Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spinach and Feta Galette

 A galette is a rustic tart, made with a flaky free form crust.  This galette is filled with feta, ricotta, spinach and a little parmesan cheese.  The crust is rich with butter, giving it a crunchy crispness.  This is one of my all time favorite pies, reminiscent of the Greek pastry, Spanakopita.  


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch bits
6-7 tablespoons of ice water
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
5 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 bunch scallions, whites and greens, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 oz. spinach, steamed, drained and run under cold water.  Squeeze dry, and chop well.
salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the crust..
1.  Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Add butter and cut into flour until you have a course crumb with pea sized butter bits.  Add 4 tablespoons of the ice water and mix together with a fork adding more water one tablespoon at a time until dough starts to come together.  Form into a ball and flatten slightly.  Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface into a 14 inch circle.  Place on a large parchment lined sheet pan and place in the refrigerator.

2.  To make the filling, in a small skillet on medium heat, add olive oil and sliced green onion and saute until soft 4-5 minutes..  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3.  Combine in a medium bowl, the ricotta, crumbled feta and grated parmesan cheese.  Add the chopped spinach, sauteed green onions and sour cream.  Season with black pepper and salt to taste.  Mix well.

4.  Preheat the oven to 375°F  Remove the pastry from the refrigerator.  Spread the cheese filling over the crust, leaving a 2 1/2 inch boarder around the edge uncovered.  Fold the uncovered edge over the filling, pleating to make it fit.  There will be an open hole in the center revealing the filling. 

Bake the galette on the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes then slide the galette off the pan onto a serving plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Pizza Rustica

Not your typical pizza, Pizza Rustica is a hearty Italian two crusted pizza. Not  the same as my grandmothers Easter pie made exclusively with eggs cheese and meat.  This pizza is more reminiscent of traditional pizza but with a double crust and using ricotta and eggs.  I particularly like this pie served at room temperature or slightly warmer, about an hour out of the oven.  This recipe requires a little more time in the kitchen, but the results are well worth it!


1 10" pie plate serves 6-8 generously
475° oven

For the crust...
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch bits
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 Tablespoons dry Marsala, chilled or use cold water, the Marsala is really nice in the crust for this pie.

For the filling...
5 eggs, beaten well in a small bowl
1 pound good quality full fat Ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon chopped parsley, devided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
28 oz. can good quality Italian plum tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano 
1 large green bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 pound Italian sausage, skins removed, broken up and sauteed until browned
1/2 pound sharp provolone cheese, grated

1.  To prepare the crust, in a medium bowl add flour, salt and butter bits.  With a pastry cutter or a fork cut butter into flour until course crumbs are achieved.

Add lemon juice and Marsala or cold water to flour mixture and blend until it comes together, form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill about 1/2 hour.

2.  Prepare the tomato sauce, in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, on medium high heat, add olive oil.  Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent but not browned.  Lower heat to medium and add parsley, giving it a turn with your spoon then add pureed tomatoes, a pinch of salt and fresh pepper.  Stir to combine and let simmer well for about 30 minutes until reduced and thickened.  Add chopped oregano and let cool slightly off the stove.

3.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the Ricotta, beaten eggs, parmesan cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk together until well combined.

4.  Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half.  Roll 1/2 the dough out on a lightly floured work table.  Lay dough into pie plate, roll out second half of dough and set aside.

5.  Gather your ingredients and prepare to assemble your pie.

Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture in the prepared pie shell, arrange over it 1/2 of the grated provolone cheese, cover with 1/2 the tomato sauce then 1/2 the browned sausage meat and 1/2 the green peppers on top of that.  Repeat all the layers and cover with the top crust.  Pinch the edges securely together and with a sharp knife, cut 3 slits across the top to vent.  Bake in a 425° oven for about 40 minutes or until it is well browned and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 1/2 an hour or longer.


For more yummy recipes click the link below.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Apple Cheddar Turnovers

There is nothing like fresh picked apples, cold, crisp and delicious.  Pair those crisp fresh picked apples with a sharp cheddar cheese, makes a nice snack doesn't it?  Well how about wrapping fresh apples in a flaky cheese speckled pie crust, now we're talking heaven!  These easy to make Apple Cheddar Turnovers are a fantastic take with you pie.  Pack them in lunches or serve them warm with a big glass of milkApples and cheddar never tasted so good!



For the crust...
2 cups all purpose flour
6 oz. (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
6-7 tablespoons cold water 

For the filling...
3-4 medium apples, I used northern spy, but any good baking apple will work.  Peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch chunks.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour   
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg beaten in a bowl.

Makes 6 generous sized turnovers  

1.  To make the crust, combine flour, grated cheese, salt and the cold butter bits in a medium sized bowl.  With a pastry blender or a fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2.  Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until mixture starts to come together.  Don't add more water than you need, it's ok to have some loose dry crumbs in your bowl.  Gather together to form a ball.  Divide dough into 6 equal parts, approximately 4 ounces each.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

3.  To make the filling, combine the  apple chunks, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.  Mix to combine well.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 400°.

4.  Remove one dough ball from the refrigerator and on a lightly floured table, roll dough to about a 7 inch circle.  Scoop out about a 1/3-1/2 a cup of apple filling in the lower center of the circle.  With a pastry brush, brush beaten egg around edge of circle.

Fold over top half of pastry to meet the bottom edge of the circle.  Press the edges together and crimp with a fork or your fingers.

Continue on with the remainder of the dough and apple mixture.  Place turnovers on a parchment lined baking pan.  Make 3 small slits in the top of the turnover to vent.

5.  Bake in the preheated oven at 400° for 15 minutes, rotate the pan and turn down the oven to 350° and bake for 20 minutes longer or until nicely golden brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack to cool until desired eating temperature.  Enjoy!