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Homemade crust is a must for an extra-special galette

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 2:21 p.m.
Alice Choi
Summer Vegetable Galette With Pesto

I used to buy ready-made frozen pie crust from the store, mainly for quiches and chicken pot pie. But, ever since I bought a food processor and a trusty pastry blender, those days are long gone.

If you've never made your own pastry crust, I'm here to tell you that you can do it. That all-butter, flaky, delicious crust is, with a little practice, achievable. I've experimented with shortening, butter and shortening, and olive oil.

As far as I'm concerned, the crust of a galette is as important as what you put in it. So, I say take the time to make your own. You'll be so happy you did.

I love the rustic, free-form look of a galette. They are so beautiful and versatile. Make it sweet or savory, and use seasonal produce to change it up. No matter what, you're sure to get lots of oohs and ahhs if serving this at your next party or gathering.

You can easily make the pesto and the all-butter dough a day or two before you need it and refrigerate both. Make sure you cover your pesto with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil and cover with plastic wrap or store in a jar with a tight lid. When you are ready to use the dough and pesto, take them out of the fridge and leave them on the counter for about 20 minutes.

For the crust, I recommend using a food processor, which saves time, but if you don't have one, use a pastry blender to break up and combine the cold butter with the flour. This method will take longer.

For the pesto, if you don't like arugula, you can use all basil leaves, or try basil plus baby spinach. Pesto is so versatile; experiment and see what you like.

I used my mandolin slicer to quickly slice the yellow summer squash and zucchini; this also ensures that the vegetables are the same thickness.

Here's to a beautiful summer.

Alice Choi is a writer for, a blog for people who love food and home cooking.

Summer Vegetable Galette With Pesto

For the crust:

1 14 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling work space

34 teaspoon sea salt

1 stick ( 12 cup) very cold unsalted butter, cubed

14 cup ice cold water

1 large egg yolk plus 12 teaspoon water; slightly beaten (for egg wash)

For the pesto:

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 12 cups packed fresh arugula

2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic

14 cup pine nuts

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

For the galette filling:

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium yellow summer squash, sliced thin crosswise

1 medium to large zucchini, sliced thin crosswise

2 small tomatoes, sliced thin crosswise

Freshly grated pecorino cheese, for garnish

To prepare the crust: Combine the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor, and process for about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse until the pastry just begins to come together, for about 10 seconds; you should still see small pieces of butter in it.

Transfer the pastry dough to a lightly floured work surface, gather it together to form a disk or mound, wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare the pesto: Clean the food processor and then combine the basil, arugula, garlic and pine nuts in the bowl. Pulse until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube, and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Season with salt and pepper and pulse a few more times. Add the pecorino cheese and puree until the cheese is thoroughly combined. Transfer the pesto to a jar with a lid or covered bowl until ready to use. The pesto can be made several days ahead and kept refrigerated.

To assemble the galette: Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Remove the disk of pie dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Dust some flour on the rolling pin, and roll out the dough to a large circle, about 12 inches in diameter. (If your dough was refrigerated for more than a half hour, wait about 20 minutes before rolling.)

Using your rolling pin and starting on one end of the dough, loosely roll up your pie crust around the rolling pin. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet and roll the dough back out flat.

Spread about 13 cup of pesto in the center of the dough, leaving about a 1 12-inch to 2-inch border all around the edge. Lightly drizzle just a touch of extra-virgin olive oil over the pesto. Arrange the sliced summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes in a single layer over the top, arranging them however you want.

Gently fold the pastry border over the vegetables, overlapping the edges as much as possible and creating pleats all around the edges. Brush the folded edges of the crust with the egg wash.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let the galette cool for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving, and garnish with freshly grated pecorino cheese. Serve the galette with the remaining pesto, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

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