How to Cook a Mockingbird: Rustic Fig Ricotta Galette

Rustic fig ricotta galette. Photo by Megan Marino.

Rustic fig ricotta galette. Photo by Megan Marino.

It’s that time of year again when the heat subsides and people rediscover their convection ovens.

This rustic galette, which combines earthy, sweet figs and creamy ricotta with flaky, tender dough, is a great way to take advantage of autumn figs before they’re gone for the winter.

While this tart baked in my oven, aromas of caramelizing brown sugar, vanilla bean and buttery, fresh pastry instantly transported me to a fall frame of mind.

Rustic Fig Ricotta Galette (serves 7)

Pastry Ingredients:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 sticks very cold butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup ice water (more if needed)

Pastry Directions:
*Everything here starts with the butter! Cut the sticks into small cubes and place them into the freezer.
*In a food processor, thoroughly mix the flour, sugar, zest and salt.
*Next, get your butter and ice water ready. Then blend the butter into the flour until the butter is reduced to small, pea-size bits.
*Slowly stream in the ice water, while the food processor is running. Stop adding water when the dough just barely starts to come together. It’s a fine balance: Too much water will give you sticky dough, but too little will make it too brittle to work with.
*Split the dough in half, wrap both pieces in plastic wrap, flatten them into disks and place both in the refrigerator.
*Note: This recipe makes an extra disk of dough, so feel free to double the filling and make two galettes (or you can use the extra pastry disk to make a nice pie!).

Filling Ingredients:
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ a vanilla bean, seeds only
12-15 black mission figs, sliced
2 tablespoons reduced or aged balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Filling Directions:
*In a large bowl, beat together the ricotta and cream cheese.
*Mix in the vanilla, half of the brown sugar and the vanilla bean seeds.
*In a separate bowl, mix the fig slices, balsamic vinegar and the remaining brown sugar.
*Set both bowls aside.
*In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together to prepare an egg wash; set this aside.

Final Steps:
*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
*Take one of the pastry disks from the refrigerator and let it warm in room temperature for a minute (this makes it easier to roll out).
*Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Then gently roll the dough into a round shape with a diameter of roughly 14 inches.
*Transfer the rolled-out dough to the baking sheet and spread the ricotta mixture on top, leaving at least a one-inch border.
*Lay the figs on top of the cheese in an overlapping formation and drizzle the remaining balsamic vinegar over the top.
*Here’s where things get rustic: Fold the border of the pastry over onto the filling and brush the folded-over dough with the egg wash.
*Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden and the filling is bubbling.
*Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
*Optional: Try sprinkling sugar over the baked figs and taking a torch to it. A brulee (burnt) top sprinkled with a pinch of fleur de sel adds a caramel crunch that screams fall!

Get more of Megan Marino’s recipes at her blog, How to Cook a Mockingbird.

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