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Joyful in the Kitchen: Cauliflower Galette

Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Harissa, and Pickled Raisins

Fresh off my Harissa Shrimp and Beans I’ve got a Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Pickled Raisins, and Harissa. There’s that word again harissa. It seems I’m a bit like a kid with a new toy. I bought a couple of tubes of harissa paste and I can’t resist squeezing some into almost anything.

Including a pie! Well, a galette actually.

The Joy of the Kitchen

Times are tough right now and I think many of us are relearning the joy in the simple things that keep us tied to home. If this pandemic has taught me anything it’s that I can’t (I won’t) give up on joy.

One place I find joy is in the kitchen. I realize the kitchen has developed a reputation as a thankless task-master. I recognize that not all kitchen chores are fun. I don’t like peeling garlic. Sometimes I have to look the other way when dealing with raw meat. I’d rather pay someone to clean my oven and no matter how hard I try and can’t keep my kitchen floor up to snuff.

But for every one of those tasks, there are two or three (or more) reasons why I love seeking refuge in the kitchen. This Cauliflower Galette is proof.

There are a lot of things to like about this “pie”. First, there’s my newfound interest in harissa. Rich with garlic and complex spices it’s an easy way to add zip to most anything savory.

Labneh is another element in the recipe that’s been intriguing me lately. In case you’re unfamiliar, labneh is a soft cheese with a smooth texture similar to cream cheese. It’s made from strained yogurt and is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Don’t be confused by its many spellings. Lebneh, lebnah, labaneh, labane, labne, and labni are all labneh.

Then there are the simple sweet & sour golden raisins. They add just the right counterbalance. Without them, this pie might become a bit too heavy in the mouth.

The Joy of Pastry

But let’s face it: a Cauliflower Galette is – as I’ve been hinting – a pie. The most casual pie you can imagine. The pastry comes together effortlessly. It rolls out beautifully. No crimping or fussy lattice-work involved.

What I’m saying is that it’s the pastry in this recipe that brings me the greatest joy. Whether it’s used in pie, or in something more rustic and fundamental, I enjoy working with pastry dough.

I always fear that people make pie dough way too complicated. So I have included the basic recipe from my book Savory Pies. But trust me. Once you’ve made a few pies you won’t need a recipe. You’ll learn to recognize what makes the dough work – because your climate, your kitchen, even your hands play a role in the making of one of the kitchen’s simplest pleasures.

But I’m not here to teach you how to make pie dough. I just want to remind you that the kitchen can be a joyful place to work. I think this Cauliflower Galette proves my point. GREG

Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Harissa, and Pickled Raisins
Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Harissa, and Pickled Raisins

Basic Pie Pastry

Print This Recipe Total time Yield Two 8- to 10-inch pie crusts or one 8- to 10-inch double-crust pie shellSource Savory Pies by Greg HenryPublished

High-fat European-style butter is essential to a perfect pie crust. Which, along with chilling, helps keep the dough flaky and minimizes shrinking. Many people swear that the addition of ¼ teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice makes for a guaranteed flaky crust. I’m on the fence but you can add these if you want to.

Basic Pie Pastry

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or 390 grams, plus more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 18 tablespoon very cold high-fat, European-style unsalted butter (cut into ½‑inch dice)
  • 2–3 ice cubes
  • ¼ cup ice cold water (plus 2 or more tablespoons optional)

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pulse flour and salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. If there are additions such as spices, herbs, cheese, vinegar or lemon juice add these now (see specific recipes).

Add butter, and continue pulsing until the mixture is crumbly and coarse, with various-sized but obvious chunks of butter scattered throughout.

Place two ice cubes, broken up if necessary into the feed tube of the food processor. With the machine running, pour ¼ cup cold water through the ice-filled feed tube a little at a time until dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in pastry that is tough or dense. However, in dry climates you may need up to an additional 2 or more tablespoons more cold water. You’ll learn to know when it’s the right balance of wet and dry.

Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead 2 or 3 times. If the dough seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle in another few teaspoons flour. Give the dough another couple of quick, gentle kneads. Divide dough in half. Shape into two discs about 5‑inches round and 3/4‑inch thick, or as indicated in individual recipes. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days) to distribute moisture evenly, or freeze up to 1 month.

Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Harissa, and Pickled Raisins

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Published
Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Harissa, and Pickled Raisins

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • white wine vinegar (as needed)
  • 1 cup labneh
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup harissa paste (or to taste)
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 ½ pound fresh cauliflower florets (not frozen)
  • your favorite pie dough (enough to make one 12-inch round once rolled)
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water (as egg wash)
  • arugula or mint leaves (optional)

Directions

Place the raisins, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds in a small bowl pour enough vinegar over the raisins to just cover them. Set them aside to plump and pickle in the liquid at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Drain them before using them. It’s fine to keep the seeds that cling to the raisins.

Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat to 425°F.

In a medium bowl mix labneh and lemon juice together until smooth and spreadable. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the harissa, 3 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch or two of salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Place cauliflower florets into the bowl with the harissa mixture; gently stir to coat evenly.

Spread the cauliflower onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 25 minutes until the cauliflower is tender-crisp. A vegetable that is cooked tender-crisp is heated and cooked all the way through, but still has some snap to it. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely. This may be done a day ahead of time. Store cooled florets covered in the refrigerator.

Lower the oven temperature to 400°F. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the labneh mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2‑inch border. Toss the pickled raisins with the cooled cauliflower and pile the mixture over the labneh (respecting the 2‑inch border). Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil evenly over the cauliflower. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge as needed. The center will be open. Brush the exposed crust with egg wash and freshly cracked black pepper.

Bake the assembled galette until the crust is golden brown and the cauliflower is lightly charred 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for a few minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with a handful of arugula or mint leaves (if using).