Here is a fun weekend project for when you want to put in a little extra effort to make an impressive and memorable dish. A rustic French-inspired free-form tart with roasted butternut squash and shallot, arugula and my homemade super-easy vegan pesto. Each layer hits your palate in a symphony of yumminess – so many delicious ingredients all in one savory little pastry! Makes a beautiful centerpiece for a weekend brunch, or an elegant main dish for lunch or dinner (smaller slices could also be served as hors d’oeuvres). Makes one medium sized (~8″) galette, enough for 2 people as an entree or for 4 as an appetizer. There will also be plenty of extra roasted butternut squash to enjoy!
Notes: The dough, being gluten-free, is temperamental but can be massaged into doing what you want with a little patience and TLC. If you are happy using gluten then by all means take the short cut of using store-bought frozen pizza dough which will work beautifully!
- 1.5 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, plus additional for dusting (I used TJ’s)
- 1/2 tsp fleur de sel sea salt
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (fridge temp)
- ~6 Tbsp ice water
- 1 small butternut squash (I found a cute little butterkin squash at TJ’s)
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large (or 2 small) shallots
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp fleur de sel sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh arugula
- 3 Tbsp vegan pesto (make your own using this super-easy recipe!)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat your oven to 425F.
First step is to make the dough: In a food processor, blend the flour and salt. Then add the cold Earth Balance in small spoonfuls roughly 1/2 Tbsp in size. Pulse until it starts sticking together in approximately rice grain-sized pieces.
Next, add the ice water, one tablespooon at a time, pulsing briefly as you go. Stop adding when the dough sticks together starts to form a (somewhat crumbly) ball.
Turn out on a floured surface and form into ball, flattening slightly, and chill in refrigerator in plastic wrap or a plastic bag for at least 30 min (can make up to a day in advance).
Next, peel your squash, remove the seeds (I like to toast them with a little olive oil and salt for a healthy snack). Slice into 1/4″ thick slices. Peel and slice the shallot crosswise into 1/4″ slices. Place the squash and shallots in a baking dish and drizzle with the olive oil, salt and paprika. Toss to coat evenly.
Roast at 425 for about 15-20 min until the squash is fork-tender and the shallot is caramelizing but not burnt (your kitchen will be smelling amazing at this point).
Meanwhile, take your dough out of the fridge, turn out onto a floured surface (hint: use your planned baking surface, such as a pizza stone or well-oiled cookie sheet so you don’t have to transfer this delicate dough once it’s flattened), and gently roll out with a rolling pin or press with your hands to about a 12″ circle. As you will see, this dough is very fragile and needs to be coddled a little bit. If it is being especially stubborn, a drizzle of olive oil over the top may help. You can also use a knife to straighten out the edges if they are looking a little crumbly.
Spread the pesto in a thin layer to within about an inch or so of the edge. Then tear the arugula into smaller pieces and layer on to.
Next, layer on slices of the squash and shallot (you will have plenty of squash left over, but it is delicious so enjoy!). Sprinkle fresh thyme over the top.
Using a metal spatula, gently lift the edges of the dough and fold them over gently in sections, crimping slightly with your fingers and gently putting back together any spots that crack apart.