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Heirloom Tomato Galette & Feeling At Home

Heirloom Tomato Galette

I was going to start this by saying that I had not married into a typical Southern family but to tell you the truth, I can’t think of one typical Southern home. Here in the South you can be from the Lowcountry, the Midlands or the Mountains. Three different ways of life, three different Southern twang lingering after each word. Three different ways of seeing the sun shine bright and to make a tomato pie.

Homemade Ricotta

I married into a Southern family with history and well, more history. My family is nomad in comparison with a history of adaptation, made colorful by the people in it and the countries we come from. I married a guy with a keen ability to retain only the goodness of the past to move into the present. He understands that I will adapt both our traditions to keep connected to my family and call his, my home. The Lowcountry does feel like home to me now. I have embraced its food, its ingredients, the seasons (sort of) that bring picnics at the beach in December and ripe juicy tomatoes in March. And tomato pies.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

I had never had a tomato pie until I met my mother in law. Actually, I met the pie first. Bill brought it to a picnic date and I also fell in love with my future family that day. If she wanted to tie me up to South Carolina through its culinary traditions, she had me at "another slice honey?" Juicy tomato slices in a buttery crust, happily nested in a creamy filling with plenty of basil, garlic and topped with a generous handful of sharp cheddar.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

Nothing that my doctor would be thrilled about. Nothing that my brain, deeply anchored in its own culinary ways, could compute. Nothing that I would admit craving as soon as Spring rolls around. And yet, I could not control my will power and had another generous slice. I felt completely and utterly happy, satisfied and calm. Giddy from my brain to my toes. From a tomato pie. Alright…and from the man before me.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

That very same day, I vowed to do something my grandmother and mother had advised years before: never ever, under any circumstance try to replicate that pie. I had now entered the potential "it’s not quite like when my mom makes it" territory. I ain’t no fool…Instead I decided to create my own version. The one adapting ingredients we have here to flavors and tastes from back home. A different approach to the same theme. A Tomato galette with homemade ricotta and plenty of oregano. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

Heirloom Tomato Galette:

Serves 4 to 6:

For the crust
1 1/4 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or regular all purpose flour if not gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup icy cold water

For the ricotta filling:
1 cup ricotta (I use this recipe to make homemade ricotta)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano

3 to 4 heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon parmesan
2 teaspoons olive oil

Prepare the crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour, salt and oregano until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Gradually, stream in the cold water until the flour just comes together. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.

Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Slice the tomatoes and spread them out on layers of paper towels to drain some of their moisture out while you roll out the pastry.

On a large surface area, well floured, roll out the pastry dough to a 10-inch circle, spread the ricotta filling but not all the way to the edge. Leave a 2-inch border of pastry all around. Layer the tomatoes on top. Gather the edges of the pastry dough, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don’t worry about being even – these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways…). Sprinkle the tomatoes with parmesan. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly, drizzle with the olive oil, some more oregano and serve.

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Natalie Atick March 20, 2012 um 10:59 pm

Wow! This looks amazing! Big fan of your work =)

Ilke March 20, 2012 um 11:06 pm

You are smart with the twist in your own way.
I married into a Southern family as well and I am really happy that how they adapted me into their family. And when we decided to get married, my advisor who is Turkish as well said "I dont think you should marry this Southern guy, because their family values are not the same as our Turkish ones and you are more likely to get a divorce." He had no idea how strong the family is!

Lauren March 21, 2012 um 12:20 am

I lovelovelove tomato pie. Grainger County tomatoes, from near where I grew up in Tennessee are the best, but I'm committed to trying again when we have a crop of our own from Neel's garden. When that happens, I'll make your recipe and my own, not to compare, but to enjoy the bounty. xo

Averie @ Averie Cooks March 21, 2012 um 3:51 am

My favorite (and only) toppings I really eat anymore on pizza are tomatoes and pineapple. It's like a Hawaiian pizza met tomatoes on the way to the oven and skipped the bacon part.

Your pizza looks sooooo perfectly amazing! I want to reach right thru the screen and devour!

ChichaJo March 21, 2012 um 8:44 am

Looks fantastic! And delicious! I love the way the crust looks…like I just want to crack into it 🙂

Oooh, yes, I always try to stay away from dishes that are "mom's" 😉

Valérie (France) March 21, 2012 um 11:42 am

Elle est bien garnie et d'antan comme j'aime
Je te souhaite un mercredi ensoleillé

Zee March 21, 2012 um 12:01 pm

Amazing work!

Anonymous March 21, 2012 um 2:55 pm


I've just bought your wonderful book and I can't stop reading it;) It made me really amazed by your grat work and photos and I hope to learn a lot.
Thank you so much for publishing this book!

All the best and rock on:)
Greetings from Poland

Anonymous March 21, 2012 um 2:56 pm

P.S. I'm here everyday! 🙂

baker-in-disguise March 21, 2012 um 3:14 pm

Just one word.. Beautiful!!!

Bake-A-Holic March 21, 2012 um 6:06 pm

I love heirloom tomatoes! So pretty and rustic. This galette looks amazing!

Bake-A-Holic March 21, 2012 um 6:06 pm

I love heirloom tomatoes! So pretty and rustic. This galette looks amazing!

Bree March 21, 2012 um 6:15 pm

Looks gorgeous!

lebenslustiger March 21, 2012 um 6:19 pm

Yum! I love everything with dough and tomatoes… so summery… Wonderful Pictures as well

IKABAGS March 21, 2012 um 6:32 pm

Looks yummy and great photos 🙂

ary/enza March 21, 2012 um 8:39 pm

mi piace il tuo blog 🙂 splendide ricette e ti seguo con piacere 🙂 se ti va passa da me anche seprime armi 🙂 ciao 🙂 sono alle

erin March 21, 2012 um 9:27 pm

Oh I am so jealous that you have tomatoes already! I used to make a lovely tomato pie with biscuit dough, but have not made it for years since giving up gluten. Thanks for the inspiration to give it a go with some new flours! I will be visiting my husband's family in Tennessee (mountains) in a few weeks…I bet they have tomatoes! Thanks again.

Jen March 21, 2012 um 10:06 pm

It will be months here in Calgary until we hit tomato season. Your pictures are absolutely stunning.

cathy@noblepig March 21, 2012 um 10:07 pm

Beautiful story and boy!

maduxcla March 22, 2012 um 1:03 am

argh! what happened to the old great double version US/metric measurement? I just adore your blog, but when i try to turn them into metric there are so many converter charts on the net, each of them reports a different scale, so i'm never sure which one to follow 🙁

Melissa | Dash of east March 22, 2012 um 1:34 am

I am a Southern transplant as well, and after about a decade here I've fallen in love with the South, the people and the food… oh, the food.

Love this tomato pie. It looks so good, I wish I was with you to share a slice!

Helene March 22, 2012 um 2:01 am

maduxcla: is a great one. Cheers!

Kiran @ March 22, 2012 um 3:56 am

Lovely galette — and with heirloom tomatoes, perfect to celebrate the colors of spring 🙂

Hope you are feeling better!

Mary March 22, 2012 um 6:04 am

Helene, Wow – this recipe got my attention. It doesn't get any better than that. I can't wait to make this. I will have to wait a bit longer until the California markets have some really good tomatoes.

Anonymous March 22, 2012 um 7:58 am

I love this post! So endearing, evolving and heartfelt… Lovely photos, recipe, recollections.. thank you for this.

Anonymous March 22, 2012 um 9:26 am

Your gorgeous story makes this recipe so personal, like I have been making it for years!

Lynda March 22, 2012 um 6:25 pm

I've got to try making this once our tomatoes are in!

Kitchenette Finds March 22, 2012 um 8:15 pm

That looks beautiful and delicious, my favourite combination! Tomato season comes much, much later in Western Canada, but they are always worth the wait.

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 22, 2012 um 10:44 pm

Seriously looks like the most delicious thing EVER!

Full-Flavored Life March 23, 2012 um 1:20 am

This looks amazing!!

tania@mykitchenstories March 23, 2012 um 7:45 am

These images look amazing. So many people cooking with heirloom tomatoes nd carrots ……. these look delicious

Paola March 23, 2012 um 12:26 pm

I'm hungry… I'm running to cook this deliciuos recipe! Thanks.

Harini March 23, 2012 um 1:36 pm

I have some of my loot of heirloom tomatoes left and I had thought of making a yeasted galette but somehow this seems nicer. Will be making it soon!

ZUCKERWANDLERIN March 24, 2012 um 9:51 pm

i have to notice this recipe, i have to try it soon, it looks so good!
and, i love your blog!

angela@spinachtiger March 27, 2012 um 1:06 pm

I love a tomato pie. It says the cook appreciates food, is earthy, grateful for this fruit we call a vegetable. I too married into a Southern family, but since no one cooks since Meemaw died (my husband's grandmother) all of our get togethers are Italian, which makes for interesting. I feel I missed out on a few traditions.

Emi March 27, 2012 um 7:35 pm

This recipe sounds intriguing! I will definitely try as soon as I harvest my own heirloom tomatoes in September (I live in BC)! For now, I'm fulfilling my hunger with your photographs: ) Beautiful work, Helene!

Meg@thelegaltart March 29, 2012 um 9:23 am

Gorgeous, I cna taste it now

Pétra April 4, 2012 um 4:06 am

I am so behind on my blog reading. I've missed your beautiful photos and yummy recipes I'll definitely have to make this one when we finally get tomatoes in Portland.

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