If you are a bit scared of pastry and making tarts and quiches then a galette (or crostata, the Italian version) is the tart for you. No tart tins or pie dishes required and precision isn’t really necessary, slightly rough edges on a galette just adds to its rustic charm.
We grow beautiful shallots here at The Edible Flower and they are such a great crop to grow because you can harvest them all at once, let them fully dry to cure the skins and then they can be stored for months and months. We harvested these shallots in July and are still using them now. We grow a French variety called Longor because they are less fiddly to peel (than the small round ones) and they have a rich, sweet flavour. Here I pre-cook the shallots as it allows you to get a bit of caramelisation on the outside for extra layers of flavour.
It’s also wild garlic season, definitely a signifier of spring for me. If you know of a wild garlic patch then a layer of garlic greens in this tart is magical – they cook down to an almost seaweed-like umami garlic paste, much milder than when they are eaten raw or in a pesto. If you don’t have wild garlic then you could put in some finely chopped three cornered leek or chives, or for a different taste a sprinkling of thyme leaves over the layer of cheddar is also pretty delicious.
Shallot, Wild Garlic & Cheddar Galette
For the pastry:
125g wholemeal self-raising flour
125g self-raising flour
125g cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
500g shallots, peeled
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt & pepper
50g wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped
150g mature cheddar, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten, or a little milk to egg wash
First make the pastry. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. You can also do this in a food processor if you want, but it only takes a couple of minutes by hand. Add 2-3 tablespoons of very cold water (ideally from the fridge) and bring the dough together. Knead for a couple of seconds, just until it comes together with no floury patches. Wrap or put in a bag and put in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 170°C. Cut the peeled shallots in half round the equator (so you can see the rings inside) and put them in an oven proof casserole dish or frying pan on the hob over a high heat. Sprinkle over the sugar and cook the onions (on a high heat) for a couple of minutes until they start to caramelise. Try to arrange the shallots so the cut sides are facing down for ultimate caramelisation. Remove from the heat, add the butter, a drop of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. Don’t worry if a few of the shallots are still a bit firm as they will continue to cook in the tart. Turn the oven up to 180°C
Take the pastry out of the fridge and put it on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry into a circle about 40cm wide and about the thickness or a pound coin. You can trim the edges a bit to make a rough circle. Put the pastry onto a lined baking tray, line it with a layer of baking parchment or a silicon baking mat. If the circle is too big don’t worry as you will be folding the edges in.
Spread the grated cheddar over the pastry leaving a gap of about 4cm all round the edge. Put the chopped wild garlic on top of the cheese and then arrange the shallots (cut side facing up) on top. Fold up the edges of the pastry to enclose the edges of the tart and hold everything together, this doesn’t need to be very neat, rustic charm is key. Use the egg or a little milk to egg wash the edges of the pastry. Put in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the pastry is fully cooked. Allow to cool a little before cutting and serving, this is also delicious at room temperature and is quite robust so makes an excellent packed lunch when cut into slices.