There’s not much better on a Friday evening than mouth-watering, delectable dinner that’s put together with ingredients you happen to have on hand. Having discovered some time ago goat brie at Trader Joe’s, I thought maybe I would incorporate it into some sort of puff pastry tart for dinner. Looks like any brie but this one has a strong, goaty flavor that’s positively sublime, and, yes, now I am an addict. If you’re not able to locate it, the combination of a small wheel of brie chopped and mixed a small amount of chevre, goat cheese, will also work quite well. I wanted a creamy backdrop to support the brie and one small container of ricotta was the perfect foil, rich and spreadable but not as gooey as mozzarella. An egg to bind, some fresh basil, zucchini ribbons, a quick drizzle of a fragrant, green olive oil and I had one gorgeous, undemanding dinner. The only fly in the ointment was neither of my boys had gotten home yet. Jimmy was speaking at some conference and James catching up with a co-worker he had worked with on a gubernatorial campaign. All fine and well but, hey, dinner’s ready! I chased away the feeling of discouragement by serving myself the prettiest part of the tart. Cut into quarters, my portion had the most browned, runny, chewy bits of cheese. Not exactly first prize but I’ll take second prize any day. I had prepared a splendid salad of leaf lettuce dressed lightly with creme fraiche; the requisite glass of Malbec had been poured. Each bite was a song of flavors. The buttery puff pastry gave a satisfying crunch as did the barely cooked zucchini. But the goat cheese was the star of that musical. Not too sharp and creamy-dreamy, the brie made its presence known in every bite. Happy Friday night to me!
Puff Pastry Tart with Goat Brie, Ricotta, Basil and Zucchini
This tart may be made with fresh baby spinach or fresh basil leaves. If you have a handful of some strong, flavorful cheese and you want to get rid of it, it’s most welcome in this dish. I’ve used the odd bits of Gruyere and even used the last quarter cup of bagged, shredded Publix brand 4-cheese Italian . One cup of marinated artichoke hearts roughly chopped is lovely, too.
- 1 puff pastry sheet, I use Pepperidge Farm, keep chilled until assembling tart
- 1 wheel goat brie 4.4 ounces, or cow’s brie with 3 or 4 ounces of chevre added
- 1 15-ounce ricotta, fat-free is great…that’s all I use in this tart
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 12-15 zucchini ribbons made with a vegetable peeler or mandolin
- fresh spinach, washed and dried, as much as you like to scatter on top, optional
- fresh basil, cut into strips, optional
- 1 cup marinated artichokes, drained well and roughly chopped, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil to drizzle when serving
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a medium size bowl place a paper towel. Gently dump the ricotta cheese on the paper towel, bring the corners of the towel around the cheese and softly press all excess liquid away. Turn cheese back into the bowl and discard towel.
- Roughly cut the brie into 1/2 chunks and add to ricotta.
- Add the egg to the cheeses.
- If using spinach, basil or artichokes add to cheese/egg mixture and mix well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover baking sheet with tin foil.
- Open puff pastry on floured surface.
- With a rolling-pin, use a cold wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling-pin, quickly roll puff pastry out to a 12″X15″ rectangle. Don’t fret. It doesn’t have to be perfect but you do want to keep the dough cold so move fast.
- Using your finger or a small brush and a little water paint a 1/4″ rim around the entire rectangle.
- Fold 1/4″ of dough from the edge each of the four sides of the rectangle onto the wet area to make a collar or dam, if you will, to keep in the cheese mixture. Press the dough firmly to adhere to the water painted dough.
- Cover the puff pastry evenly with the cheese mixture just up to the folded edge and smooth the top.
- Arrange the zucchini on top of the cheese, flat and on its side to resemble a lovely jumble of green ribbon.
- Bake 45-60 minutes until corners are browned and top is slightly browned.
- Cool 10 minutes before serving.