Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Gift: Galette Bressane

I received a call from someone who was working on a travel itinerary for her employer that included a stop in Lyon. He was a restauranteur taking two of his key people on a discovery tour for inspiration and ideas through France. I figured anyone willing to take his people on a tour like that was someone I'd like to meet. I trotted down to Les Halles to meet them and discovered within the first 10 minutes that these men were extremely interesting people to be around. They focused diligently on things that for many people might just be a detail that fades into a general landscape. They appreciated and wanted to discuss at length the things that interested me the most, and had plenty of great thought provoking questions. They didn't realize it but their devotion to their work lifted my spirits and made me feel less alone. You know how sometimes you put all of your effort into something and then have that hollow "maybe this is crazy" feeling? Our conversations, their questions, remembering what I am doing this for, it all served as a fond benchmark for the creative demands I was presented with in the weeks that followed. I remembered my purpose in the midst of a whole lot of chaos, in other words. I was grateful for their having found me at that particular time, and at the same time could not find words to express this gratitude.

I was recently re-contacted by one of these men, a chef working on a fantastic new project, a restaurant that runs entirely on wood-fired ovens. If you know me and my passion for wood oven cooking, you understand how much I adore this project. He was asking if I could give him a recipe for that Galette Bressane we tasted on the last day of their visit.

There are many places to get a good galette Bressane in Lyon, which is kind of like a sugar and cream topped flattened brioche, light and fluffy but possessing a cake like moistness, deliciously filling that little hole in the belly on cold mornings like these. One is on Wednesday evenings at the market on Place Carnot, and the other is at a bakery on rue St. Jean in the 5th arrondissement.

The cake itself has its beginnings in the flat country north of Lyon where they raise those lovely blue-footed flavorful chickens and are famous for their excellent butter and cream. This is the country where La Mere Brazier spent her childhood working on farms in the countryside in exchange for room and board, as was the custom for children who were a financial burden to struggling widows. I know it sounds terrible but this was the reality for many children not that long ago. She dictated a memoir (she wasn't very good at writing) in the 1970s before she passed away, where she recounts her only food-related childhood memory. She remembered being given a slice of a Galette Bressane coming out of the kitchen of the farm where she was working and most of all, she remembers sitting in a field, eating it, and feeling grateful.

It's my pleasure to share this Galette, I bet it will be delicious coming from a wood fired oven too.

Galette Bressane

Serves 4

Notes: If you're baking in the States, I would recommend cake flour because the texture of the galette strikes a delicate balance, one that will be more easily achieved with a lower gluten flour. If you're cooking this with American flour, you might also consider tweaking the flour weight by reducing it slightly for the same reason, to get your perfect version.

For the brioche (400g):

6 ounces by weight or 170g flour
2 eggs with water added to weigh a total of 130 grams
3/4 cup or 80 grams butter, room temp
2 tablespoons or about 20 grams granulated sugar
10 grams bakers yeast
1 generous pinch salt

La garniture:

1 egg
20 grams or about 3 heaping tablespoons crème fraîche or whipping cream
20 grams or about 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

One day before serving: Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt, sugar, and yeast, and then incorporate the eggs, beaten, one at a time into the dry ingredients, to create a dough that separates from the edge of the bowl. Add water if your eggs are on the small side.

Add the butter cut into tablespoons and work it in until it is fully incorporated. Knead this dough for another 5 minutes by hand. Leave at room temperature for 45 minutes before covering and refrigerating overnight.

The day of serving, line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the ball of dough into the center and press flat by hand to about 1/4 inch thick. Let rise for 2 hours in a warm place free of drafts.

When the dough has doubled in volume, pinch a border about 1 cm or 1/2 inch high and prick the center at regular intervals with a fork. Lightly beat the egg and paint the surface inside the raised border completely. Avoid letting egg drip outside of the border, because doing so will keep the tarte edges from rising evenly in the oven.

Add salt to the cream and whip it for a minute or two with a whisk, if using whipping cream, beat it until stiff. Spread it evenly over the surface of the tarte and sprinkle the sugar evenly over that. Bake in a hot oven (230C or 450F) 8 to 10 minutes. Verify its doneness by lifting the edge of the tarte with a spatula and checking the color underneath, it should be only slightly browned.

Place the galette on a cooling rack and let cool completely before serving.



Blogger SmitoniusAndSonata said...

That does sound exceptionally good ! One of those wonderfully "simple" things that must be made exactly right , of course , but so worth it .

4:17 PM, January 18, 2012  
Anonymous fanny said...

Lucy, this galette is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a while.

I can't wait for my next days off now!

xx fanny

4:55 PM, January 18, 2012  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you for this recipe. It will go to good use in my home!

7:05 PM, January 18, 2012  
Blogger Sallyanne said...

And thank you for the wonderful pictures. They help a lot in getting this right.

8:58 PM, January 18, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I am making this tarte tomorrow.

3:37 AM, January 19, 2012  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Lucy, It is wonderful to have you back writing and sharing your inspiring stories.
You are baking the most extraorinary things, I am loving it! The names and stories behind these pastries realy add to the magic and your photos are beautiful.
Will you show us your bakery finished in full view, please? The snippets are beautiful.
Thanks for sharing, wish I could be there!

2:33 PM, January 19, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thanks so much friends, for coming by and leaving your comments here. I will try and get more shots of the kitchen, but the thing is that we hit a couple of snags in the work, and this has caused delays in getting the kitchen fully furnished, thus, when you look at the photos you see stuff piled in all the corners. We'll have cabinets and buffets very soon, though.

7:15 PM, January 19, 2012  
Blogger Sandra said...

Oh Lucy this Galette it's so beautiful & tasty.
I'm so excited to meet you next week!!
thanks for your help my dear
good night

12:08 AM, January 20, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I may try this one, soon. One question (which is why I'm not doing my usual silent check-in), the butter should be room temp; however, I live in a humid, usually warm, city (New Orleans). It's predicted to be in the 70's Fahrenheit the next week. I'm figuring the butter needs to be a bit chilled, or is that nonsense on my part?

Your blog is beautiful, well written, and always enjoyable - naomi

5:38 PM, January 22, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Hello Anon, about the butter, you want it to be soft enough to work into your brioche dough without lumps so let it warm up at least 2 hours even if your weather is in the 70s.

7:16 PM, January 22, 2012  
Anonymous Jill Mant~a SaucyCook said...

This looks divine and thank you so much for the specific instructions as to the flour and the importance of creme fraiche. I'm going to try this!

7:24 AM, January 23, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thanks for coming by, Jill. Plain cream is fine and many versions of this galette use it, so don't go to the trouble looking for creme fraiche if you don't have some readily available.

9:28 AM, January 23, 2012  
Anonymous argone said...

I want to make one !! thank you !

9:46 AM, January 23, 2012  
Blogger De yummyblogsisters said...

that looks so good! planning a galette baking day now. Bet the hardest part is leaving it to cool ...

8:47 PM, January 23, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a beautiful recipe! I love the simplistic nature of the ingredients and can only imagine how wonderful this tastes. I'll have to try this one soon!

1:55 AM, January 25, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is lovely.

Perhaps this is the wrong place on your blog, Lucy, but you had promised us some tips on making your house stock. I am in NY and even here it will be hard to get duck wings by themselves.
but I always give it a game try.

Can you do a post on stock making? Thanks for all your wonderful advice.

10:33 PM, January 26, 2012  
Anonymous Ilke said...

I love the look of the baked galette. I can see why you would feel grateful while eating it.

11:00 PM, February 05, 2012  
Anonymous Gillian said...

This looks incredible!

6:50 PM, February 08, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

You should come try it, Gillian! Thanks for stopping by.

10:24 PM, February 08, 2012  
Anonymous Mindy said...

Wow, the picture really struck me. This galette looks delectable and I completely relate to how it can be eaten in a field, feeling grateful.

2:53 PM, March 06, 2012  
Blogger AdriBarr said...

This is my first visit to your beautiful web site. Judy Witts Francini suggested I visit. Good advice. I owe her a thank you.

I look forward to trying some of your recipes. I am sure you have put many hours into their development. They are so clearly written; I shall have no troubles following them. And your photographs are a feast for my eyes!

Thank you for a terrific reading experience. I am sure it will transform into a wonderful cooking experience.

7:05 PM, December 01, 2012  

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