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It’s mid-July and zucchini season is in full swing. That time of year when my friends’ gardens are overflowing with summer squashes, and I get to benefit! My friend Amy has just such a garden, and gave me a couple of her zucchinis to play with. I decided against going the zucchini bread route, even though that is delicious. There are approximately 125,348 zucchini bread recipes on the internet, so I decided to experiment with a savory zucchini application – zucchini and cheese galette.
This recipe is adapted from a zucchini galette that Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen made back in 2010.
What Is a Galette?
A galette is like a pie, only easier to make. There’s no blind baking, no pie plates, no crimping, and no double crusts. You take one flaky, perfect pie crust, roll it out in a roughly round shape, fill it with whatever you want, fold the edges of your crust over your filling, and bake. In many ways I prefer galette to pie. I think the ratio of filling to pastry is better, and the portion sizes are more manageable, so you can eat galette for breakfast and feel totally, completely justified.
The Pie Dough
This will come as no surprise to you, but I really think you should make your own pie crust. I promise it’s not hard. It’s actually really fun, and you only need 5 ingredients and no special equipment. The key is to keep all of your ingredients as cold as possible, that way the butter doesn’t just melt into the flour. You need pockets of butter, because when the butter melts in the oven, it creates steam, which creates little pockets in the dough. Pockets of air = flakiness.
I always do all-butter pie crusts because I don’t really like to work with shortening. Also, you can’t beat the flavor of an all-butter pie crust.
To make pie dough, first get your ice water ready. I just put a couple of ice cubes and some water in a 1 cup liquid measure and stick it in the freezer until I’m ready for it. Next, mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut your butter into slices about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. I like slices better than cubes, because I think they’re easier to work into the flour. After your butter is sliced, pop it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
When you’re ready, plop your butter slices into the flour, and rub the butter and the flour together between your fingers. This is very fun. You can use a pastry cutter, and if I’m doing a double crust I usually do, but for a single crust I just use my hands. It’s easier. You want to squish flour into the butter until you have pieces of butter that are kind of the size of cereal flakes.
After the butter is worked in, a couple of tablespoons of ice water. Work the water into the dough with your fingers or a fork. If the dough still feels dry, add another tablespoon or two. You want the dough to juuuuust come together, but not be too dry. It should be a uniform color with little pockets of visible dough. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and rest the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
If you’ve ever worked with zucchini before you know it can get kind of…soupy. There’s a lot of water in those cell walls, and we need to get some of it out before our galette goes in the oven. To achieve this, you will slice your zucchini very thin, either by hand or on a mandolin. Then lay your zucchini slices out on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Sprinkle salt over the slices of squash and let them rest for 30 minutes. The salt will draw water out of the zucchini, and it will pool on the surface of your slices. After the 30 minutes are up, dab the water off of the zucchini slices with a paper towel.
A note about mandolins: a mandolin is a tool used to cut very thin, even slices of vegetables. If you use one please, I beg of you, wear cut resistant gloves. Even if you use the guard, which I know you do because you are smart, wear the gloves. Cuts from a mandolin are no joke and could easily land you in the ER getting stitches. WEAR THE CUT RESISTANT GLOVES, OK!?
Also, this recipe does not use a ton of zucchini, really only about half of a large squash, but it is a different and delicious way to use it.
The Cheesy Filling
The filling for this zucchini galette is made up of mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese. The cheeses are mixed together, seasoned with salt and pepper, and bound together with an egg. This creates a creamy, hearty filling for your zucchini slices to sit atop. I used fresh mozzarella in this galette. See the recipe notes for info on fresh vs. low moisture mozzarella.
Assembling the Zucchini Galette
Step 1: Roll out your pie dough.
Take the dough disc out of the fridge. Make sure you have a large, clean work surface lightly dusted with flour. unwrap the dough, place it on your work surface, and whack it a few times with your rolling pin to soften it up. If it’s really hard, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Just don’t let the dough get warm, as this will melt the butter and make your crust less flaky.
Roll the dough out in a circle as big as you can get it. You’re looking for an even thickness of about 1/4 inch. Using a bench scraper, rotate the dough 90 degrees every 30 seconds or so to prevent sticking. Do this by scraping underneath your dough, lifting as you go. If it’s really sticking, add more flour under the dough. If your dough is crumbling when you try to roll it out, sprinkle it with a little bit of water. If it’s really really crumbly, sprinkle it with a little more water, re-knead it with your hands for a minute, and put it back in the fridge to rest for about 10 minutes to let the gluten relax, then try again.
Transfer your dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. I find a bench scraper helps with this as well. It’s ok if the dough hangs over the edge of the baking sheet at this point. You’re going to fold the edges in a minute.
Step 2: Filling
using a spoon, spread your cheese filling evenly over the pie dough, leaving a bare pie dough border of about 3 inches around the edges. You may not use all of the cheese filling, but it will be close. You want a good layer. Lay the zucchini slices over the filling. You want them to lay flat in a single layer, but overlap each other on the edges slightly.
Brush the zucchini with olive oil using a pastry brush, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Folding
Fold the edges of the pie dough over the filling. As you go around your galette, you will create little pleats of dough as you fold. Have fun with it.
Brush the crust with egg wash using a pastry brush, and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes.
Let cool slightly, slice, and enjoy!
Please share this post with all of your friends who are trying to figure out what in the world to do with their garden zucchini. Also, tag me in your pictures when you make this @athometestcook. ‘Til next time!
- Sheet pan
- Bench scraper
- parchment paper
For the Pie Dough (makes enough dough for 2 galettes. Save one in your freezer.)
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup ice water you will not use all of the water, but I like to have extra.
For the Zucchini
- 1/2 medium or large zucchini, sliced very thin
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
For the Cheese Filling
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese full fat is best. Get a thicker, less moist ricotta if you can. See note.
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces see note
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- zest of 1/4 to 1/2 lemon don't go overboard here, or the lemon could overpower everything else.
- 1 large egg
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon water
For the Pie Dough
- Cut the cold butter into slices. Put in the freezer until ready to use.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar.
- Add the very cold butter slices to the bowl, and rub them and the flour together between your fingers, until you get a texture that resembles corn flakes. You don't want the butter pieces to dissolve totally into the flour.
- Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly between each addition until the dough starts to come together. It should press together in your hand and hold its shape without crumbling, but not feel wet. You will not use all the water.
- Form the dough into two roughly equal discs, wrap in plastic wrap and rest one disc in the fridge for 30 minutes. Store the other disc in your freezer for another time.
For the Zucchini
- Slice the zucchini into very thin slices. I did this on the second thinnest setting of my mandolin, but you can absolutely do it with a knife, too. If you do use a mandolin, please wear cut resistant gloves. Pretty please.
- On a baking tray lined with paper towels, lay the zucchini slices out in a single layer.
- Sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes. This will draw some excess moisture out of the zucchini. Dab the water off of the top of the slices when the 30 minutes are up.
For the Filling
- Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl, except for the egg.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, and add the egg when you are happy with the seasoning.
- Mix with a spoon to combine.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take your pie dough out of the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a mostly round shape, about 1/4 inch thick. The beauty of galette is that it does not demand perfection.
- Transfer your dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. The easiest way I've found to do this is by loosening the dough from the counter with a bench scraper, if necessary, and then confidently and quickly moving it to the sheet pan.
- Spread your cheese filling almost all the way to the edges, leaving about 1 inch of the edge bare all around the crust.
- Shingle (arrange) your zucchini slices in one even layer across the filling, this time leaving about a 3 to 4 inch border. Brush the zucchini with olive oil using a pastry brush, or the back of a spoon, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Fold the edges over themselves, sealing in the filling. Again, perfection is not required. Just get it sealed up. The edges should fold over about 2 inches over the filling.
- Mix 1 egg with 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Brush over the edges of the crust with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. This helps with shininess and browning.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes. Mine was done at about 35 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes, transfer to a cutting board, slice, and enjoy!