Sometimes I wonder if the internet has damaged the kitchen.
On one hand, yes, it’s wonderful to have a world of information available to you at an instant. If I want a recipe, I no longer have to flip through endless cookbooks or food magazines. If something is going wrong with my recipe, no need to panic, just google it and the world wide web will provide me a solution.
But I also feel there is something lost by having everything you need at your fingertips: Creativity. I no longer have to come up with something to do with that accidental two pounds of plums I ordered, the internet will tell me. I no longer have to turn this fucked up dough into something else surprisingly delicious, the internet will help me fix it.
And yes, I get the irony of decrying the trappings of the internet on an internet blog.
A blog designed to help you pick apart recipes. But maybe it’s time to alter the direction of Crumb What May a bit. And also, you can love something and still understand that it is not perfect. I think we can all agree, the internet is not perfect. Also, I love cookbooks and little recipe cards handed down from generations with barely legible handwriting and measurements like “a handful of nuts”.
I mean, just imagine the wonderful world of food that has come out of kitchen accidents, and “well fuck I’m out of the ingredients” moments. We might not have gooey butter cake if that cook could have simply looked up how to fix his mess.
I also worry that the internet can quell creativity by competition in a way. You think you’d like to invent this wonderful cake flavor, then you go on the internet to find that a thousand people have already invented it before you. So you never do. But yours could have been better! Or a little different. Or at the very least, Yours.
And so I am here to tell you, not to give up the internet, but instead to just stop relying on it.
Let your creative kitchen juices flow and stop worrying about if it’s the right way.
“But Kasey”, you say, “I’m not ready! My kitchen skills are not developed enough to stray from the recipe!”
I am here to tell you “Nay, my friend! You are ready! You simply need to start in the right place!”
Which leads us, finally, after five paragraphs of intro, to FREEFORM GALETTES. The first step to free creative baking.
First: What is a Galette? It is a freeform pie or tart of sorts. It consists of some sort of flat dough, usually pie dough or shortcrust, or if you must, puff pastry, with a filling or topping, edges folded over and baked flat. Freeform galettes allow for a wonderful world of creativity with very little risk because how bad can dough with tasty stuff on it possibly be? That’s why we like pizza so much.
So for this post, I made a couple of freeform galettes with what I had around the kitchen to show you the possibilities. You can try these, or try your own, or both! I’d love to see the results!
Here are the steps to make freeform galettes:
- Make a dough for the bottom crust. You can use a recipe for this part. Basic pie dough is best and traditional (try this one from Maria’s Kitchen). You can also use a shortcust, or flatbread for savory, or add some flavor to your pie dough with cocoa or spices or nut flour.
- Roll dough onto a large flat surface, about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut it into whatever shape makes you happy (this is freeform, remember!). Just remember to give yourself about an inch or two to fold over for the cust at the end.
- Add your filling.
- Fold over the edges and bake!
It’s really that simple. There are some things that make for a better galette, however, so here are some tips:
- You don’t want anything too liquidy for your filling as there are no edges to keep it in. So things like fruit and veggies, nuts, cheeses, and fillings with thick consistencies like ganache, chocolate, and peanut butter work best. You can even crack an egg on top for a breakfast galette!
- Don’t forget to season things! When using fruit try coating the pieces with sugar and spices first, or sprinkle it on top. For veggies, don’t forget the salt and pepper, maybe some fresh herbs.
- Because the crust is thin, and you don’t want to overbake it, it is best to slice things thin so as to shorten the bake time.
- Just like a pie, the bottom crust can get soggy, so try brushing it with egg whites before adding your filling.
- You don’t have to be done once it’s in the oven! You can add all sorts of post bake goodies like sauce, caramel, syrup, parmesan, nuts, sprinkles, fresh fruit, whatever your heart desires!
So here’s what I came up with. These are not recipes, clearly, as that would defeat the purpose, but simply inspiration.
I accidentally ordered two pounds of plums from Imperfect Produce, inspiring me to make this galette, and this post. I used a standard pie dough for the crust. Thinly sliced the plums, and tossed them in some sugar and freshly grated ginger. I arranged them in a flower pattern in the center of my crust leaving an inch around the edge which I folded over to form the crust. I brushed the crust with some egg wash and sprinkled it with turbinado sugar. I baked it on a sheet pan at 350 for 20 minutes or until the crust was golden and fruit soft. I then topped it with some basil and fresh whipped cream.
For this one I again used pie crust and sprinkled some dark chocolate chips over it, and topped it with bananas sliced lengthwise and tossed with brown sugar. I baked it at 350 until the crust was golden. I also torched the bananas a smidge with the kitchen torch to caramelize the bananas a little.
This one turned out the best. I mixed about a cup of whole milk ricotta with an egg and some salt and pepper, and spread it on the crust, again leaving an inch border. I then thinly sliced the zucchini and arranged it on top of the ricotta. I then topped it with a few thinly sliced red onions and sprinkled with parmesan and lemon zest. It’s done when the crust is golden, or when you peel back one of the zucchini, the ricotta should be set, not sticky. Fantastic appetizer or side dish.
All of these were put together with random ingredients I had in my house. Freeform galettes are a great way to use up extra fruits and vegetables.
So I hope I have inspired you to let go of the recipe and explore your creative side. You are Dobby, and galettes are your socks. Be free little house elves! Be free and enjoy!