food with friends

I am back to posting on Circus Berry, again, and excited to share a whole new world of craziness with you.  Starting  Of course.

Every month, a group of lovely ladies I went to college with and I get together for dinner and drinks.  This month's regular dinner/gathering happened in my new home.  I was thrilled to have everyone see the new house, have a couple of laughs, and to indulge a bit.  Among the dips, spreads, breads, sushi, and champagne, there was my feature for the evening:

Butternut Squash, Leek, and Gruyere Galette

Inspired by a galette I made a couple of years ago and one posted on Three Clever Sisters, it turned out wonderfully.  I love squash.  LOVE squash.  I also love the sweetness of sautéd leeks.  And cheese.  LOVE cheese.  My house smelled like heaven (in the form of pastry and fresh herbs, of course).  The tricky part was the crust.  I do not do well with crusts, unless it is of the pizza or graham cracker persuasion.  I will work on that.  

To top it off, we had some yummy treats.   I mean, how do you have friends and food without dessert...chocolate dessert at that?  My answer is, you don't.  At least you shouldn't.  I am an advocate for dessert.  Anyone else with me on that?  

I purchased some brownies (Mokka, Razz-a-ma-tazz, and Turtle) and icebox cookies from Ohlson's in Clarence, NY.  

The brownies were nothing short of amazing...chocolatey, chewy, and great the following day.  The cookies were perfectly sized little bites of joy...yes, joy.  Great texture, not to sweet, would kick butt with a cup of tea, and also good the day after.  The local bakery and cafe also features anything else your baked-good-craving little heart could desire.  Cupcakes (that were HUGE), more gourmet brownies, cakes (including wedding cakes), pastry, load of cookies, local faves, and ethnic offerings.  I have had their Kringles before--someone brought it to work or something like that--delicious.  I myself had never actually purchased anything from them before.  Can't say that anymore.  I will surely go back.  Probably for coffee and pastry.

And now the recipe.  Try it.  Enjoy it.  We did!

Butternut Squash, Leek, and Gruyere Galette 
adapted from Three Clever Sisters

1¼ cups all-purpose flour1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

1-2 pound or medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/4" pieces (about 4 cups)    
    *I used 2 small squashes and saved the remaining slices for a different recipe
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
½cup shredded gruyere1 egg white, beaten with a fork

Cut flour, butter, sage, and sea salt together with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with a few small (pea-sized) clumps of butter.  Work in ice water with your hands, starting with 4 tablespoons and adding more as needed, until the dough just forms a ball.  Gently press dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm.

Preheat oven to 475°F.Toss squash with sea salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and arrange in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan.  Roast, stirring once through roasting, until the squash is tender and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

While the squash is roasting, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.  Sauté garlic, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add sliced leeks to pan and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Add nutmeg and allspice and stir until coated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and allow to cool.    Gently stir the squash into the leek mixture.  

Lightly flour a surface, place the dough on top, and flour the top of the dough lightly.  Roll the dough into a 13-inch round and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Arrange squash filling in the center of dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border around the outside. Sprinkle evenly with gruyere.  Fold dough in on itself to cover the outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary.  Brush pastry with beaten egg white.  Bake until crust is golden on edges and cheese is melted, 35 to 45 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.  Slice and serve.