Rhubarb Ricotta Galette

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Rhubarb Ricotta Galette

 

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 My friend Bethany called me the other day and we managed a good 15 minutes of conversation before one of our children needed us.  She had decided that, just like fishing has an open season, gin and tonics needed an open season.  She was hosting a little "stop-by-after-work-for-a-gin-and-tonic" party and wanted ideas for easy munchies to serve alongside them. So of course I asked, "What do you have around?"  I've determined that I could never be in one of those TV cooking competitions where the contestants have a fully-stocked pantry and larder to work from.  Too much choice!  Constraints make us normal folk more creative and resourceful.  Amen?

Bethany is blessed with several over-producing rhubarb plants, and I have always been very jealous of them.  She lives in Bellingham, or else I would be over there constantly cutting rhubarb stalks (while drinking a gin and tonic and admiring the other lush things about her yard).  So we started talking about what she could do with the rhubarb and thought of a rhubarb chutney that she could serve with a soft, tangy cheese.  By the time we got off the phone, I had rhubarb on the brain.  I basically had to have some.

Spring gold Spring gold

Luckily, the Columbia City farmers market opened this week, and Mary and I took all four kids to celebrate.  True to form, I wandered around gawking at everything while Mary ended up supervising the kids.  She is my second spouse and I do not know what I'd do without her.

I did find some rhubarb, though it was something like $3/lb.  Still cheaper than the gas to drive up to Bellingham, I guess. The chutney conversation had gotten me thinking about cooking the rhubarb down quite a bit as opposed to dicing it for a crisp or pie.  I knew I wanted something sweet (not savory) as there was only slice of apple cake left in my kitchen.  Rhubarb jam. That's it.

Rhubarb Jam Rhubarb Jam

And galette dough.  The best-ever recipe I copied from Abra's copy of the Baking with Julia Child cookbook years ago.  I swear, galettes have given my friends the impression I can do no wrong in the kitchen.  Since I have mastered them, I often bring them to parties or potlucks and people think I've worked much harder than I have.  Emily emailed me the other day and asked if I could devote a posting to them, and when Jordan's friend Jenn was in town last winter, we had a little galette lesson in my kitchen.  (As a consequence, Jenn is now my friend, too.)  A galette is basically a free-form tart--roll out one disc of this easy dough, dump whatever you want in the middle (sweet or savory), fold the crust up around it, cook it for 30 minutes, be a goddess.

Discs of galette dough Discs of galette dough

I also had a tub of whole milk ricotta in the fridge--nothing fancy, just Trader Joe's and something I had bought without a purpose in mind.  I could sweeten that a bit to add creaminess and texture.  

I'm glad to get posting this dough recipe out of the way because then I can forever refer to it and fill it with other things.  The combinations are endless.  A few I've made:  caramelized onion and blue cheese; winter greens and feta; berries (fresh or frozen); any kind of stone fruit; mascarpone, dried fig, and walnut; cranberry orange.  The trick with galettes is to not count on the cooking time to cook many of the fillings.  Berries--fine.  But if I were to do big chunks of rhubarb in this one, for instance, I only get 30 minutes before the crust is done.  In that short amount of time, the rhubarb would be getting all watery but not done.  

I hope your party was a hit, Bethany, and that you made a dent in your rhubarb.  And here's to open season for galettes. Now my secret is out.

P.S. A word about sources...I will always, always give credit for a recipe if I've knowingly taken it from someone or somewhere else.  If I don't give credit, that means I "made it up," though there is really nothing new under the sun.  Surely something akin to this has been made somewhere at some time, but the creator might not have been as likable or as funny as me.

Rhubarb Ricotta Galette

For dough:
from Baking with Julia Child
(I always double this.  The extra disc of dough will keep in the fridge for several days)
1 c. flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
7 Tb. cold butter
1/3 c. ice water
3 Tb. sour cream

Stir flour and cornmeal together.  Cut in butter with your fingertips until butter is in pea-sized lumps.  Stir ice water and sour cream together in a small bowl, then add to flour mixture.  Mix together with a fork until mixture holds together and form into a ball.  Put ball on a piece of plastic wrap, loosely gather plastic wrap around it and twist, then press dough into a disc. Refrigerate for one hour before rolling out.  Roll out on a floured surface till dough is about 1/8" thick.  Fold into quarters and transfer to baking sheet.  Unfold and fill.

Galette Dough Galette Dough

For rhubarb jam:
(you will have leftovers)
2 lbs. rhubarb, diced (about 8 cups)
2 c. brown sugar
2 Tb. grated fresh ginger
splash of port (optional)
1/2 c. water
2 Tb. instant tapioca

Put everything except tapioca in a big pot and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.  Cook for about 30 minutes, adding more water at the beginning if necessary.  Mixture will totally lose definition, becoming a kind of rhubarb sauce.  This is why you need the tapioca.  Add it, and cook for about another 10 minutes until mixture gets thick.  Cool.

For ricotta:
3/4 c. whole milk ricotta
2 Tb. honey
1 Tb. grated orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir everything together in a small bowl.

To assemble:
Spread about 1 c. of the rhubarb jam over the dough, leaving an inch around the edges.  Drop dallops of the ricotta mixture over the jam, and fold the crust in toward the middle.  It will overlap on itself in several places.  Sprinkle some sugar over the crust.  Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden.  Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.  Of course, we had ours for breakfast as well.

Galette for Breakfast Galette for Breakfast