One of the first recipes I ever taught myself to cook is one I never make anymore: quiche. With a crust! In a tart pan! As a novice home cook I practiced this recipe for pate brisee pie crust weekly, stuffing my quiche with whatever vegetables remained in my crisper drawer by Sunday morning. The recipe was hearty and versatile, but most importantly – impressive. On a good day, the crust would effortlessly lift from the pan, leaving a confetti of buttery crumbs all the way to my plate.
I remember the quiche fondly and appreciate its introduction to cold-butter-baking, but I’m relieved that it’s been replaced by the simpler, more rustic galette. Suited for all seasons and appetites, this French tart has a golden, flaky crust akin to a croissant, and the ability to handle a heavy swipe of creamy ricotta or goat cheese, and anything else in the world (sweet or savory!) you’d like to put on top. This zucchini galette was my first, but I’ve since made many versions (mushroom and stilton, grilled nectarines and burrata, etc.) The only thing I wouldn’t riff on is the eggy glaze right before baking – it makes the tart glisten.
Slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
For the patee brisee:
1 1/4 cups flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and then put in the freezer to chill again
1/4 cup full fat strained (Greek-style) yogurt or creme fraiche
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of ice water
For the filling:
2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch round (I used a mandoline for this)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fruity olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella, crumbled or grated
A few basil leaves
1 large egg
1. Make your patee brisee: Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fit with the standard blade, and pulse once or twice to mix. Sprinkle cubes of butter over the flour mixture, and pulse a few more times until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the smallest piece no larger than a pea. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the yogurt with the lemon and ice water. Slowly drizzle this into the processor with the machine running. Stop as soon as lumps form, dump the dough onto a floured surface and gently pat the lumps into a ball. Do not overwork the dough, or it will become tough. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or up to one day.
2. Prepare your filling: Spread your zucchini rounds upon a few sheets of paper towels, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and set aside. After 30 minutes, blot the zucchini rounds dry.
3. Bake the galette: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round. Transfer the dough to the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread the cheese mixture, leaving two inches all the way around. Shingle the zucchini decoratively atop the cheese filling. Drizzle the remaining garlicky olive oil over the tart. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edges rustically to make everything fit. The center will be open. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water in a bowl, and brush the egg wash over the edges of the galette.
4. Finish the galette: Bake the galette until the zucchini wilts and the crust is golden and shiny, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Roughly tear the basil leaves over the galette, and slice in the wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Though, I’ve been known to eat this for lunch and have heard nary a complaint.
Photos by Nicholas Maher