Archive for the 'pies and tarts' Category

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Arugula Date Salad

February 27, 2012

Am I really about to post a recipe of an apparently very common pizza combination and a salad?   Yup, sure am.  Because, at times like these, tasty recipes trump any recipe that may seem ordinary.  Alas, this is pretty tasty.

It’s so good, in fact, that we made this 4 times last week.  Not once, with some leftovers.  From scratch, four different times.  And I could even have some right now.  Seriously, I have nothing more to say.  Mm!

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Arugula Date Salad

Of course I know that you can make a perfectly adequate salad!  Seriously, I do.  I won’t even insult you by writing the salad recipe here, as the title suggests.  I will maybe just nudge you to make a salad of arugula, chopped fresh dates, and shavings of the best parmesan with a balsamic vinaigrette (perhaps consisting of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper).  And then maybe suggest that you eat this served directly on your pizza.  See!  Salad makers, I have such faith in you.

1/2 pizza dough recipe, or store-bought pizza dough

3 onions, sliced thinly

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 pears, sliced thinly (toss in lemon juice to prevent from browning)

4 oz. mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola

honey or agave nectar, to drizzle

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a pan.  Add onions, salt them, and sautee, stirring often, over medium heat until browned and caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll out pizza dough as thin as possible, about 1/8 inch.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Spread cooled onions all over the dough, up to the edges.  Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top.  Layer the pears evenly over the mozzarella cheese.  Salt and pepper pears, to taste.  Sprinkle the gorgonzola evenly over the pears.  Lightly drizzle top of the pizza with agave or honey.

Bake pizza for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges are browned and crisp.  Slice and serve with arugula date salad.

Chocolate Cream Pie

December 29, 2011

I had these big plans to try to convince you why chocolate cream pie is the perfect dessert for the new year.  I was going to tell you about how it represents new things; how it’s a good dessert to bring to a new year party; I was even going to try to say that you should have this one last indulgence before new year resolutions begin.  Are you convinced?  Sigh, neither am I.

Make this pie because it’s delicious!  It’s chocolate and whipped cream piled into a sweet crust!  It’s this totally old school, comforting dessert, but all fancied up with high quality chocolate that is barely sweet and so grown-up tasting.  People!  You don’t need another reason.

But if you do need another reason, I say pretend.  Pretend that it represents the new year, pretend that you have a party to take this to, have this one last indulgence before resolutions begin, and just make it this weekend.  And then try to think of why you would ever need a reason to make this.  Really.  Try.

Chocolate Cream Pie (recipe from Flour)

This recipe is actually relatively simple to put together, but does use several plates and bowls to get to the finished product.  So prepare yourselves.  But have I mentioned that it’s worth it?  Which you really shouldn’t be surprised about because, let’s be honest, this cookbook never fails.

For crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup all purpose flour

1 egg yolk

Cream together the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the flour and beat on low for 30 seconds.  Add the egg yolk and continue to beat for an additional 30 seconds, or until dough comes together.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Remove dough from the fridge and let soften for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle flour on the dough, and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  It should be about 10 to 11 inches in diameter.  Carefully lift and place the dough in a pie plate.  Cut off any excess pieces.

Place the prepared pie shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.  As soon as it comes out of the oven, place 1 ounce of bittersweet chocolate (ingredients listed below) onto the crust.  Place the pie shell back in the oven for about 1 minute, until the chocolate has melted.  Spread the chocolate all over the crust to form an even layer of chocolate.  Let cool completely.

For pie filling:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided

3/4 cup half and half

2 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

slab of milk chocolate, for decorating

In a pot, combine half and half and 1 cup of the cream and heat over medium high heat until bubbles form on the side.  Make sure that the liquid does not boil.  Meanwhile, melt the remaining 5 oz. chocolate in a double boiler until it has melted.  Take off the heat.  Pour the cream mixture over the melted chocolate and whisk to incorporate.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.  Slowly incorporate the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, a little at a time, making sure that eggs will not cook.  Return the entire mixture to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 6-7 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Strain through a sieve.  Stir in vanilla and salt.  Pour the filling into the shell and refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream with powdered sugar and cornstarch.  Whip until stiff peaks form.  Pour onto the chocolate pie and spread to the edges of the pie.  Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate on top of the whipped cream.

Date Butter Tart

December 15, 2011

I know.  The amount of tart recipes that I post on this blog is pretty much uncanny.  Tart this, and tart that, sweet and savory.  All I post is tarts!  I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: I don’t own a pie pan.  But I do own a big tart pan and six cute little mini tart pans.  It’s inevitable.  Alas, another tart. Here we go.

But this is kind of a fake tart.  I mean, sure, you have to make a crust and roll it out and go through all of the hassle of any other tart, but these are pretty incredible because when it bakes up, the crust and the filling all kind of meld together into this warm sugar cookie tasting concoction that, quite frankly, was unlike anything I have ever tasted before, but could not stop eating.  Which is precisely the reason why I do not have a picture of an actual piece of this tart – it was eaten too quickly.  Gobbled, in fact.  And I made them for Thanksgiving!  Ha, funny.

All I could think of were the other amazing add-ins that these tarts could have.  Nuts or other fruits or pieces of chocolate!  But the dates in this tart were so complimentary to the filling that I’m quite satisfied with exactly how it is.  I tell you, this tart is so good that you’ll want to make tarts all the time!  Clearly, like I do.

Date Butter Tart (from Sunday Suppers at Lucques via The New York Times)

Though normally I think that vanilla extract is a fine substitute for vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste, I think that this for this tart in particular, the beans are worth it.  The vanilla is such an integral part of the flavor of the tart and extract will simply not give you the the same depth.  If you are like me and are just worried that you will not know how to store vanilla beans and all of your money will go to waste, just get vanilla bean paste.  It can exactly replace vanilla extract in any recipe, and has a long shelf life.  But if, after all of this, you still just want to use the vanilla extract that you already have, I have given you instructions below.

For the pastry crust:

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 egg yolk

1¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter.

For the filling:

about 30-35 dates, (not dried – I used Medjool dates)

½ vanilla bean, or 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

9 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 eggs

2⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Make the crust: Whisk the cream and egg yolk together in a small bowl. By hand, or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter until you have a coarse meal.  Gradually add the cream and yolk and mix until just combined.  Do not overwork the dough. Transfer to a large work surface and bring it together with your hands to incorporate completely. Shape it into a 1-inch disc and put in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up a little.  Place it on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle a little flour over the dough and roll it out into a ¼-inch-thick circle, flouring as necessary. Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. (Or arrange the smaller tart pans in a circle and place the dough on top of all of them to gently mold.)  Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. To remove the excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the tart pan for a nice, clean edge. Chill for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and line the tart shell with a few coffee filters opened out, or with a piece of parchment paper. Fill the lined tart shell with dried beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart out of the oven and gently lift out the paper and beans. Return to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool completely.

3. Make a vertical slit in each date and carefully remove the pit. Use your fingers to press the dates back into their natural shape. Place the dates, slit side down, in concentric circles in the tart shell, leaving ½ inch between each date.

4. If using a vanilla bean, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter.  If not, add the vanilla bean paste to the butter.  If using vanilla extract, skip this step, and heat the butter without any flavorings.  Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the vanilla-streaked butter and the vanilla pod to the pan and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the butter browns and smells nutty. Discard the vanilla pod.   If using vanilla extract, add it to the melted browned butter.

5. Whisk the eggs and ⅔ cup sugar together in a bowl. Whisk in the flour and salt and stir in the warm butter to incorporate.

6. Pour the batter over the dates in the tart shell. Sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake 30 minutes, until the filling puffs up, browns and is set. Cool the tart at least 20 minutes before serving. 

French Apple Tart

November 22, 2011

This tart is basically the perfect last minute Thanksgiving dessert.  It’s perfect because it basically takes seconds to make (okay, about 30 minutes, if you make your own pie crust – which I will encourage!  It’s Thanksgiving, after all).  It’s super pretty – it looks like it came directly from a bakery.  And it has “French” in the name!  There literally is nothing else in a dessert that will impress a crowd.

But oh man, the flavor is what will impress the most!  This is an apple pastry in all that a pastry should be.  It has all of its ingredients highlighted in their purest form: apple, butter, sugar, so you can be sure to really taste all of them.  This is a true apple dessert.

I mean, let’s talk about this.  I’m not gonna lie.  I am a cinnamon fiend.  I will sprinkle cinnamon on just about everything, and to me, an apple pie isn’t real until it gets some spices to really dress the apples.  But no, this was apple at its best, and if I dare say it, my favorite apple dessert to date.  Make it.  Today, actually, because you don’t have much time left until Thursday!  Your guests will love you.

French Apple Tart (ever so slightly adapted from Saveur)

A couple notes: I had a 9 inch tart pan, so I made a big tart and a mini tart out of this.  But, how about not making a tart at all?!  I think that you could easily make this into a galette.  Also, the original recipe called for 7 apples.  I definitely did not need all 7, but make sure that you use the 4 listed.

Pie Dough

1 1/4 cup flour

12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cubed, divided

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp., divided

3 tbsp. ice water

4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup apricot jam

Whiz flour, 8 tbsp. butter, salt, and 1 tbsp. sugar in a food processor until it’s crumbly like cornmeal.  Add the iced water and process until the dough forms into a ball.  Take out of food processor and wrap in plastic wrap for about an hour.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 13 inch circle.  It will be thin.  Transfer to an 11 inch tart pan.  Trim the edges and chill for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Tightly layer the apple slices to form any design you want.  Make it tight enough so you use all of the apples.  Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup sugar and dot with the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter.

Bake for about 60 minutes, or until the apples and the crust has turned a deep golden brown.

Warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan over low heat, until it is loose.  Pour through a strainer.  After the apple tart has cooled for about 10 minutes, brush the warmed jam on top of the apples as a glaze.  Let cool completely before slicing.

Peanut Butter Froyo Pie

September 1, 2011

I’ve loved froyo forever.  Long before it was the trendiest treat in town.  I loved it before the tangy’s and the sweet’s.  Before the pink’s and the berry’s.  I even loved it when it was still called frozen yogurt.  I’m not going to lie – I claim froyo to be mine.

Needless to say, there have been a countless number of times when I have tried to make froyo at home.  And alas, there have been a subsequent countless number of failures.  Turns out that froyo is not the easiest thing to make.  I’ve tried to freeze yogurt that I’ve bought.  I’ve tried to make my own yogurt (not so smart).  I even bought a machine that’s specifically for making froyo.  Nothing worked.

And then I realized that froyo is just a lighter version of ice cream!  So, of course, there has to be churning involved!  Or, in this case, blending.  This is by far the easiest recipe of frozen yogurt that I’ve come across, and also the tastiest.  I poured mine into a pie shell to have one last summer-hurrah frozen dessert.  But I’m thinking that this would be quite comforting in the cold weather as well.  And if you make this enough, I’ll even let you claim froyo for yourself.  You’re welcome.

Peanut Butter Froyo Pie (adapted from Serious Eats)

2 cups low fat or fat free vanilla yogurt

1 1/4 cup natural peanut butter

1 cup milk

1/4 cup agave nectar or honey

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips + more for sprinkling

1 store-bought chocolate pie crust

Blend together yogurt, peanut butter, milk and agave until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.  Let chill and firm up in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.  Mix in the mini chocolate chips, and pour mixture into the ready pie crust.  Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top.  Place into the freezer until firm, about 2 hours.

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream Tart

August 4, 2011

Things I learned this week: 1. Avoid making cupcakes for a barbecue during a nation-wide heat wave.  The frosting will surely melt, resulting in near-disaster.  2. Homemade ricotta is tasty on just about everything.  If you spread it on a different thing every night, you will have dinner for a week.  3. Corn and berries make a brilliant flavor pairing.  No joke.

Allow me to elaborate on point number 3 specifically.  Now we all know that corn is used in desserts often: corn pudding, and sweet cornbread, and even just plain sweet corn ice cream.  It actually seems pretty probable to use corn in desserts – it has a natural sweetness that works easily with sugar.  And it also adds a delectable smoky flavor.  Mmm.

But with berries!  That’s the unexpected kicker that works so well with this sweet, sweet grain.  It’s not so intuitive until you actually think about it: berries are sour, corn is sweet – sweet and sour is an age-long flavor combination, and ta da!  Everything makes sense.  The two are actually so lovely together that I may have corn on the cob with a side of raspberries at the next barbecue.  Or maybe not, but that’s not the point.  The point is that this ice cream works and it’s totally delicious.  You should give it a whirl…or a churn!  Ha.

And you can!  Another interesting point that I didn’t learn this week but I will share with you anyway!: I made this ice cream without an ice cream maker.  It’s a tad time consuming, but not particularly difficult.  Just follow the instructions found here.

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream Tart (adapted from New York Times)

A couple more things: I made some extra graham cracker tart shells after making a key lime pie last week, so I filled the ice cream in there.  Delicious, and super easy to serve, but obviously not necessary.  I’m adding the directions below if you choose to make it.  Also, you can swirl the berry sauce into the ice cream while it’s freezing, as indicated below, or you can always just serve it on top of the scoops.  Different methods, same delicious taste.  A final note: I thought that an extra boost of corn flavor would be necessary, so I added some leftover corn kernels into the ice cream.  First of all, that was not true because the ice cream had tons of corn flavor.  But second of all, and more importantly, the corn added a not-so-pleasant crunch.  Bottom line: don’t do it.

Graham Cracker Crust

7-8 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs

1/2 stick butter, melted

2 tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together all of the ingredients until well incorporated.  Press on the bottom and up the sides of either 4 mini tart pans, or 1 9 inch tart pan until it the crust is spread evenly.  Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool completely.

Ice Cream

2 cups + 2 tbsp. whole milk

4 tsp. cornstarch

3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stalk of fresh corn, husked

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

scant 2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp. honey

In a small bowl, mix together corn starch and 2 tbsp. milk until well incorporated.  Set aside.  In another small bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt.  Set aside.

Prepare an ice bath – fill a large bowl half way with ice.  Have a smaller bowl ready with a strainer.

Slice the kernels from the cob, making sure that all of the juice is also extracted from the cob.  In a large pot, combine the 2 cups of milk, heavy cream, corn kernels and the cob, sugar and honey over medium high heat.  Allow it to come up to a boil and let it boil for 5 minutes.  Discard the cob and strain the mixture into the prepared bowl, making sure that you press down on the corn to extract the flavor and juices.

Pour the mixture back into the pot.  Over medium high heat, slowly whisk in the corn starch mixture until it is full incorporated.  Allow it to come to a boil and let boil for 1 minute.  Turn the heat off and whisk in the cream cheese mixture until fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture back into bowl and let it sit on top of the ice in the ice bath.  Stir occasionally until the mixture has become cold – about 45 minutes.  Follow the instructions in the link above to make the ice cream without an ice cream machine.  If you have a machine, follow the instructions to churn into ice cream.

Berry Swirl

1 cup blackberries

1 cup raspberries

scant 1/2 cup sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Combine everything in a small pot.  Stirring occasionally, boil for about 7-8 minutes.  Strain into a bowl, pressing the berries to extract the flavor and juice.  Refrigerate until cold.

To make tarts: Place a spoon full of berry sauce on the bottom of a tart shell, until the bottom is completely covered.  Spread the ice cream on top, and fill to the top of the tart shell.  Spoon some more berry sauce directly into the center of the tart, on top of the ice cream.  Using a butter knife, swirl the berry sauce into the ice cream.  Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

To make a berry swirl, pack the ice cream into quart size containers.  Layer into container, alternating between ice cream and berry sauce.  Freeze until firm.

Blueberry Brown Betty

July 21, 2011

If I happened to be savvy with my words, I wouldn’t call one of these desserts a Blueberry Brown Betty, but rather an Easy-Peesy Blueberry Mini Openfaced Pie-Tart.  Yes, well, alas, Betties, they are.

But they really are insanely easy!  And almost completely unexpectedly easy.  Which is just so much better than knowing how easy these are going to be before you go into it.  So, here we are and I’m sorry to have burst your bubble.

But try these, with any fruit you want.  Because besides the fruit, you may already have all of the ingredients in your household.  Because, if I haven’t already mentioned it, these babies are easy to make.  And they are just so tasty.  Right out of the oven, and a couple hours later at room temperature, and toasted the next day.  These mini pies are tart from the fruit with a delicately sweetened filing, and they showcase just how awesome summer (and its produce!) is.  Delicious.

And the last best thing about this (besides the ease and the taste, of course), is when you serve it to your friends and they comment on how yummy and unique the “crust” is.  That’s when you silently laugh inside and think about how you just rolled out white sandwich bread as the crust, and your friends just don’t have a clue.  Trust me, that’s the last best thing.  You will see.

Blueberry Brown Betty (adapted from here)

1 stick unsalted butter

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

9 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup panko

2 cups blueberries

powdered sugar, for serving

Brown the butter: Place the stick of butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Keeping an eye on it, watch as the butter melts, foams, clears and then begins to brown and smell almost nutty.  It will take about 5-7 minutes.  Take off heat.

Make filling: Mix together the panko, salt, lemon zest, and brown sugar.  Add blueberries and toss to coat.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.  Using a brush, butter 9 muffin cups of a muffin tin.

Roll out each piece of bread until completely flat.  Brush each side of bread with browned butter and sprinkle each side with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Gently fit it into the muffin tin.  Repeat with the remaining slices of bread.

Pour the remaining butter into the blueberry mixture.  Stir to combine.

Evenly distribute filling into each of the bread cups.  Cover pan with aluminum foil.  Bake for 20 minutes with the foil on.  Take foil off and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Let sit in pan for about 10 minutes before unmolding.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tomato Pesto Crostada

June 29, 2011

Tomatoes! Basil! Corn(meal)!  We can’t get more summer than this, people!  This, my friends, is summer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  It’s nothing less than a splendidly delightful summer tart.  And you already know how much I love my tarts.

Turns out that I also love summer.  So go to the market and get fresh tomatoes and basil and corn(meal)!  And enjoy this outside!  With a cold beverage.  As I’m doing right now.  (Instead of writing a better post, and filling it with pictures instead, making you think that it is actually a long post).  Long live the warm weather.

Tomato Pesto Crostada (adapted from Always With Butter)

For Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

½ cup cornmeal

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

½ cup greek yogurt

¼ cup oil

Stir together flours, sugar and salt.  Mix in the yogurt and oil until well combined.  If still crumbly, and not coming together, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together.  Form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let chill for 1 hour.

For Filling:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

¼ cup fresh prepared basil pesto

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. tomato paste

pinch oregano

pinch red pepper flakes

1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk

Pierce all the tomatoes with a fork.  Mix together pesto, olive oil and garlic until well combined.  Add tomatoes and toss.  Salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out crust until 12-14 inches in diameter.  Move the dough to the parchment paper.  Spread the tomato paste in a circle in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pinch of oregano and pinch of red pepper flakes.  Mound the tomato/pesto mixture onto the tomato paste.  Spread grated parmesan cheese on top.  Fold the border over the filling.  Brush the egg mixture over the folded crust.  Bake until the crust is nicely browned, 30-40 minutes.

Zucchini Ricotta Galette

May 19, 2011

I’m not the biggest fan of zucchini.  It’s so overused in the vegetarian options at restaurants.  It always a let-down, whether it’s steamed, sauteed, fried, an entree, or a side dish (and it’s been cooked as all of them in the past).  It’s disappointing, not exciting, never seasoned well, and frankly, quite boring.

So the surplus of the zucchini and summer squash in the recently reopened farmers markets does not entice me.  But what does entice me??  This recipe for a ricotta zucchini tart!  Not so much the zucchini part, obviously, but definitely the ricotta.  And the mozzarella, and the parmesan and the garlic oil.  Mmm.

I’m happy to report that due in part to my laziness in not wanting to be creative, and in part to my grocery store not having nice looking eggplants, I begrudgingly used zucchini and loved it.  It’s the simplicity (or, blandness, let’s not kid ourselves) of the zucchini that I despise so much that works beautifully with all of the other components.  No, really.  I’m sure that other vegetables would work, but it’s the balance of the cheese to the vegetables that is key here.  Delish.  Zucchini and summer squash, I’m coming back for you.  For this tart only.

Zucchini Ricotta Galette (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Crust

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup oil

Mix all of the ingredients together.  Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Flatten out to form a disc.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Filling

2 zucchinis, or summer squash, sliced in 1/4 inch thickness

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup parmesan, shredded

2 garlic cloves, minced

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Spread the zucchini on a double layer of paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt.  Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then gently blot the zucchini dry.  While waiting for the zucchini, mix together the minced garlic with the olive oil and set aside.  Mix together ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Add a teaspoon of the garlic oil and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out the refrigerated dough to a 12 inch round.  Place onto the baking sheet.  Spread the cheese/garlic mixture onto the dough, leaving a two inch border.  Lay the zucchini on the ricotta filling.  Drizzle the remaining garlic oil on top of the zucchini.  Fold over the border over the filling, pleating and pressing to make it secure.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbly.  Take it out of the oven and sprinkle basil leaves on top.  Let the tart sit for 5 minutes and then slice.

Caramelized Onion, Tomato, Basil, and Goat Cheese Quiche

October 22, 2010

Does it feel like Fall to all of you?  Yes, there are the pumpkin patches inviting everyone to make jack-o-lanterns.  And yes, pie recipes are featured in every cooking magazine.  And sure, you can feel the holiday season approaching.  But where I am, it’s 75 degrees.  The leaves are, well, green.  And wearing boots makes me feel a bit overheated.

I need the fall weather!  I need the crisp air and the chilly mornings and the smell of snow approaching.  I need that!  Mostly to justify making comforting fall foods.  Soup is calling my name!  I’ve had chili ingredients for a couple of weeks.  Sweet potatoes must be roasted.

So I did what anyone would do in this situation.  I pretended.  I turned on the AC and made what I believe is one of the coziest foods of the season: quiche.  Okay, arguably, quiche is summer food.  But let’s discuss.  A cheesy, savory, egg-based cream custard baked at high temperatures that you eat while still piping hot!  How can this be summer food??  Sure, it can use fresh herbs and vegetables that may only be available in the summer time, but quiche is cold-weather food at heart.  Believe it.

With this said, I used fresh basil and tomatoes in my quiche.  But, I had an excuse: I had a lovely gift of a a mixed herb bouquet with extremely fresh green and opal basil, so I had to use one of the greatest flavor combinations in history: tomato, basil, and goat cheese.  I am predicting that the thermostat will inspire more fall-like foods…and hoping that the outside temperatures will soon catch up.

Caramelized Onion, Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche (adapted from every tomato-basil-goat cheese recipe that I’ve found)

This quiche is infinitely adaptable to anything that is readily available.  I used a store-bought crust for an extremely quick meal, but the crust used in the fig galette would be quite scrumptious with this filling.  Just press into a tart pan and omit the sugar.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

1 tbsp. olive oil

4-5 basil leaves, sliced thinly

1 tomato, sliced

4 ounces herbed or plain goat cheese, crumbled

6 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup 2% milk

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

1 nine inch store bought or homemade crust

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a pan over medium-low heat and add olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add onions and slowly saute them until caramelized and light brown in color, about 20 minutes.  Add salt, to taste, and set aside.

2. Spread the onions onto the bottom of the crust.  Sprinkle basil leaves and goat cheese evenly over onions.  Arrange sliced tomatoes on top of the filling.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cream and milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Carefully pour the egg mixture into crust. Sprinkle parmesan on top of the egg mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Turn the oven up to 425.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the filling is set and browned on top.  Let rest and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.