Galettes Bretonnes

Sometimes, when I feel like pottering away in the kitchen but making a whole cake sounds like a gargantuan challenge (not to mention most of the times there is already one staring back at me on the window sill), I prefer to make something quick, easy and intriguing. Biscuits or brownies are my choice of preference and these make no exception. In French, ‘galette’ has a plethora of meanings. To quote Monique from Miel & Ricotta,

‘Galette’ is the fourth most popular word in French. Liberté, egalité, fraternité and galette. In France, round things are referred to as ‘galette’. The famous cpes are called ‘galettes’, as are frangipane tortes, waffles, a piece of bread and these biscuits. Then you move away from food and you discover that some cushions are called ‘galettes’, a vinyl is a ‘galette’ and the word also indicates the weigh of a dose of crack (now that you know this, you can be confident next time you order some). The spare wheel on cars is a ‘galette’, money is referred to as ‘galette’ and if you fall down while skying, then you also made a ‘galette.’

I love these biscuits as they could be considered a salty version of standard shortbread, and yet they are much more than that. First of all, the dough is quite sticky and needs swift hands to work it due to the higher ratio of egg and butter to flour. Then, the addition of both sugar and salt really lifts the flavour as the saltiness tingles your tongue and makes more akin to a sweet cracker. Lastly, the shiny coating on top provides an extra layer of texture when you bite into them. In a word, moreish.

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Ingredients

  • 60g caster sugar (golden or plain)
  • 100g softened salted butter (preferably Guérande) OR unsalted butter + 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk + 1 tsb double cream (for the coating)

Method

  1. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, then beat together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and flour, and mix until combined.
  2. Turn out onto a work surface and briefly knead to incorporate all of the ingredients. Be quick as the dough will be sticky. When done, shape into a ball, flatten it to a disc and warp in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking parchment to approximately 4mm thick, then remove the top one and use a 6-7cm fluted cookie cutter to stamp out as many shapes as you can, without removing the biscuits. Cover the stamped dough with the other baking parchment sheet and return to the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This will ensure the dough firms up, so it will be easier to remove the cookies before baking.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, then remove the cookies from the stamped dough and arrange on top. Considering you will need to re-roll the dough and chill it in between stamping and moving the biscuits to the lined baking tray, you might want to either wait to bake them all together or use smaller trays and alternate baking with chilling.
  5. Once you are set to bake, pre-heat the oven to 210C.
  6. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolk and the double cream. Use a knife to create a criss-cross pattern on the cold cookies, then use a brush to cover them in the yolk mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until deep golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Enjoy!

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