Galettes: My sister Lea’s are the best
Even my mother agrees! And that is saying a lot.
Galettes are a staple at my house in Morocco, and still are at my mother’s house, where all children clamor for them, calling them Maman Biscuit (they lump all her baked goods into this one generic word: biscuit), submitting to the touching drama that precedes the offering and rushing into her outstretched arms to receive it. They are intensely flavored and crunchy, and have a low sugar and fat content:
Galettes are as close to food as to dessert.
I make them with spelt flour and unrefined sugar (evaporated cane juice, available in health food stores, and increasingly available in supermarkets), and often call them lunch. My sister Lea just sent me a batch of hers, made with spelt: Delicious! She said she makes sure she never runs out of them. On her recommendation, I have been sneaking a cup of flax meal into the dough.
On your next visit to bakeries or the shuk in Israel, bakeries in Paris or Montreal, pick up a few perfect galettes, the quintessential Sephardi treat.
Anise: An acquired taste
The reticence is felt only in America. How much proselytizing would it take to make Americans love anise, as we do? Growing up in Morocco, we put in in bread, in cookies, in drinks, in candy and caramels, you name it. Indian restaurants offer anise seeds with a little sugar by the teaspoon, as a digestive to help put out the fire of curries and chutneys.
We ignored all new drink concoctions, and instead put a few drops of licorice (call Antesite) for a wonderfully refreshing, and totally calorie-free drink. Anyone coming from France or Morocco or Israel, I beg them to PLEASE bring me a little bottle of Antesite. Why is it so hard to get in the US? I’ll bet if enough of us do a little research about it we can have it available: It is very inexpensive and delicious, like move-over-diet-soda-vitamin-water: How can you go wrong?
- 7 cups flour, all purpose, ww pastry or spelt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups sesame seeds
- ½ cup anise seeds
- 1 cup sugar
- Optional: 1 cup flax meal
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the first set of ingredients in a bowl. Mix the second of ingredients in another bowl. Combine both mixtures thoroughly. Knead the dough on a countertop just a few minutes, until it feels smooth and elastic.
Roll out part of the mixture on a very lightly floured board, about 1/4 inch thick, an even thickness. It is important that all galettes be an even thickness, or you will make the baking part a real drag. Cut out in squares or any shapes you like. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Prick each galette all over with a fork: do not neglect this step or they won't look like galettes, and they won't be crunchy. Bake 15 minutes, or a few minutes longer, until golden brown and very crisp. store at room temperature in air-tight tins.