Galettes are perhaps the easiest form of a “pie” you can do. I actually never knew galette meant a free-form tart, but it appears to be just that. My first encounter with a galette was slightly different. A galette in French crêperies is actually Breton galette (or crêpe) made of sarasin. These are perhaps the best types of crêpes you can have, savory or sweet. I remember the ones I had while in Lausanne and in France – DELICIOUS. And these crêpes or galettes as they call them, go really well with cider. The way this cider is served is really unique as well, and is very different from Irish or English cider, because it is definitely more tannic and it’s usually served in a huge teacup. What’s equally interesting is that most diners will order a savory crêpe as the main, and a sweet crêpe as dessert later. Despite having the same batter, they can’t taste more different! For those interested in trying these types of crêpes, I do know that Singapore has 2 such crêperies, but I haven’t been able to head down despite wanting to a few years ago, so I can’t comment on whether they’re good or not!

On a more related note, when I saw this children’s song about galettes on wikipedia, an irrational joy welled up in me. Why? Because the song goes like this: “J’aime la galette, savez-vous comment ? Quand elle est bien faite, avec du beurre dedans.” I could understand what it meant without having to look at the English translation! :] Translated, it means, I like galette, do you know how? When it is made well, with butter inside. 

I’m really thankful and glad that I decided to take that huge step to take French lessons, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come with learning French. Learning a language really does help me understand a culture better, and in turn, understand the cuisine and the passion with which French patissiers and chefs have. Anyway, these galettes are perhaps an apt ode to French cuisine. A simple free-form pie crust, made with flour, and semolina, together with cream cheese.

Rustic Onion Galettes
Semolina cream cheese pie crust
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cream cheese pie crust recipe

85 g       cold butter
100 g     all-purpose flour
40 g       semolina
⅛ tsp     salt
⅛ tsp     baking powder
64 g      cream cheese
14 g      water, cold
7 g        vinegar

Onion filling
Adapted from Elise at Simply Recipes

3 medium sized red onions
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
Salt, to taste
Basil, to taste
3/4 cup shredded assorted cheeses

Method: 
  1. Place a mixing bowl in the freezer to chill. Combine the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder together in the chilled metal bowl. Add in the cream cheese and rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the cream cheese into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cubes of cold butter into the flour mixture and continue to combine. Sprinkle the mixture with water and vinegar and briefly knead the mixture until it just comes together. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or preferably overnight. 
  2. While the pie crust is chilling in the refrigerator, peel and slice the onions. Heat olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and sprinkle a little salt over them. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened and are translucent. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are well browned. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 10 minutes more, until onions are completely caramelized. Add some basil to taste and remove from heat. Allow the onion filling to cool. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest for 5 minutes before rolling it out on a well-floured surface. Use an appropriately sized round cutter to cut circles of your desired size. Place some onion filling (about 1 tablespoon worth for a 3-inch circle to make a 2-inch galette) in the centre of the circle, leaving about a 3-cm border around the edges. Fold up the edges of the pastry over your onion filling. Make sure to seal any holes and cracks as you roughly pleat around the edge. You can choose to put your shredded cheese before you pleat or top it on the galette after you are done folding the edges. It’s okay if the sides aren’t even since this is meant to be a free-form tart!
  4. Place the galettes on a sheet pan lined with baking paper and bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your galettes. Once the cheese and crust browns, your galette is done! Remove to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before cooling on the wire rack for another 20 minutes before consuming. Bon Appétit!

    Janine’s jots: 
    • Taste:  I used a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, but you can use any type you like. I think the galette would have benefited from a more savory cheese to complement the sweet/sourness of the balsamic onions. I also liked how the cream cheese crust complemented the onion filling and did not ‘fight’ with it in terms of taste. The cream cheese gave a richer taste to the pie crust, and it was quite evident that this was not an all-butter crust because the buttery taste was not as strong. 
    • Texture: The tart is as rustic as you can get – the semolina gives a very distinct “bite” to the crust, so do decrease that amount (or you can use all-purpose flour for everything) if you want a smoother mouthfeel. The tart is still very flaky though. 
    • Serving size: This recipe makes enough for 1 huge 9-inch galette or many small ones. I managed to make about a dozen 2-inch galettes with the recipe. 
    • Modifications: I added basil and upped the salt and balsamic vinegar amounts, mainly because I’m a fan of balsamic vinegar and basil together. Do omit basil and lower the balsamic vinegar if you are not a fan of them. I also felt that there should have been at least 5g of sugar in the crust because the crust did not taste ‘sweet’ enough. 
    • Storage: Unbaked, the pie crust stores well frozen for up to 1 month. I stored mine in the fridge for a week before using it. After baking, do consume it within a day or two, because at 3 days at room temperature, the crust of the galette was not as flaky as before, and did not crisp up in the toaster as well as other types of crust. 
    • Would I make this again?: Definitely! In fact, I made another variation of this galette – with plums this time :D
    Pardon my dirty baking tray. I ruined it by baking it with water last time =X
    YUMMM look at that onion filling!

    11 comments

    1. Anncoo says:

      Oooh.. I love the onion filling, look so delicious. Thank you very much for sharing this lovely and easy recipe :)

    2. sotong says:

      coincidence eh? hehe.
      i just noticed the way we took pics of our tarts and the props used also same, haha!
      cream cheese crust and onion filling sounds and looks yummy!

    3. Onion filling??? I LOVE IT!!!!!! Great recipe!

    4. that’s what I like about AB. gives you a chance and pushes you to try new things. Galettes are a new thing for me. I’m sure the semolina and vinegar really adds to the texture and flavour. and cream cheese in a dough…wow! must be really intense!

    5. They look delicious. I love caramelized onion.

    6. lifeisfull says:

      I’m impressed that you know French! I tried it but found it hard to remember but of course I’m older than you hence more difficult to learn, ha ha! Your onion galette looks great, I love the yummy filling too!

    7. none says:

      Look very crispy…love the onions filling too!

    8. Viv says:

      tres delicieux et maintenant j’ai faim! haha.
      i had soo much galettes of a diff kind with buckwheat when i was traveling in brittany!! this version looks delicious also…interesting its got semolina flour too! :)

    9. Shu Han says:

      ah! so much easier than all that faffing about making tarts! and not any less delicious too I can tell! thanks for all the “jots” and tips!

    10. shaz says:

      Well done! Both on the delicious looking galetter and the French lessons :) I took a few lessons aeons ago and all I can remember now is how to ask someone the time, ooops.

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