The morning began with thoughts of tomatoes. It is after all, August. I also had a pound of fresh ricotta that I made the day before. I was already thinking, ricotta and tomatoes. Colorado peaches were initially considered. Tomatoes combined with fresh peaches are one of summer's highlights for me. I wanted to make a free-form tart, but the peaches might be too juicy. Scratch the peaches. So, this is what I ended up with for our dinner last night on the patio (along with that ratatouille I made the day before) -- a galette of just tomatoes and ricotta (with a few Nicoise olives thrown in). Can't go wrong with that!
I stirred fresh thyme leaves from my garden into the fresh ricotta that was combined with Parmesan. The mixture was spread over the most delicate coarse-ground cornmeal crust. I'm crazy about baking cornmeal pastry with fruits and vegetables, but this one does take patience. If you don't feel like tackling a crust this delicate, eliminate the cornmeal and substitute with flour... or, use 1/4 cup cornmeal instead of the 1/2 cup I call for in the recipe. But I'll walk you through it. Like I said... it just takes patience.
I'm making this galette again this upcoming weekend, and I may add those peaches...
• 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 4 tablespoons ice water
• 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 2 pints cherry tomatoes, mixed varieties, preferably heirloom
• 1 egg whisked, for brushing
• 15 (more or less) Nicoise olives
• Kosher or sea salt
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times. Add the butter and pulse again until the size of small peas. While pulsing, slowly add the ice water until the mixture just starts to come together. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic, press into a disk and wrap. Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
2. Take dough from refrigerator. Cut a piece of parchment paper; place on a work surface and lightly dust with flour. Center the dough on the parchment, dust lightly with flour and cover with the plastic wrap. Roll the pastry into a round just under 1/4-inch, dusting with flour as needed. Slice the parchment and pastry onto a baking sheet and place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
3. Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, and thyme leaves with a wooden spoon until smooth; set aside. Slice tomatoes in half.
4. Remove the baking sheet with pastry dough from the refrigerator. Spread the cheese filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border bare around the edges. Spoon the halved cherry tomatoes over the cheese filling. Sprinkle with salt and arrange Nicoise olives on top.
5. Using a small, metal spatula, get underneath an edge of the pastry and gently lift over the filling. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and again lift more pastry over the filling, pleating the dough as you go. The pastry is delicate and may break somewhat as you lift and pleat, but pressing with your fingers and brushing with the beaten egg will help it to adhere to itself. When finished, lightly brush any exposed pastry with the egg. Drizzle the tomatoes with a little olive oil.
6. Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden color. Remove galette from oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing, or allow to rest longer and serve at room temperature.
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