never boast of the best cutting and chopping skills, so my butter cubes are cubes with a little stretch of the imagination. And this is where I’m so grateful for the slight winter nip in the air. The humidity in the kitchen would ordinarily force me to work very quickly in the kitchen, constantly dashing to and fro between the fridge and the counter to make sure the butter pâté brisee stay cold, but this time, I could afford to be slightly leisurely, knowing fully well that a few seconds here and there wouldn’t result in unwanted meltiness.
The pate brisee needs to rest in the fridge for about 3 hours. That gave me plenty of time to get the veggies prepped. Actually, that might even be enough time to shop for the veggies _and _prep!
With butter being an essential ingredient in pastry -making, I cut down on slight decadence while sautéing the veggies. Believe me, there’s plenty of cheese at the bottom and top layers, using olive oil instead of butter to sauté keeps the indulgence in check. A little bit of white wine to deglaze the pan used to sauté the mushrooms just takes things up a notch in the flavour department. Once the chopped up fennel, leeks and onion are out of the pan, layering is all that’s left. I have a pro-tip for you, sprinkle only half of the grated Parmesan before baking the galette, save the other half for when it’s out of the oven and cooled slightly. It just seals the flavours! I’ve found that pairing this galette with a soup such as this Zucchini Soup will take care of dinner, or just cut it up into four and call it breakfast!
Recipe adapted from Food 52