Savory sweet potato, turnip and pecan galette with smoked gouda and cranberry sauce

Sweet potato & cranberry galette

During the power outage (is she still going on about that? yes, but I’m almost done) it sometimes seemed to me that Malcolm has enough energy and Isaac is bright enough to light up the whole town. Monday night, the night of the storm, I had the clever idea of having a halloween movie-fest. We’d watched Coraline and were half-way through The Corpse Bride. Poor little Isaac was already hiding in the next room, creeping in to watch half a scene, and racing out again at the extra-spooky parts. And then the house went dark. Inky black dark, with wave upon wave of rain and wind battering the windows. Heh heh! Nothing to worry about here, boys! From that moment on I felt that I had to be brave and make the best of the situation for the boys. Of course I didn’t do such a good job of that, but I tried. Wednesday before the power came on we dropped them at school, and then I came back to the cold, silent house and indulged in a little breakdown. The truth is, the boys didn’t seem to mind the situation all that much. They handled it much better than I did. They were cheerful, especially Malcolm – nothing seemed to phase him. He didn’t mind not going to school and not taking baths, of course. He’s never felt the cold all that much, unless he’s sick. If TV wasn’t an option, he didn’t miss it. He loved making a fire in the backyard and holding bread over it to toast. He liked to play with the candles, which the small drops of wax on every single table in the house will forever remind us. He likes to be with his brother, though he drives him absolutely crazy. He liked to walk all around town, scrounging for interesting things thrown up by the storm. He liked playing games by candlelight. I taught him how to play spit, and he plays it exactly the way you’d expect him too. He’s smart and fast, but he keeps his cards in messy piles, which slows him down. I played blokus with Isaac, and though he’s sweet as sugar and was trying to let me win, he won anyway. Isaac seemed a little more nervous. When I sat in the kitchen playing solitaire, he stood close by me talking and talking, in the way he does when he’s anxious. He sang constantly. He sings his life. He seemed to try to fill up the unusual silence with his voice. When he got sick, his fast-paced nervous ramble accelerated as his fever rose, all through the night. When he finally got to sleep in the morning, Clio, who was ill herself, lay back to back with him, smushed up as close as could be. I took him to the emergency room to get a strep test, because none of the doctors had power in their offices. I was worried we’d have to wait for hours and hours, but I nearly cried with how efficient and nice the nurses and doctors were. I’ve spent a lot of time in waiting rooms with Isaac. It might sound siilly, but it’s an oddly precious time for me. We’re both usually a little tired and worried, and Isaac is so sweet and funny and chatty, and it always feels like a pocket of time separate from the rest of our days, running at its own pace in its own little world. In the emergency room the feeling was intensified, because we were so tired, and we were in a hospital, and all the days had been so strange. I had trouble sleeping at night during the blackout, because it was so completely dark and silent and cold. One night I ran through all of the events of the days in my head, cataloguing and documenting, trying to remember through the fog of my worry. It was a dark, cold week, but all of these moments with my boys glowed and shone.

This is something I had thought about making all through the blackout. The day we got power back, I roasted the sweet potatoes and turnips, warming up our icy kitchen and driving away the cold stale smell. We had (and still have!) tons of sweet potatoes. I thought it would taste nice to combine them with turnips (sweet & sharp) and a layer of cranberry sauce (sweet and tangy). Some lovely melted smoked gouda and crunchy pecans would provide the savory balance of texture and flavor. I thought it was very good. Malcolm, who had been back to school for two days, and was catching up on sleep, was so tired that he burst into tears and said, “I don’t always want pie. Sometimes I want a nice soup!” I didn’t have a full stick of butter left in my empty fridge, so I added some olive oil, and it really resulted in a flaky, crispy crust, so I might try it again! We ate the galette with potatoes roasted with cumin and paprika, which turned out very nice as well.

Here’s Velvet Underground with Beginning to See the Light. We’ve been teaching the boys about VU. And everything felt so upside down we very nearly did have wine in the morning and breakfast at night!


2 cups flour
3/4 stick (6 T) butter, frozen
1/4 cup olive oil
1 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Grate in the butter and mix with a fork till you have a coarse crumb-like texture. Stir in the olive oil. Mix in enough cold water to make a workable dough. Mine was quite wet and soft. Set aside in the fridge in a covered bowl to chill for at least half an hour.


4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice (about 3 cups)
5 smallish turnips, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
olive oil to coat
1 t dried sage, or 5 or 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 t rosemary
pinch nutmeg
1 shallot, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 cup cranberry sauce with whole cranberries – preferably a less-sweet variety
1 cup smoked gouda, grated
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 425

Combine the sweet potatoes and turnips with enough oil to coat. Spread in a thin layer on a large baking sheet, and roast till browned and caramelized, about 40 minutes.

Combine the shallot, garlic, rosemary, sage and a spoonful of olive oil in a small roasting dish. Roast until the shallot and garlic start to brown – 15 to 20 minutes. Take from the oven and set aside.

Mix the sweet potatoes, turnips, shallots, garlic, and pecans. Roll the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick and 12 inches across. Butter and flour a pie plate (or cake pan or baking sheet) Spread the dough over it, letting it hang over the edges. Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce in a 9 inch circle in the middle of the dough. Spread the sweet potato mixture over that. Spread the grated cheese on top. Fold the edges of the dough over, and make into pretty folds, but leave a hole in the middle.

Bake at 425 until the crust is golden and puffy, and the cheese is melted, about half an hour.


Cut 5 or 6 medium-sized potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the potatoes with 1/2 t cumin, 1/2 t smoked paprika, and enough olive oil to cover (a few tablespoonfuls should do it!) Mix with a spatula or your hands, and spread in a single layer. Roast until brown and crispy – around 40 minutes. I like to let them sit in the hot oven after I turn it off, to let them get extra crispy.


2 thoughts on “Savory sweet potato, turnip and pecan galette with smoked gouda and cranberry sauce

  1. we saw Coraline at the cinema, in 3D, the needles were very scary! I’ve spent the day with my younger son as he was sick at school and has to stay off for 48 hours, although I worry about him being ill, it’s been fun to spend time with him.

    • The whole week was like that! It was nice to be together as a family, even though obviously those weren’t the ideal circumstances. I think it’s best when they’re feeling better, but have to stay home one more day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s