The tomato season is in full swing and I am in heaven. I have had tomatoes of all shapes, colors and sizes for just about every meal in the past week. I happily pair tomatoes with everything from corn and pasta, buckwheat, sausage, eggs and, of course, cheese.
Cheese and tomatoes are a perfect marriage no matter what the cheese – whether it’s a sharp English cheddar or a gooey, runny French brie – the cheese is the perfect foil for the meaty, juicy flavor. of a perfect tomato. But this week, I paired my tomatoes with sulguni, Georgia’s elastic brine cheese. If you have ever enjoyed khachapuri, the Georgian boat shaped cheese bread with melted cheese and often an egg on top, then you have met and surely enjoyed this soft, elastic and creamy cow or buffalo cheese from the Caucasus.
In the past, Georgian sulguni was much easier to find in Russia than fresh mozzarella or burrata, so I have used sulguni in Caprese salad, lasagna, and other classic mozzarella recipes. This is no longer the case – after 2014, intrepid and innovative cheesemakers from Russia started to produce excellent soft cheeses, but old habits die hard, and when I see sulguni in tomato season , my mind immediately turns to a tomato pancake.
I try to make a tomato pie or pie at least once a week when the tomatoes are in season. Love the combination of jammy and lightly cooked tomatoes coated in a thick buttery crust with a contrasting creamy topping. While the nights are getting a little chilly now, a vegetable pie is the perfect cozy comfort food and makes for a delicious simple dinner, on its own or with a simple salad of peppery greens.
Pastry no longer scares me as it once did, but I remain grateful to the simple galette, the prudent cook’s best friend. The main charm of this sturdy minimalist pie is a very simple dough that assembles quickly and painlessly in a food processor and handles just as easily: you just need to roll out the dough, then crease it around the filling that you desire. Errors ? You just call it “rustic”. The galette was my path to pastry making, a godsend because I took my first uncertain and untrained steps in this aspect of cooking, handicapped by not always finding the right flour and almost always uncertain. the quality of the butter. The galette was a supreme confidence booster, facilitating many early cooking victories. And that’s how this quintessentially French tart became part of my celebration of the tomato season in Moscow.
Like 19th century European chefs from Imperial Russia, I turned a French pie into a Russian dish, substituting classic Russian ingredients for it: creamy tvorog replaces ricotta or goat cheese while sulguni adds elastic traction. so desirable in a tomato pie.
The recipe that follows, however, is a slight twist on my usual Tomato and TVorog Patty recipe. A dear friend’s current obsession with pairing vegetables with a Caesar-style salad dressing was the inspiration behind the tweak. As she always gently tries my recipes, I decorated the tvorog garnish with anchovies and a spoonful of Dijon mustard made with tvorog and sulguni. This is a wonderful upgrade, resulting in robust and vibrant flavors that pair perfectly with ripe tomatoes. After the patty has cooled completely, I cover the top layer of cooked tomatoes with a layer of fresh cherry tomatoes and basil.
The only downside to a pancake is that it doesn’t keep very well and should therefore be eaten as soon as it has cooled to room temperature. But I did not find this to be a problem. Already.
Tvorog and tomato pancake with sulguni
Yield: a 10 inch pancake
For the dough:
- 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of corn flour or potato flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of fine salt
- 1/2 cup (118 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, then frozen in the freezer for at least 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons of vodka
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) ice water
For the filling:
- 6 oz (170 grams) tvorog or ricotta
- 2 oz (56 grams) grated sulguni cheese
- I egg and 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) fresh herbs: parsley, basil, mint, tarragon
- 1 anchovy or 2 tsp of anchovy paste
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Several robust grinders of fresh pepper
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups (700 mL) sliced tomatoes and / or halved cherry tomatoes
- Basil to garnish
- Olive oil for drizzling
Make the dough:
- Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times.
- Add the butter cubes and pulse quickly 6 to 8 times until the flour and butter turn into small pebbles. Do not over mix.
- Add liquids in a slow, steady stream until just combined. Turn the dough over on a well floured surface and shape a round and flat disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Make the garnish and assemble the pancake:
- Line a baking sheet or tray with several layers of paper towels. Place the sliced tomatoes on the prepared surface and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toss the cherry tomatoes, if using, with the teaspoon of salt and add them to the pan, cut side down. Put aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 ºF (220 ºC).
- Place tvorog and sulguni in food processor and blend until smooth. Add the egg yolk, herbs, anchovy, mustard and pepper and pulse to mix. Refrigerate the filling until you are ready to use it.
- Lightly pat the tomatoes with more paper towel to absorb their juice.
- Roll out the dough ⅛ inch thick on a well floured surface, then place it on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Spread tvorog mixture over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-½ inch circumference around the outside edge.
- Arrange 2 cups of tomatoes on top of tvorog mixture, reserving the remaining cup to garnish when the patty is cooked and cooled. Raise the edges of the dough on the tomatoes by folding them together in folds.
- Beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush the dough with the mixture.
- Bake the patty for 30 minutes, rotating it 180 degrees halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.
- Let the galette cool completely before eating it.
- Garnish the cooked and cooled galette with the remaining tomatoes and chopped basil.