Thursday, February 26, 2009
Goodbye to Butternut Squash
Belltown is a neighborhood in Seattle where it once was not safe to go. It is north of the famous Pike Place Market and, seriously, when I was a kid you steered clear of that part of town. Now it is known for having super-hip restaurants, pricey shops, and multi-million dollar condos. One of the people who is credited for beginning this change is Leslie Mackie. She opened a bakery and a few years later, a neighborhood was gentrified. Build it and they will come applies to bakeries too!
But this isn't just any bakery. It's really quite a special spot. In terms of the bread and baked goods, I have to honestly say that I think the quality has gone downhill. You can buy their bread almost everywhere in town now and I wonder if that diversification has hurt them. Still, whenever I walk into their original location in Belltown (there are now two others), I immediately want to start baking. Everything look so good.
For me, the best thing about Macrina is eating lunch there. They have about 8 small tables so it can be kind of tricky to snag one, but if you do you are in for a treat. Everyday, in addition to salads and sandwiches, they offer a meze plate. You get to choose three things from a list of five and your choices go something like this. Savory galette, some kind of grain or pasta salad, a large piece of crostini which in itself has three choices, soup, and green salad. The green salad stays the same, the rest change daily. I have never had anything there that wasn't lip-smackingly delicious - down the roasted onions, olives, and almonds they put on every plate.
Several years ago, Mackie came out with a cookbook called Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook. I bought it right after it came out and was thrilled to find that there were three savory galette recipes in there. They are all phenomenal and real showstoppers if you want to impress company. This one, because I love squash so much, is my favorite. Although there is snow on the ground here today (again!), I feel that asparagus, peas, and artichokes are on their way. I don't feel like I gave winter squash it's due so last week I made these galettes for my clients.
If you are intimidated by things with crusts, this galette is a great place to start. The dough is incredibly easy to work with - it behaves the best of any I have made. And because the tart is free form, there is no rolling it or worrying about transferring it to a pan. The recipe as written makes one very large galette - I have been happier with it when I make smaller ones. Even if you are serving it for a dinner party, just make two smaller ones. They will look better and be easier to work with. Last week, I made two small ones for my clients and one medium sized one to eat with my parents and brother who came over for dinner.
The crust makes enough for two galettes so you can freeze half of it for up to a month and make another one another day. Or, you can use the dough as a double pie crust. I love versatility!
Butternut Squash and Apple Galette
Adapted from Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook
I have made this tart with the fresh butternut squash and the canned pumpkin and they both taste great. Don't hesitate to take the canned short cut.
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cups Roasted Butternut Squash, or canned pumpkin
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough, chilled
Egg wash made with 1 egg and 1 tsp. water
2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Core and peel the apples and cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Place wedges in a medium bowl and toss with half of the allspice, half of the cinnamon, and half of the cloves. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the spice apples and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Set aside to cool.
Combine butternut squash puree with the remaining allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, eggs, salt, and sage, and mix with a whisk to fully blend the ingredients.
Form chilled pie dough into a ball and place in on a lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half and reform each half into a ball. Flatten each ball slightly, then working with one ball at a time, roll it into an approximately 8 inch circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Carefully lift it onto the preapred baking sheet. Spoon half of squash mixture onto center of circle and spread to within 2 inches of the edge. Place a single layer of apples in concentric circles on top of the squash filling. Lift border over top of the filling, tucking and folding the dough to create a gathered, or pleated, finish. Lift each of the folds up and brush underneath with egg wash to seal the crust. Brush all exposed dough with egg wash then repeat with other half of dough and filling. (You may need to place it on another sheet.) Place the baking sheet(s) in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tart from oven and bake on center rack of oven for 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with Gorgonzola and parsley, then return to oven to bake another 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for 20 minutes. (DN: I add the cheese and parsley half way through to prevent them from burning. I have found you can bake this tart 4 hours ahead and reheat in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes before serving.)
Flaky Pie Dough
Makes enough for 2 double-crusted (9-inch) pies, or 2 galettes
I always make pie dough in my food processor, but this amount is too much for it, so I do it by hand.
5 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt
12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 3/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and toss together. Add butter and cut it into the flour until the texture is coarse and crumbly. You can use a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Cut the shortening up and add it in small pieces. Cut in the shortening until the dough is crumbly again. Add ice water and mix just until the dough sticks together when pinched. Pull dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a block. Cut it in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or wrap it again in foil and store in the freezer. One day before you are going to use frozen dough, transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw there.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Makes about 4 cups of pureed squash
1- 3 lb. butternut squash
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash squash, then cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Place squash, cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Pour 2 cups of water into the baking sheet, surrounding the squash. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the skin is dark brown and flesh is fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Scoop cooled squash out of its skin and puree in a food processor until smooth. Let the pureed squash cool completely, uncovered, then store it in an air-tight container. The squash will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or for up to 1 month in the freezer.