Easy, Delicious, and Versatile Strawberry Lime Galette with a Basil Butter Shortcrust (which is just pie crust, said fancier)

imageI am far from a pastry chef.  But I like to bake, and I like to eat, and when I saw this crust on Infinite Belly I had to try it.  And isn’t that blog GORGEOUS by the way?  Doesn’t it just make you want to drop everything, move to France, and go to culinary school?

But we are talking pie crust today, or shortcrust as it is more widely known.  Here in the US we typically say pie crus tor pie dough.  In the UK and other English speaking locales, they call it shortcrust.  In France, its called pate brisee.  Want to know more about these differences, and some technical aspects of pie crust?  Check this out on For Love of the Table.  I can’t be the only food geek here who is interested in this kind of thing right?  Are those crickets?

My husband's feet after our last strawberry picking excursion.
My husband’s feet after our last strawberry picking excursion.

I saw the amazing zucchini galette on Infinite Belly, but as I have been (almost literally) swimming in strawberries lately, I thought about a savory sweet combination, and one of course without duck fat, because we are pescetarian.  I adore berries and basil together, so it was a natural thought.  I made this Strawberry Lime Galette with a Basil Butter shortcrust and, well, let’s just say we might’ve eaten the entire thing in two days.  Maybe.  Probably.  But you don’t have proof!

Basil Butter Crust assembled and ready for chilling in the refrigerator.
Basil Butter Crust assembled and ready for chilling in the refrigerator.

Its actually easier than anyone thinks to make pie crust.  Or maybe its just easier than I thought to make pie crust?  I blogged about this super quick and easy one a while back.  But this basil butter crust is truly exceptional, and it impresses people, so is a good choice for serving at a brunch or dinner party.  It can go both savory and sweet (check back next week for my Early Summer Vegetable with a Basil Parmesan Crust galette), and can be made ahead.  What’s not to love?

Basil Butter Shortcrust, or Pie Crust
(adapted from Infinite Belly)

2-3 Tablespoons copped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, plus two tablespoons, cut into pats
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
An additional egg, beaten, to brush on just prior to baking

1. Prepare your basil, and slice your cold butter into pats.
2. Whisk salt, basil, and flour together.
3. Add butter in and using a pastry cutter mix it together until it forms a sablage, or looks really, really crumbly and there isn’t much flour left that hasn’t been incorporated into the crumbles.
4. Form a well in the sablage by digging your fist down in to the center, and then add in the egg and milk.
5.  Mix the egg and milk in with the sablage until a dough forms.
6. Form the dough into a ball, and then pat the ball down so it is more of a disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, and up to a day.  When you bring it out of the refrigerator, give it a few minutes to soften so that you can roll it out, but don’t let it take too long, or come to room temperature, or the butter fat will start to melt.
7.  Place the dough on a well floured surface and/or parchment paper.  Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness, or your desired thickness for a pie or galette.
7.  Either line a pie pan with it for a traditional pie or quiche, or place on parchment paper in the center of a baking sheet and fill with your desired toppings.  For the strawberry lime filling, see below.  Fold the sides up to form the galette.
8. Brush the sides of the crust with the beaten egg/egg wash, so that the crust bakes bright and golden.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is done and the pie crust is golden brown.

Strawberry Lime Galette or Pie Filling

2 cups of strawberries
1 Lime (a lemon can also be used)
1/4 cup sugar (optional)

Thickly slice strawberries into a bowl.  Zest half a lime on top, then add the juice of half the lime.  Add up to 1/4 cup of sugar.  Chill strawberry lime mixture for approximately an hour (while your crust is also chilling), and fill in the center once your crust is rolled out.



Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Quiche, Or, How to Prepare an Easy Brunch Dish that Masquerades as Posh

Fresh out of the oven, caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche.
Fresh out of the oven, caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche.

I decided to do a rather last minute brunch this past weekend as we had a friend visiting us here in Knoxville from Bolivia.  Knoxville, as I’ve mentioned, is not the most exciting place.  And, like us, our friend is a pescetarian, which means there aren’t a ton of choices for a nice meal out.  And I love making brunch, actually, because I think it’s easier to do a lovely, impressive brunch for a lot of people than it is a dinner party.  It’s cheaper too – a single quiche can feed a party, but salmon for six adds up fast.

In New Orleans I used to hold frequent mimosa laden brunches.  Here in Knoxville we entertain much less, but when I do entertain, I prefer to do it for brunch, though I find it confusing when people don’t go through a whole case of champagne at brunch.  Isn’t that the POINT? 🙂  The brunch was successful, we had a lovely day, but no one drank even a single mimosa.  I’m pregnant, thats my excuse, but it never fails to make me miss The Big Easy!

This past weekend we had quiche, blueberry pancakes with homemade blueberry chia jam and homemade orange scented whipped cream, apple sage veggie sausage, and a side of fruit consisting of grapefruit, blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, and blueberries.  I chose the quiche because the guest of honor does not actually like runny eggs.  I know! The horror!  So while I had planned to make oeuff en cocotte, about which I will soon blog, I changed it up to my favorite quiche.  I find this one to be my most requested, and quite a crowd pleaser.  It’s also easy as pie.  Well, egg pie 🙂

Easy, four ingredient pie crust.
Easy, four ingredient pie crust.

I needed a quick crust for this, though, and I searched on Pinterest for an easy option.  I found one from CincyShopper.com I will definitely make again.  Its not the best I’ve ever had, or even made for that matter, but I think it is easy enough and reliable.  I had crust I was pressing into my pie dish in less than ten minutes, which I’ll count as a win.


For the Quiche:

Six Eggs
1/2 cup of goat cheese
1 1/4 Cups Caramelized Onions (about three medium onions)
1 Cup Half and Half or Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp salt
A dash of pepper
Fresh Dill for Decorating

The harder part is properly caramelizing the onions. Which is actually not at all hard, but time consuming.  I find it takes me about 45 minutes to do them properly.  My husband jokes that we should just make up a batch of these every week because we use them in so many dishes.  Which is a bit decadent.  But hey, I’m going to play the pregnancy card here.  If it doesn’t make me sick to think about it, I’m eating it!

To properly caramelize onions, slice the onions, and place them in a pan, preferably cast iron, and generously salt them.  I use about 1/4 cup of oil.  Toss the onions in the oil.  Cover, and place on lowest heat setting for 20 minutes, stirring maybe once about halfway through.  After twenty minutes, remove cover.  Onions are now caramelized, but bring them to medium heat, and brown to desired color.  You might need a tablespoon more oil for this process, and you might not.  I think that depends on the pan and the heat, and honestly, a little bit on the onions themselves!

Place the onions in the bottom of the pie crust.  I use a generous amount, a little over a cup of onions.

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk six eggs with a half a teaspoon of salt, and the pepper.  Add in 1 cup of half and half, and mix together with the eggs.  Add in half a cup of goat  cheese, and just stir to combine.  I actually prepare this while the onions are on the lowest heat setting, just before they are ready to brown, but quiche is relatively forgiving.  You can wait till your onions are done and slightly cool, even, before you combine everything.

Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the top of the onions, and use a whisk or fork to gently loosen the onions and let the egg mixture flow through.  Place in oven for about 45 minutes at 350.  When quiche is set, remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh dill.  Serve warm, refrigerate, or freeze.

Note: I use a crust shield for the first 30 minutes, because my oven is hot.  I remove the crust shield for the last ten to fifteen minutes.  If you have a better oven than mine, you can probably adjust the temperature up to 375 degrees, and the entire cooking time down to 30-40 minutes.  Lower and slower is what works for my oven though!