As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.