I know, I know. Where have I been, right? I know you all have been frantically refreshing the blog and checking social media like rabid animals for a new post. Fear not! I am back with an awesome summer recipe.
First of all, a little personal update. After six long months of waiting, my wonderful boyfriend has finally returned to Shanghai! That combined with the unreal summer weather and amazing air quality has made my last two weeks just perfect! But enough about me, back to the food.
Has anyone else been seeing an abundance of these amazing sweet or savory “kind of pies, kind of pizzas” all over the food blogs lately? Some people call them galettes, some people call them crostatas, I call them fancy pizzas. I was googling the differences between these two types of pie/pizzas and found out that galettes & crostatas are essentially the same thing; free-form tarts that can be sweet or savory. I usually shy away from baking recipes for a few reasons: without a food processor it is hard to make shortcrust with cold butter, my oven is a toaster oven, and it heats my apartment up to surface of the sun temperatures when it is turned on.
To be honest I really couldn’t wait to try my hand at a crostata, so when I went online and found out that you can make a really easy and really delicious shortcrust with olive oil, I finally gave in to my fancy pizza craving and the cherry tomato, caramelized onion & goat cheese crostata was born.
Let’s just say that this pastry is not nearly as intimidating as it looks. The shortcrust came together in no time and I did it with a fork. Being an expat usually means not as many fancy kitchen appliances and certainly not as much counter space to store the ones you do have. I have a feeling this dough will be making several appearances in my kitchen in the future.
So basically the idea for this crostata stemmed from two things: first, the insane amount of tomatoes I have been buying this summer. There is nothing better than summer tomatoes, it reminds me of being home in South Carolina. My Dad used to buy these huge, red summer tomatoes from a local farmer that would sell tomatoes, peaches, peanuts & and all the other SC summer staples, slice them up and sprinkle with salt and pepper for us to devour. YUM.
Second, was Shiraz’s (the bf) undying love for caramelized onions. I’m pretty sure he would intravenously inject them if it was feasible and not totally insane. Mix those onions with goat cheese and hand him a baguette and you might become his favorite person.
All of these ingredients taste amazing when baked inside an olive oil shortcrust, believe you me.
Check out these beautifully caramelized onions.
After you make the crust, it needs to chill for a little while. While it’s chilling whip up the caramelized onions and slice the tomatoes. Roll out the dough and stuff it with the filling, leaving an inch or so of crust on the edge to fold up around the filling. Give it a nice egg wash to get the golden brown crust, pop it in the oven and 35 minutes later you’ll be in fancy pizza heaven.
Most crostatas or galettes are round, but mine is square because I am baking in a toaster oven on a tiny rectangular pan, so the traditional round shape just doesn’t cut it for me.
This crostata came out beautifully. Seriously, really really tasty. I was super impressed that I made a shortcrust and it wasn’t somehow crumbly or all wrong, and that my toaster over pulled through for me.
For the crust:
- 1 and 1/4 cup of AP flour
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil
- 1/2 cup of very cold water
- 1 egg, beaten
For the filling:
- 1 whole large onion (I used a red onion, you could use anything)
- Olive oil or butter for caramelizing the onions
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes of any type
- Desired amount of goat cheese for crumbling on top
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
- A hearty sprinkling of Italian Herbs (if, like me, you have nothing fresh on hand.
- Combine flour and salt in a small mixing bowl, add the olive oil and mix with a fork until the oil & flour start clumping together in small pea sized balls.
- Add the very cold water in two stages (1/4 cup at a time) and mix until dough is just combined.
- Dump onto a floured surface and form the dough into a ball. Cover with saran wrap and put in the freezer for 30-40 minutes, or in the fridge for a little bit longer.
- While the dough chills, slice 1 onion. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil or butter (or a little of both) over a medium flame. Cook the onions until caramelized (about 30 minutes), use a tsp of water to deglaze the pan every so often if some of the smaller bits are starting to burn. When they are done set aside in a small bowl to cool off.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, place in a colander with a sprinkling of salt to draw out a little moisture while the onions cook.
- Preheat the over to 400F (200C), take the chilled dough out of the freezer and put on a well floured surface. Roll the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick (or to dimensions that fit the pan you’re using, shape you want, etc..)
- Slide the dough onto the baking pan. Spread the caramelized onions in the center, leaving about an inch of space to the edge of the dough.
- Place the cherry tomato halves cut side up on top of the onions. Gently fold the edges of the dough up around the edge of the filling.
- Beat an egg and brush it onto the crust to get it golden brown in the oven (you won’t use the whole egg) Then give a generous sprinkle of italian herbs, salt & pepper.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove and sprinkle the goat cheese on top (I didn’t add it at the beginning because I didn’t want it to burn). Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes are cooked.
- Slice and serve with a little arugula or any other small salad.
- Pig out.