I’m a bit sad that it’s already fall. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before. Fall is usually my favorite season, but the summer in Croatia is so gorgeous, I just never want it to end. So, I’ve been trying to come to terms with the change in season by embracing all the sweet little butternut squash (squashes) showing up at the market. My love of butternut squash is no secret, and I think i waxed on long enough when I made Chai Spiced Butternut Squash Bread last year, so I’ll spare you the sonnet I’ve been writing. I will say, that there was a time when some relatives were afraid my love of squash had gotten out of hand. About seven years ago, I moved to Macedonia. We arrived in January, and after a dreary winter and scorching hot summer, fall felt refreshing. Everyone and their mother was out making ajvar (literally, you always make it with your mother) and the smell of roasted peppers and eggplants permeated the air. The days were crisp but sunny, and I had squash on the brain. I made butternut squash soup, bread, ravioli, crostada, and pie. I made butternut squash cupcakes and turned it into “pumpkin” butter. We ate it in lasagna and with brown sugar on top. It got to the point where every time I brought something to Sunday lunch family members would roll their eyes and ask, “Is there pumpkin in this?”
Two years ago, I found a new favorite way to prepare butternut squash–in a galette! The recipe comes from one of my all time favorite cookbooks The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman, and as you would expect, it’s perfect. I love the way the sweetness of the caramelized onions mingles with the sweetness of the squash and the kick of the cayenne pepper. Plus, the dough is perfectly flakey. The thing I like the best though is that this galette is perfect for a potluck. 1. It’s delicious. 2. It can be made in advance. 3. It tastes great at room temperature. Perlman’s book is filled with potluck (or company) worthy recipes, and I highly recommend you check it out. (You can also check out some of my other favorite cookbooks!)
The recipe for this butternut squash galette in Perlman’s book is fantastic, but I never keep sour cream on hand, so the second time I made it I substituted drinking yogurt and reduced the amount of water. I liked the result so much that I’ve never gone back.
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- scant one teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons salted butter (cut into large chunks)
- ¼ cup drinking yogurt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 large onions (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ cup fontina cheese (grated)
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 egg yolk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
- Prepare a large roasting pan by smearing two tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom. (I like to cover the pan with foil first so I don't spend the rest of the night scraping roasted squash off the pan.) Peel the butternut squash and cut it into cubes, less than an inch square. Place the cubes in the prepared pan. Mix them around so that the cubes are lightly coated with oil. Bake for about 40 minutes until tender. (Leave the oven on to bake the galette.)
- In the bowl of a food processor (that's right, I'm fancy with a food processor now) combine the flour, salt, and butter. Pulse until it resembles very course sand (somewhere between sand and small pebbles). Add the vinegar and the yogurt and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Remove the blade and sprinkle the dough with ice water. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to press the dough into a disk about an inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the galette.
- In a large frying pan over low (you might need to go a bit above low if you don't have a gas burner) heat the butter or oil. Add the onion slices and stir to coat with oil. Let the onions cook, stirring every 3-4 minutes. After about 12 minutes, add one teaspoon of salt and stir. Continue stirring every 3-4 minutes until the onions are deep golden brown and caramelized. Once finished, remove from heat.
- To assemble the galette, remove the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface (I like to use my pizza peel) roll out into a huge circle--remember you'll fold in the edges--about a centimeter thick. In a large bowl combine the slightly cooled squash, caramelized onions, cheese, sage, and cayenne pepper. Place the dough on the surface where you will bake it (I recommend a large baking sheet lined with parchment). Spoon the squash mixture onto the center of the dough, spread it evenly in a circle, leaving a 3 inch ring around the outside. Fold the edges up over the top of the squash mixture.
- In a small bowl whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to brush the exposed crust with the yolk mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes. The crust should turn dark golden brown. It is important not to under bake the galette so that the bottom gets fully cooked, but keep an eye on it so that the top doesn't burn.
- The galette can be served warm or at room temperature.