A Girl and Her Galette
To avoid true holiday chaos, learn to choose your holiday recipes wisely, especially when you’re trying them for the very first time on the big day. The Wild Mushroom Galette by The Modern Proper fits the bill for novice bakers and first-time recipe-goers everywhere.
On Thanksgiving Eve, I made up my mind that I was going to bake a Thanksgiving side for my future in-laws and their large extended family for Thanksgiving dinner. I rarely bake, but the savory mushroom galette I had saved in my Instagram “Thanksgiving” folder weeks before kept resurfacing in my brain and I wanted to contribute to my soon-to-be family’s holiday spread.
Some might say it’s my toxic trait to decide to try a brand new recipe for the very first time when cooking for a crowd. Whether or not I was gifted sheer beginner’s luck and the Thanksgiving angels were shining down on me that day, I’ll never really know.
What I do know is that for any baker novice like myself, the Wild Mushroom Galette by The Modern Proper is a stunner and a half, and is a surefire way to impress any guest at your holiday table, even if you make a few mistakes along the way.
Butter? The limit does not exist in a really great pastry dough. And, if you’re anything like me, you might forget to take your butter out of the freezer in time. Fast-forward to an attempted defrost in the microwave that ended in butter much softer than the recipe’s “cubed and chilled” butter guidance, and yet somehow, the dough still formed the perfect “pea-size crumbles,” and shaped into the same green-speckled flat circle the recipe’s photos depicted.
Though only 3 basic ingredients – mushrooms, onions, and of course more butter, the filling is simple yet stunning. The process of cooking down the mushrooms until most of their water has released and seasoning only with salt and pepper makes the heartiness and earthiness of the mushrooms really shine through.
After rolling out the herbaceous, buttery dough into my shotty attempt at a circle, it was time to layer on the goods. A smooth and rich layer of crème fraîche got swirled on first, its custard-like consistency sticking to the back of my metal spoon as I swooshed numerous indentations to my heart’s content.
Next, while straining any remaining liquid from the mushroom filling, I loaded spoonful after heaping spoonful of the buttery cremini, baby bella, and oyster mushrooms on top of the decadent crème fraîche.
Because no good vegetarian side dish is complete without cheese, I topped off the golden mushrooms with a generous showering of gruyere, sprinkling on with love instead of strictly adhering to the recipe’s exact measurement. And, last but certainly not least, the galette was finished with a sprinkling of bright, fresh thyme leaves for both color and a delightful fragrance.
Giving Shape to the Galette
Now piled high to nearly two and a half inches with a filling of savory goodness, I carefully folded the surrounding dough into a crust to enclose it all together, pleating as I went and leaning into the rusticity (Note: Not perfection). The slightly wonky but oh so beautiful edges got a brushing of egg wash and it was time to bake!
A Bake of True Beauty
Baked off just as the recipe calls for (revolutionary, I know), our fungi pastry started smelling heavenly halfway through cook time. You will want to consume it immediately – you’ve been warned.
To Grandmother’s Cabin We Go
To put our galette to the true test, I not only baked it two days prior to serving it, but it also traveled three hours up the windy Southern California mountains for dinner. And, after a quick preheat at 350 for 20-25 minutes, our galette was ready for her moment, and a moment she had.
Devoured in mere minutes and followed by an applause (yes, actual applause), my partner was already asking for a second galette. “The way the crispy exterior of the crust balances with the chewiness of the mushrooms and soft decadence of the crème fraîche is mind blowing,” one family member said.
Still talking about it when we flew home to New York, the 5-star galette has now been requested by my East coast family for Christmas and, since it’s foolproof, they might get lucky enough to enjoy it on a random weeknight – just because it’s that simple. I strongly encourage you to do the same.