Our fridge is dead. It revolted on Friday and before we realized what was really happening, it had brought everything inside to room temperature. Overnight. Ugh. Right now the freezer is teasing us and keeping itself around 35. Which means it is now the fridge. What used to reside in that freezer is now in the chest freezer, except for the unintentionally thawed hot dogs, which sustained us through the weekend. The service guy is coming tomorrow. Needless to say, there isn’t a whole lot of inspired cooking going on here at the moment. However, there are a few posts waiting to be written, so I’m lucky.
We got some ridiculously good strawberries last week from the CSA share. So ripe and juicy they left everything they came near looking like a crime scene. So delicious and addictive, they had the power to leave you in some sort of strawberry-induced fugue state. Red all the way through and already so soft, it didn’t seem like we’d be able to vanquish them simply by eating them as fast as possible.
So a tart was in order. This style (galette, I believe) was inspired by a plum galette that my mom often makes (it’s very good). So, I guess this is really a strawberry galette. Naming aside, it’s also very good. This style suits me perfectly: No worries about rolling it out big enough for a tart pan, I could just roll it out until it seemed to get thin enough to start causing me problems. No worries about neat slices and arrangements of strawberries, just roughly quartered. Sweetened lemony blobs of ricotta dropped on top.
Oh, the ricotta. I’m not even sure if it’s fair to call it ricotta. It was a small tub from these folks (Goat rising? Definite bonus points for the domain name, as it leaves me with an image of some furry, stubborn beast floating up from the field with a "maaaaaaaaaa"), via my dad from our visit a few weeks ago. It was like a cross between ricotta, cream cheese and creme fraiche. Thick, creamy and slightly sour. It was so good.
So yes, the style. If it looks haphazard, it was me getting the tart done as quickly as possible. I like the fact that it's not too fancy. The biggest pain is getting the tart dough made – not hard at all, just takes a few minutes. I’m not quite sure why I did 2 tarts, but it could certainly make one big one. In fact, if you’re making tart crust, it probably makes sense to make a bunch. If you’ve got a good tart crust and a regular savory pastry crust in your bag of tricks, you can make all sorts of good stuff. We’ll do a quiche or something savory soon. Dinner…dessert…everything is better with crust.
Tart Dough (adapted from The King Arthur Baker's Companion)
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/3 C sugar
Big pinch salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter (1/2 C)
1 egg yolk
2 TB cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Cut up the butter into 1/4" cubes and add to the flour. Use a pastry blender (forks, knives and fingers will probably work alright too) and work the butter in, until is dispersed and it looks (like every recipe tells you) pebbles. Mix together the egg yolk, water and vanilla. Stir into the dough. I use a spoon or spatula to bring it together and then dump it out onto the counter and use my hands. If it seems too dry, definitely add a little more water. Once it’s a nice big ball, flatten it out a little, wrap with plastic wrap and if you have time, put it in the fridge for an hour. If you’ve got a lot of time, put it in overnight and just take it out a little earlier than you need it. If you want two smaller tarts, divide the dough before wrapping and cooling.
Oven to 400.
Quarter up some strawberries. Toss them with a few spoons of sugar and set aside.
Whip up some ricotta with lemon zest, a few drops of vanilla extract, and a spoon of sugar. Taste it.
Roll out the tart dough on a floured countertop until it’s as thin as you want it. Probably about 1/8 inch. Move it to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Strain the liquid from the strawberries and sprinkle some around the middle of the dough, leaving an inch or so around the sides. Crimp up or fold over the edges to build a nice edge to hold in the good stuff. Plop (ok, not such a great word) some ricotta in a few different places on the tart.
Bake it for 20-30 minutes – just keep an eye on it and you’ll be able to tell when it’s done. Golden brown and bubbly.
(Nothing to do with strawberries, tarts or galettes, but here’s a radish from the garden…just liked the photo…)