If you love French Onion Soup, then this rustic French Onion Galette is for you; caramelized onions with Gruyere cheese and thyme on a flaky crust. Très délicieux.
The term galette has a loose definition that is tied to the French word galet, meaning a smooth, flat pebble. A reach into history and many consider that the very earliest breads were indeed galettes—simple, unleavened breads made by smearing thick cereal paste on hot stones. An early tradition that has been much improved with a dish like this French Onion Galette.
By definition a galette is any flat, round pastry or cake-like creation. Although this can include round, shortbread-like butter cookies, thin buckwheat crêpes or something as simple as potato cakes; that is not what I typically think of when I consider making a galette.
For me a galette is much like a tart but has a very free-form crust. It is a pastry dough used more like a pizza and typically the sides are rolled back up over the filling to constitute a crust of sorts. While the edges can remain flat, I don’t do that because I want to contain any juices that might flow from whatever I’m putting into the galette.
Italian cooks use the term crostata in place of galette but the only crostata I’ve made has more of a shortbread crust. This Cherry Ricotta Crostata would be perfect this time of year with fresh cherries so plentiful in the market; you must try it too!
Galettes can be either sweet or savory…whatever you can put into a pie…you can probably put the same into a galette.
One of the beauties of this rustic French Onion Galette is how easy the crust is…there is no crimping. While I long ago mastered the technique I use, I would literally have to show you you how I crimp, but I do think it’s easy. Still, for many that dexterity is harder and galette to the rescue…it’s look great too, doesn’t it? Win-win!
The idea to make this dish was pretty simple…I am in a Facebook group that discusses trends in food and food history and well, lots of food culture. Someone posted about this French Onion Galette from The Kitchn not too long ago and I had recently made a big batch of Instant Pot Caramelized Onions so I was on it within minutes.
The recipe included in this post includes directions for stovetop cooking of your onions but if you want to jumpstart them, try making them first in your pressure cooker and then following the rest of the steps according to the recipe that follows at the bottom of the page.
While I will often use less expensive Swiss cheese when I make French Onion Soup, I luckily happened to actually have Gruyere in my fridge and it does add something extra delicious and nutty. Still, by all means use Swiss too if that’s what you prefer or have on hand; it will be great in a French Onion Galette.
True confession? I’ve made this a couple of times and while I seriously love a ‘from scratch’ dough, I don’t always use them. I’m sure the pie dough police would have my head but I like blending a bit of convenience with something homemade so I always keep a package of Pillsbury’s Pie dough discs in my fridge.
You simple let one thaw and the next step is…well, there is no next step, you’re ready to go. They are a great time saver for busy families and I promise no one has ever returned a pie, a quiche, or a galette slice that I’ve served that uses one. Give yourself a break today, buy a couple!
The one thing I did though when I used a purchased crust for this French Onion Galette was to sprinkle it with black pepper to simulate the recipe for the dough from scratch; that black pepper with the onions and Gruyere is a very good thing.
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French Onion Galette
is for you; caramelized onions with Gruyere cheese and thyme on a flaky crust.
For the crust
- 8 tablespoons butter 1 stick, cold
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling and Assembly
- 3 pounds yellow onions about 3 large or 6 medium
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons balsamic or sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Make the Crust
- Freeze 1 stick cold unsalted butter until firm, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt together in a large bowl.
- Place a box grater over a small piece of parchment paper, cutting board, or large plate. Grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater. When you get down to a small nub of butter, chop that nub into 5 to 6 small pieces. Reserve the grater (no need to clean).
- Transfer the butter to the dry ingredients and reserve the parchment paper. Use your fingers to toss the butter in the flour, breaking up any clumps, until evenly coated.
- Drizzle 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoon ice water over the butter-flour mixture. Use a fork or your hands to combine and lightly mix until a rough dough ball forms; do not overwork the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Use the palm of your hand to quickly gather and press the mound into a thick disk. Wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling, at least 1 hour.
Make the Filling
- Halve and thinly slice 3 pounds yellow onions (about 11 cups). Strip the leaves from 10 fresh thyme sprigs.
- Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 12-inch or larger, preferably high-sided, skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, half of the thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and reducing the heat if the onions start to burn, until the onions have reduced by over half, are very soft, and deep golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grate 6 ounces Gruyère cheese on the large holes of the box grater onto the reserved parchment paper (about 1 1/2 cups).
- Pour 1/4 cup dry white wine over the caramelized onions. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and continue to stir until the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons balsamic or sherry vinegar.
Assemble and Bake the Galette
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper about the size of a baking sheet. Lightly dust the parchment with all-purpose flour.
- Unwrap the dough and place it on the prepared parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and, using a rolling pin, roll it out into a round about 12 inches wide. Carefully transfer the parchment paper, with the rolled-out dough on it, onto a baking sheet.
- Spread 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard evenly onto the dough with the back of a spoon or a butter knife, leaving a 1 1/2- to 2-inch border. Sprinkle half of the cheese onto the mustard. Spoon the caramelized onions onto the cheese.
- Gently fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pleating it about every 2 inches. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. (Don’t worry if some of the cheese gets on the crust — it will just result in some nice, golden-brown crispy bits like French onion soup!)
- Bake until the crust is firm and golden-brown, and the cheese is melted and browned in spots, about 35 minutes.
- Let the galette cool for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with the remaining thyme leaves and serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.