Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Pumpkin and goats cheese galette

I first encountered the work of Anna Thomas when I went on a book-buying frenzy at City Books. I emerged with half a dozen new books about food, including her latest book, From Anna's Kitchen. She is a writer of Polish descent living in southern California and the recipes reflect this combination of influences. The book is sized like a thick novel and about as easy to read - it lived beside my bed for a while for some night-time reading. This recipe is not from the book but rather from her web page, where she publishes new seasonal recipes each month.

Olive oil bread dough
7 g envelopedry yeast
1 teaspoonsugar
3 cupswhite flour
1 teaspoonsalt
1extra egg yolk
2 1/2 tablespoonsolive oil

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 3/4 cup lukewarm water and set it aside for a few minutes, until it begins to foam up. Beat the whole egg into the yeast mixture, then whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Mix 2 3/4 cup flour with the salt in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the middle, and into this pour the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a board well-coated with flour and knead it for about ten minutes, or until it is smooth and pliant, springing back when pushed down. Add sprinkles of flour to keep the dough from sticking, but don't let it get too stiff and dry.

Form the dough into a ball, and put it into a lightly oiled bowl, turning it once. Cover the bowl with a towel or with plastic wrap and leave the dough in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about an hour, or until roughly double in size.

When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down and roll it out, then shape and fill according to the recipe below.

1large butternut squash (about 1.25 kg)
2large onions
2 tablespoonsolive oil
2 tablespoonssherry vinegar
1 teaspoonsea salt
black pepper
severalfresh or dried sage leaves, chopped
1/3 cupsultanas
1/2 cuppine nuts
225 gwhite goat cheese

Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into 2 cm cubes (this should be about 4 to 5 cups worth). Peel the onions and cut them up in pieces roughly the same size. Toss the vegetables together with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and sage. Spread them evenly in a baking pan and roast at 180C for about 1 1/4 hours, keeping them covered with foil for the first 45 minutes. Stir the vegetables gently a couple of times during cooking. About ten minutes before they're done, add the sultanas. Once removed from the oven, mix in the pine nuts.

After punching down the bread dough as above, roll it out on a lightly floured board to an oval about 50 x 30 cm, and transfer this to an oiled baking sheet, letting the edges drape over the rim.

Crumble or mash the goats cheese, and spread evenly over the bread dough, leaving a two-inch border all the way around. Distribute the vegetable mixture evenly over the goat cheese. Fold the border of dough up over the filling, pleating it loosely as you go. Whisk the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush this glaze generously over the dough.

Bake the galette at 180C for about 25 minutes, covering it loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly. The pleated rim of dough will puff up, and get a shiny, golden-brown finish. Check it for doneness at about 20 minutes, and every 5 minutes thereafter, by knocking on it with a knuckle. When it is cooked it will give a hollow sound.

Allow the galette to cool slightly before transferring it to a board and cutting it in thick wedges to serve. Serves 8.

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