Whenever we have Galettes Bretonnes for lunch or dinner, it takes me back to Brittany, the region in France where my family lives and where I spent most of my holidays as a kid. I dream of the ocean, the Celtic legends and hear bagpipe music in my head. Travel to Brittany with this galettes bretonnes recipe – it’s easy!
You don’t need much to make delicious galettes bretonnes, all the ingredients can be found at the supermarket, even in Australia, 15 000 kilometres away from Brittany. And as you can choose the fillings, it’s actually hard not to love galettes bretonnes!
The dough has to rest for one hour.
Can be vegan and gluten-free (buckwheat flour)
With this series of articles, I aim to share recipes not only to prepare a dish but to prepare a full experience that will allow you to discover a new place – from home. The food you’ll cook is just one of the ingredients you need for the experience. As I live in Australia, I’ve picked dishes that are easy to make or to adapt when you don’t live in these regions. Have your pan, forks, speakers and globe trotter’s curiosity ready!
Where are we going?
The region: Brittany
To bring Brittany to your house, you’ll need music. From the different traditional music from Brittany, I particularly like Celtic music and invite you to read this article while listening to the following album:
A few words about Brittany
Brittany is France’s most western region. With the Atlantic Ocean in the south and the English Channel in the north, the region is very linked to the ocean. You’ll hear many sailors’ stories from Brittany. But it’s also famous for its Celtic legends. You’ve most likely heard of Stonehenge in England. In the same style, Brittany has an uncountable number of small sites with stones (menhirs when they’re up, dolmens when they look like a table) in circles or lined up. They’re all very mysterious. In Brittany, it feels like every single stone, village and lake have a legend to tell. Visiting villages in Brittany and learning about the legends are some of the best things to do in the region.
France has many regions with as many different cultures and specialities. And Brittany is one of the few that have kept their culture very strong. For example, the road signs in the region are written in French and in the local language. Another illustration of the strong Breton culture is the flag of Brittany, Gwenn-ha-du (black and white in the local language). It can be recognised by all French people and is probably seen more often than the French flag around Brittany. Maybe it will remind you of the US flag, and you’re right. That’s where the inspiration came from when they designed the flag of Brittany in 1923, as a symbol of freedom.
Music or documentary for your dinner
Watching a documentary can be part of this recipe to travel to Brittany. You’ll have images, music and stories all at once to get a feel of the region. Here is a suggestion:
If you don’t like the idea of being in front of a screen, then you can, of course, stick to a musical background. There’s no better time to listen to Celtic music. Music is very important in Breton culture. Today – especially during summer – they still gather to celebrate fest noz, a festive gathering with traditional music and dances inscribed in 2012 on the UNESCO list. You form a circle or a line by grabbing each other’s pinky fingers, move your arms up and down, and step to the side or to the front. You’ll understand a lot better if you watch a video.
Whenever I hear bagpipes, I think of Brittany. In addition to the first playlist I posted above, I suggest you listen to this album:
The recipe: how to make Galettes Bretonnes
How to make Galettes Bretonnes
Breton galettes (galettes bretonnes) look like crepes or a thin pancake, and they can actually also be called crepes bretonnes. But the recipe is not the same as the usual French crepes you know. Galettes can be savoury or sweet, but they are traditionally savoury dishes (although they're delicious with sweet fillings too!).
You can find galettes with pretty much anything you like in them. The most common ones are:
- with a sausage (la galette saucisse)
- with ham, cheese and an egg (la complète)
In our recipe, we’ve prepared one easy, traditional Breton galette, and another one fancier that requires a bit more preparation.
For the dough (vegan and gluten-free)
- Buckwheat flour (250g/0.5lb for 12-15 crepes depending on your pan size) - although it’s not the most common flour, you can still find it in mainstream supermarkets.
- Water (700ml/3 glasses for 250g/0.5lb of flour)
- Salt (one tea spoon for 250g/0.5lb of flour)
Ingredients to fill in the galettes
- You can buy anything you like really. I call my father’s galette recipe Fourzitou, which sounds like “Put everything in it” in French. I've suggested two selections of ingredients: the classic ones and a fancier recipe.
- You'll need salted butter for cooking, or vegans can use olive oil.
Classic fillings ("la galettes complète")
- Shredded cheese (30g per crepe)
- Ham (1/5 slice per crepe)
- Eggs (one per crepe)
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Scallops (three to five per crepe)
- Leeks (50g per crepe)
- Asparagus (two per crepe)
- Brandy or cognac (two table spoon per crepe)
- Nutmeg for seasoning
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- I often simply add mushrooms and onions to the complète.
- Or do a cheesy one with goat cheese, walnuts and rocket.
- A mix of potatoes and sausage can be delicious too.
- In a bowl with buckwheat flour (250g), add water (700ml – 3 glasses) progressively and salt.
- Whisk until the dough is smooth and sticks to a spoon. Leave it to rest for one hour.
Prepare the fillings for the fancy galette
While the dough is resting, you can start cutting and cooking some of the ingredients you want to use as fillings:
- Clean and cut the leak.
- Keep the white part for this recipe.
- Cook it in a pan with a lid at low heat for 20 minutes.
- Boil the asparagus for five minutes.
- Put them in icy water for two minutes.
- Fry them in a pan for two minutes.
- Sear each side of the scallops for one minute in a frying pan with a spoon of olive oil.
- Put the cognac or brandy in a small pot, heat for a minute and remove it from the fire before it boils.
- Set the brandy or cognac on fire in the pot using a long-neck lighter.
- Pour the alcohol on the scallops while it's burning to flambe the scallops.
- Do not throw away the juice, we will use it in the recipe.
Cook the galette
- Make sure the pan is hot.
- Melt some butter (or use olive oil for the dairy-free version) and spread it everywhere in the pan, including the sides.
- Add the dough into the pan so that you have a thin layer covering the pan.
- Leave it to cook for about 30 seconds on both sides.
- Then, you can add fillings at a lower heat.
For the complète:
- Start with the egg so it can cook for longer,
- Add the cheese so it starts melting,
- Add the ham,
- And anything else you like, really (be creative!),
- Season with salt and pepper,
- Fold the sides without covering the egg yolk, and serve!
For the fancy option:
- Put the leek as the base,
- Place scallops on top,
- Fold the sides,
- Add the asparagus on top,
- Pour the scallop juice from the frying pan where you flambeed them,
- Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve!
If you want to serve all the galettes in one go, you can keep the finished ones warm in the oven at 60°C/140°F.
What to serve with Galettes Bretonnes: drink suggestions
Traditionally in Britanny, they would eat galettes and drink fermented milk, lait ribot. I haven’t even tried to find this buttermilk in Australia because I don’t think it tastes good, to be honest. Maybe you’ll have more luck finding the Middle Eastern kefir, it’s quite similar.
Nowadays, it’s more common to drink apple cider with galettes bretonnes, in a small bowl called bolée. The cider in Brittany is dry and not as sweet as most ciders in Australia. If you have the opportunity to visit the Granit Belt near Brisbane, they make good dry apple cider there. We are yet to find a brand in our local bottle shop that is as dry as the apple cider from Brittany, but Strongbow Dry Apple Cider works just fine with the galettes bretonnes.
Nowadays, we may also drink beer with the galettes bretonnes. There are more than 100 craft breweries in the region where one of the first French microbreweries was launched in 1985. Research date the first brewery in Brittany back to 1624. I particularly like how some have added originality that immediately makes you think of the specialities of the region: you can find beer with algae, seawater or buckwheat, for example.
Did you try this galettes bretonnes recipe to travel to Brittany at home? Share your experience in the comments below!
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