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Author Notes: You've heard it time and time again, but nothing is truly quite as delicious and satisfying as in-season produce, and this gorgeous (and highly versatile) free-form pie is a perfect showcase. I used fabulous local heirloom tomatoes, leeks, sweet corn, goat cheese and dill for this particular fare, but practically any fruit/veg/cheese/herb combo will do.
P.S. I'm also giving away a few pie crust secrets in this one...for the first time. —PieceOfLayerCake
Serves 8 - 10 people
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
- 9.5 ounces unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 - 2 ½ ounces cold water
- 2 ears, sweet corn
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large leeks, rinsed thoroughly and sliced into ½" half moons
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon cream, milk or water
- 4 ounces goat cheese (I prefer something spreadable, but not a "spread", such as a Montrachet)
- 1 - 2 pounds fresh, heirloom tomatoes, sliced into ¼" rounds
- flaked sea salt
- Take your chilled butter and dice it into ½" cubes. Set them on a small plate or tray and stash, with the water, in the freezer while you prep the rest of your ingredients; for at least 15 minutes.
- Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl (I'm messy, so I like a lot of space to work with) and toss with your hands to incorporate. Scatter in the chilled butter. Now, everyone has their personal method of blending butter and flour for pie crust, but I prefer to take large handfuls of the mixture, press them between my hands (as if praying to the pastry gods for a stunning result), and swiftly rub them together, incorporating the butter into the flour as evenly and quickly as possible. In the end, you should have pieces of butter that range in size from a nickel to small peas. Pour in 2 oz. of the cold water and toss with your fingertips to blend. Pick up a handful and give it a feel. If you feel quite a bit of loose flour, and the dough doesn't hold together when you squeeze it, sprinkle in the remaining ½ oz. of cold water. Knead the dough quickly, just until it comes together in a bit of a shaggy mess (I like to err a bit on the dry side).
- Dump the mass onto a lightly floured work surface and form it into a tight mound. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough in half and stack one on top of the other. Using the palms of your hands, quickly smash the stack down into another tight mound. Repeat this step 3 or 4 times before forming a tight disk with the dough and wrapping it well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the disk for at least 30 minutes (or in the freezer for 10) in the refrigerator before working with it.
- When you're ready to use the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and allow the chill to come off slightly. Scatter a few pinches of flour across a clean work surface, and dust a rolling pin generously. Place the disk on the work surface and dose the top with a pinch of flour. Working from the middle of the disk out, begin rolling away from you, turning the dough a quarter turn after each outward roll, trying your darndest to keep an even "circle" (it will never be perfect). When the disk becomes too large to turn easily, begin rolling from the center, outward, keeping the round stationary. If you feel the dough is beginning to stick to the counter, shimmy it a bit to loosen it, flip it over your rolling pin and give the work surface a few more pinches of flour. Don't worry if small cracks begin to form around the edges, although, if large fissures begin to form, simply pinch them back together and proceed. Work as quickly as possible, to prevent the dough from becoming too soft on you. If that happens, take a cue from Alton Brown and set a chilled sheet pan on top of the dough for 5 minutes before attempting another go.
- After you have a circle 11 - 12" in diameter, fetch a large sheet pan or sauté pan (I prefer my trusted, 9" cast iron skillet) and transfer the dough to the center of the pan using either deft hands or by draping it over the rolling pin to assist the move. Allow the dough to settle into the pan, but don't press it in. Stash the pan in the fridge while you work on the filling.
- To prepare the filling (this step can be done at least a day in advance), set the cobs of corn, upright in a large bowl and, using a sharp serrated knife, cut the kernels from the cob (being careful not to shave off any of the white pith). Melt the butter with a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized skillet set over medium heat and add the leeks with a generous pinch of salt and a healthy dose of cracked pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks have just softened and sweetened a bit. Add in the corn kernels and 2 tablespoons of dill, and cook for just another minute. Scrape the mixture (and all of its buttery goodness) into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 400? and arrange a rack to the lowest position. Beat together the egg and cream in a bowl with a fork until well mixed.
- Fetch the pie dough from the fridge and, using a pastry brush, paint the entire surface of the dough with the egg wash. Dot or spread the goat cheese in the very center (in an area approximately 6" in diameter, but don't fret about being exact). Pile the leek-corn mixture in the very center of the dough, mounding it up high. Shingle the slices of tomato on top of the veggies in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Fold the edges tightly over the filling, crimping them tightly to keep them in place. Completely egg wash the now exposed pie dough. Drizzle the tomatoes with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and dose generously with flaked sea salt (I swear by Maldon) and a few grinds of cracked pepper.
- Bake on the bottom rack for 35 - 45 minutes, or until the crust is a rich, golden-brown and the tomatoes are slightly shriveled. If you're feeling particularly dangerous, I like to take a long, offset spatula and lift the galette to make sure the bottom is nice and golden brown as well. Remove from the oven and allow the galette to cool in the pan for an hour before sliding it out onto a cutting board to finish cooling completely. When ready to serve, scatter the remaining tablespoon of fresh dill on the galette, slice it into wedges and serve it with a simple salad of bitter greens.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Recipe