Sunday, December 12, 2010

Free Form Fabulous (tart)

Swiss Chard, Shitake, Parmesan Galette

News flash:  I've never been one to follow the rules.  This does not mean that I can't, it simply means that I don't like imagine my delight in creating the Galette!  A free form tart is perfect for those who don't especially like to color within the lines.  There are no rules, yay! Round, square, oblong rectangular, you name it, now you're speaking my language.  The topping varieties are only limited by your imagination and desire (double happiness) and they are relatively quick to make, the pastry requires 1 hour of resting time in the fridge which can be done while you make the topping and allowing it to cool (or make your pastry earlier in the day or even have it at the ready in your freezer).  On this day, I found beautiful  Swiss Chard and Shitake mushrooms at the market.  Swiss Chard is a seriously underrated green, in my opinion (and I know Greens).  It is very mildly flavored which allows it to marry freely to whatever it is paired with.  I like the earthy flavors of the greens and mushrooms and they are the perfect vehicle for garlic and cheese.  Those of you who know me, will not be surprised that I also relied on the very classic Italian pairing of raisins and  pine nuts in a savory preparation.  So, Swiss Chard, garlic, Shitake, Parmesan Cheese (use the best quality Reggiano as it makes the difference and grate it by hand), raisins and pine nuts are all featured on a bed of farmers cheese.   I discovered farmers cheese recently at my market and I am loving the tangy, tart dryer texture of this Ricotta/cottage sort of cheese.  Wow, what a wonderful combination on my tart du jour.

 Swiss Chard, Shitake and Parmesan Galette

  • 1 bunk of fresh swiss chard, rinsed well in several changes of cold water, chopped
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • a handful of shitake mushrooms, trimmed of the woody stems
  • 2 tbs white raisins, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained well
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated reggiano parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbs farmers cheese
  • 1 recipe pate brisee or tart dough
  • 2 tbs heavy cream or an egg yolk to glaze the pastry dough (optional)
I found a fast and simple pastry recipe here.

Prepare your pastry and chill.

flour, chilled butter and salt = pastry beginnings
what I think "coarse meal" is supposed to look like
be sure your water is truly iced
dough starts to come together
pastry ready to rest
wrapped, ready to chill out

Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the Swiss Chard and the whole smashed garlic cloves, season with salt & pepper and cook until the greens are wilted and cooked through.  Remove the garlic and set aside.

rinsed and chopped chard

Sauté of chard and garlic
wilted garlicky chard in waiting
Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until they are wilted, seasoning with salt & black pepper. Set aside.

wilted Shitakes
Roll out the pastry into whatever shape you desire.  The pastry should be between 1/4" and 1/2" thick.

rolled pastry (poor light!)

Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper and transfer the pastry to the lined sheet pan.  Spread the farmers cheese evenly over the pastry, followed by the cooled chard and mushrooms leaving a bit of a border.

assembling the tart

Sprinkle the raisins and pine nuts over the chard and finish with the grated cheese.  If you wish, do something decorative to the edges of the tart.  I rolled my edge slightly and used the tines of a fork to make it look somewhat decorative (easy).  
I like to glaze the tart dough edges with an egg wash or heavy cream (I had it opened), as it makes the finished pastry shiny and browns better.  I simply brushed heavy cream on the exposed edges of the pastry pre-baking.

assembled and glazed pastry, oven ready

Bake the galette in the preheated oven for about 30 - 45 minutes, until it is beautifully golden brown.

another view
Allow to cool, transfer to a serving platter, slice and serve.  These tarts are equally delicious warm or at room temperature, which makes them perfect for entertaining.  They are better before being refrigerated, but Ella and Julien have loved having them in their lunches the next day too!

slice of yum

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