Linda’s Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
Today I’m posting a recipe for a Zucchini and Ricotta Galette. For over a year the inspiration recipe has been either posted on my kitchen cabinet door or in a stack of “must try” recipes in the kitchen. While I’ve had the ingredients more than once, I wanted to make it while my vegetarian daughter was here. Finally, all the stars aligned and I made it on July 4th this year. And it was a hit!!
The Inspiration Recipe
The recipe that I had printed was from a blogger I had never heard of before. While that doesn’t bother me, I’m not naming her because the recipe was unclear and I don’t want to detract from her. Because I am an experienced cook, I was able to muddle through. But when my daughter asked for the recipe, I decided to go to her blog and look at her pre-recipe writings to get clarification. It was there that I learned that the recipe was actually from The Smitten Kitchen. That name I know!
While the recipe from the Smitten Kitchen was clearer, I had already put my spin on it. I typed it for my daughter the way we had done it. And because She is who she is, she’s going to make some changes too. She wants more Zucchini and I wanted more cheese. Go figure.
What Is A Galette?
Galette Des Rois
The French created the Galette years ago. They called it Galette Des Rois. Traditionally, it was puff pastry filled a creamy almond custard filling with a charm hidden inside. It was usually made at Epiphany. It looked like this:
The modern galettes can be sweet or savory and the pastry is made from any form of dough: puff pastry, pie dough, shortcrust dough, and bread dough. The filling is placed on top and the dough is pulled toward the center leaving the center exposed. Some people call them a “rustic pie.”
The Sweet Galette
A sweet version can be filled with your favorite fruit filling: apple, cherry, blueberry, peach, anything that holds its shape well enough to be in a flat free-form crust. They can be pie sized or single-serving sized, like this one.
The Savory Galette
Apparently, vegetarians decided that the free-form rustic pie could easily be transformed into a savory pie. And the rest is history. We now have all sorts of savory galette recipes to choose from. Today’s recipe is a Savory Galette.
Making It Your Own
Once you get the hang of making a galette, you’ll be thinking of all sorts of ways to make them. I encourage you to be creative. Just remember that the ingredients need to be firm enough that they won’t run out before they set up in the oven. I actually love the crust that The Smitten Kitchen created. It’s buttery, it’s sturdy enough to stand up to the filling but still tender. When making a sweet filling, your favorite pie dough or puff pastry will also work, just make sure they aren’t rolled out too thin. Once you make this one, you’ll have an idea of how thick the crust should be.
The Zucchini Ricotta Galette
So on to our recipe of the day. As I said, the original recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen. I made her crust just as she directed. It was the filling I made differently.
Notes on the Crust
The secret to a tender crust is to not work it too much. Working the dough develops the gluten and makes for a tough crust. The secret to a flaky crust is two-fold. One, make sure all your ingredients are ice cold. The flour here is put in the freezer. The butter and other ingredients are kept cold until used. This is essential. I can’t stress that enough. The other part is to cut the flour and butter with the pastry blender just until the butter is the size of small peas. Don’t cut it too much, you want chunks of butter to melt, steam, and form air pockets. This creates the flakes.
You can make the dough earlier in the day. Even though I haven’t tried it, you could probably roll it out, cover it, and put it back in the fridge to fill and bake it later in the day. This is unnecessary, though, as you’ll be waiting for the oven to come to temperature, anyway.
Notes On The Filling
First, I made my own Ricotta because it’s hard to find Ricotta that doesn’t have additives like carrageenan, which is a carcinogen and my daughter gets really sick on it to boot. We also like ours made with whole milk. Skim milk ricotta – to me – doesn’t have much flavor.
Making your own is SUPER, SUPER easy. You warm the milk, add an acid (I chose powdered citric acid, but you can use lemon juice), allow it to separate into curds and whey, drain, salt and chill (or use right away). Truly, it’s that easy. I made it in the morning before we left for the day and used also it when we returned. Be prepared to only get about 1-1/2 cups of ricotta out of 8 cups of milk. The leftover whey is full of protein and nutrients. In Europe, they drink whey as a beverage, sometimes made into lemonade. You can add it to smoothies, broths, use it to make your own fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, use it as the cooking liquid for potatoes, rice, pasta, and other grains, even use it when soaking beans. It lasts 6 months in your refrigerator.
We decided that since I didn’t have fresh basil as the recipe suggested, we would use dried basil. Sprinkling dried basil on top after it’s baked as the original recipe directed would not have imparted much flavor. So I decided to add it to the cheese mixture. Usually, when substituting dried for fresh you divide the measurement by 3. I was 30 hours post-surgery and didn’t make the conversion correctly. The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon fresh. I added 1 tablespoon dried, looked at it and added more. Yikes! That’s like 4-6 times the conversion. But, you know what? It was PERFECT! The final adjustment we made was to sprinkle the salt and pepper on top of the zucchini before folding over the crust. We wanted the zucchini seasoned, not the cheese. If you prefer not to look at the pepper, add it to the cheese mixture.
The Zucchini is to be sliced thinly and evenly so they all bake evenly. If you don’t have a mandolin to do this and aren’t skilled at slicing even 1/4-inch slices, you could grate the zucchini instead. That’s what my daughter plans to do. Either way, make sure you salt it as directed and then press out as much moisture as you can before assembling. If you are grating, I suggest putting it in a strainer, then when you’re ready to use it, put it on a couple of layers of clean kitchen towels, roll up and squeeze to get out the final moisture.
Placing the Filling
Finally, I want to give a hint about getting the spacing right for the turned-over edge. In my post-operative state, I said, “Okay, it called for a 12′ circle and to turn over 2 inches, so that means a 10” center. No, that means an 8-inch center. You can just eyeball 2 inches all the way around, or, if you have an 8-inch plate, you could center it, pressing a tiny, tiny bit to leave a little impression as a guideline. Totally unnecessary, but helpful if you’re unsure or are a perfectionist. 😉
On To the Recipe
Okay, enough talking, let’s get to the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. For my daughter (who doesn’t bake much) to say that she’s going to make it herself and it’s her new 2nd favorite food, that’s saying it was good and it was simple.
A savory galette using fresh summer zucchini and ricotta cheese. Use as a main dish, a side dish, or even an appetizer or a snack. Even your vegetarian friends will ike this recipe!
- 1-1/4 Cups All-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 TB Butter, Cold, Unsalted, cut into pieces and returned to refrigerator
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 2 zucchinis, about 8 inches long, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tsp Olive oil (or oil of your choice, I chose almond oil)
- 1 med garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 ounce)
- 1 to 1-1/2 TB dried basil
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp water
**begin approximately 3 hours prior to eating:**
Put flour in the freezer. Set timer for 30 minutes (You could do earlier in the day.)
If you still need to make the ricotta, do that now.
Cut the butter into pieces and return to the fridge.
Measure your pastry wet ingredients in the measuring cup and whisk. Place in fridge.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside.
Whisk together the cold flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. Add the wet ingredients to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball, then flatten into a thick, round disc with smooth edges; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Slice zucchini and spread it out over several layers of clean kitchen towels or paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain.
In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, dried basil, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together (you may strain out the garlic if desired).
Separate your egg and make the egg wash with the yolk and water. Set aside. Put pastry brush next to the egg wash.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F – even if you think your oven preheats faster than that. We need the butter in the crust cold and the oven to be hot to get the steam to form and puff the crust. This creates the tender flaky crust you want.
On a floured work surface, quickly roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. If desired, use an 8" plate to leave a GENTLE, LIGHT impression centered on the circle for a guideline. This is totally unnecessary, but for the timid and perfectionists, this is a helpful guide if you're using a baking tray or pizza stone.
Transfer to an UNgreased baking sheet, an 8-inch tart or pie pan, or even a pizza stone.* If using a pizza stone or baking tray, you may line it with parchment paper to make it easier to transfer it to a plate later.
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
Blot the zucchini dry with dry towels before using, then shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. We did two layers, and ate the few pieces we had leftover. 😉
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. For those who don't really like garlic, use a small sieve to drizzle the oil without the garlic pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.
Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Allow to stand for 5 or more minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
* If using a pizza stone or any flat tray, make sure to put a liner on the rack below in case it drips.
Supplies you might not have:
A pastry blender. I use mine often enough to be part of my normal toolkit.
A pastry brush. This is America’s Test Kitchen’s winner. It’s also the one I’ve had in my kitchen for many years. The fake bristled ones melt. The silicone ones just don’t work. An old-fashioned natural bristle brush works well. Wash it before use and lightly tug at the bristles to grab any loose ones. That only happens in the beginning, if at all. You will need to wash by hand, but it’s worth it to me.
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Very nice and will give be giving this a try. What I appreciate is the attention to detail to prep and make the meal. Too many times I’ve found directions for recipes to be lacking or written in ways that the author must assume the reader knows a lot about cooking and/or has all the cookware/tools to make the meal. Nice job Linda!
Thank you, Gil. I do like my recipes to be orderly, written plainly, assuming nothing. I also like to put a timeline in them. It’s the only way to get everything on the table at the same time when making a meal. Enjoy the galette.