[for young chefs] Corn and Cheese Galette (Tart)

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This freeform buttery pastry tart (“galette” in French) is as beautiful as it is delicious – full of sweet corn and cheesy goodness! The puff pastry sheet makes this recipe extra easy and extra quick. In the time it takes for the oven to preheat, your galette will be ready to go in the oven. Anyway who sees (and tastes) this galette will never know just how easy it is to put together! Easy enough to make for our young chefs at home, of course under adult supervision!

Galettes have all of the deliciousness of pies and tarts, with just a fraction of the effort. Following a few basic steps when handling puff pastry sheets opens up a whole world of quick and delicious appetizers and desserts, so its definitely an ingredient worth getting to know! Typically sold frozen (by Pepperidge Farms and Pilsbury), it can be super easy to work with if handled with care!

Being loaded with butter, the body heat from our hands is enough to threaten the puff pastry sheet’s integrity – so the key is to always keep it cold. The best, most reliable way to maintain that cold temperature (while still keeping it pliable enough to roll out or fold) is to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. This thaws the pastry more gently and uniformly than the recommended “40 minutes at room temperature” on the box. However, for last minute cookery, “40 minutes at room temperature” absolutely does the job.

For this recipe, we are choosing a simple filling that can be put together with some frozen corn and mozzarella cheese, although you could use pretty much any vegetable that is more than half way cooked and will not release a whole lot of steam when baked (thus making the galette soggy).

Let’s begin!

The ingredient list couldn’t be smaller – puff pastry sheet, corn, mozzarella cheese, salt and black pepper (optional).

We begin by making a quick filling, microwaving the frozen corn for a couple minutes and tossing in the cheese, salt and pepper (fluffed with a fork rather than spoon, to avoid melting the cheese too much from the warmed corn).

Then roll out the thawed (but still cool to the touch) puff pastry sheet on a countertop dusted with some all purpose flour. Place it gently on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and prick it all over with a fork. This will help release the steam as the galette bakes and prevent it from puffing up too much. Spread the filling on the pastry sheet, and fold the edges over like an envelope! And you are ready to put it in the oven!

20-25 minutes later, it will be golden brown and gorgeous, with melty bubbly cheese, and a slight char on the corn! Divide into 8 wedges or 9 squares, and eat right off the pan!

Corn and Cheese Galette

Makes one 8-inch galette

One 8-inch puff pastry sheet (such as Pepperidge Farms), thawed at room temperature for 40-60 minutes (should feel cold to the touch)
Few tablespoons all purpose flour for dusting and rolling
1 cup frozen corn (thawed along with the puff pastry sheet) (NOTE: canned corn may not work as expected with this recipe!)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) freshly ground pepper (optional)

Large baking sheet, parchment paper, rolling pin, fork

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a big rectangle of parchment paper on a large baking sheet pan and set it aside.

Place the corn in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and cover with a folded paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes. Dab the corn with the paper towel to soak up any excess water, and throw away the paper towel.

To the bowl, add the mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper (if using) and combine with a fork. Set aside.

Sprinkle some flour on your countertop and unfold the puff pastry sheet on it. Using a rolling pin, roll out the sheet in all 4 directions, extending it about an inch on all 4 sides. Make sure it is smooth and even. Place the sheet on the paper-lined baking pan. Using a fork, prick the sheet all over.

Pour the corn and cheese filling onto the center of the pastry sheet, and using the back of a spoon, spread it evenly over the sheet, leaving a 1-inch border (don’t spread it all the way till the edges).

Using your finger tips, fold the edges of the pastry sheet onto the filling (like an envelope), few inches at a time, and press down gently as you go. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on the pan for few minutes, then slide onto a cutting board. Cut into 9 squares and enjoy warm!

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