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 galette recipe – it’s easy!
You don’t need much to make delicious galettes, 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!
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 a French recipe 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. 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.
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
What are the Galettes Bretonnes?
Galettes look like crepes or a thin pancake, and they can actually also be called crepes bretonnes. But the recipe is not the same than the usual French crepes you know. Galettes can be both savoury or sweet, but they are traditionally a savoury dish.
You can find galettes with pretty much anything you like in it. 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 galette, and another one fancier that requires a bit more preparation.
For the dough, you’ll only need to buy buckwheat flour. Although it’s not the most common flour, you can still find it in mainstream supermarkets. The two other ingredients are simply water and salt. The dough is vegan and gluten-free.
Then, you’ll need to buy ingredients to fill in your galettes and salted butter to cook it (vegans can use olive oil). You can buy anything you like really. I call my father’s galette recipe Fourzitou, which sounds like “Put everything in it” in French.
For the traditional complète, you will need:
- Shredded cheese
- Salt and pepper
For the fancy one, we chose:
- Brandy or cognac
- Salt and pepper
But 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.
Drink suggestions to have with Galettes
Traditionally, 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, 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.
Nowadays, we may also drink beer with the galettes. 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.
Step by step recipe
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:
- cook the leek,
- boil the asparagus and fry them in a pan,
- cook the scallops and flame them with brandy or cognac, and keep the juice.
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
- Season with nutmeg, and serve!
If you want to serve all the galettes in one go, you can keep the finished ones warmed in the oven at 60°C.
Did you try this galettes recipe to travel to Brittany at home? Share your experience in the comments below!
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