I have found the secret to the universe, and it is 8 oz. (200 g.) of fresh goat cheese and 2 eggs. Yes, that is an exaggeration, but when an easy-to-remember ingredient combination has so many recipe possibilities, it feels like an important discovery.
The quantities – 8 oz./200 g. and 2 eggs are enough for a 9-inch (23 cm) tart filling. The mixture is thick enough for a freeform galette, soft enough to fill some phyllo turnovers, and so subtly flavored that it can be used as a base for both sweet and savory creations. (Once baked, it has a mild tang and a rich, cheesecake-like texture I simply can’t get enough of.) It is sturdy without being heavy and travels well enough to withstand several miles of jostling in a backpack. (The savory galette in question here was tightly wrapped…but still. It didn’t even crack.) It keeps well, it won’t turn a crust soggy, and it tastes even better the next day.
I used the filling to stretch a small bunch of rhubarb into a tart and the results were sublime enough to share. The subtle goat cheese flavor plays off the sunshiny sourness of the rhubarb (rhubarb=sunshine in my mind since it’s the first dessert produce to appear in spring) for a dessert that tastes gorgeously complex, even though it’s incredibly simple.
Rhubarb Tart with Fresh Goat Cheese
Extra-Buttery Crust Dough (or your favorite piecrust recipe)
12 oz./350 g. rhubarb
¼ cup sugar
Goat Cheese Filling
8 oz. (200 g.) fresh goat cheese
2 to 3 Tbs. milk, optional
1/3 cup (70 g.) sugar, plus more for dusting tart
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
(PREPARE the pie dough.)
CUT rhubarb into thin 2 or 3-inch (5 to 8 cm.) sticks. Toss with the sugar in a medium bowl, and let macerate 30 minutes.
MEANWHILE, whisk the goat cheese in a small bowl until soft and creamy. Thin with a little milk if necessary. Whisk in the eggs, then the sugar and lemon zest until smooth.
ROLL out pie dough.
Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C. Drain any liquid from the rhubarb and add it to the goat cheese filling. Spread the filling in the prepared tart crust with a spatula. Top with the rhubarb sticks, arranging them with the colorful skin side up.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350˚F/180˚C and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely, then unmold and sprinkle with sugar just before serving.
Leek and Goat Cheese Galette
Whisk together 8 oz./200g. fresh goat cheese and 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups sautéed leek greens and 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, and season with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Spread the mixture in the center of an 11-inch round of pie dough, phyllo layers or layered buckwheat crêpes (galettes), sprinkle with ¼ cup more grated cheese, then fold up the sides to shape the galette. Bake 40 to 45 minutes at 350˚F/180˚C or until filling is firm and crust is golden brown.
Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Phyllo Triangles
Whisk together 4 oz./100 g. fresh goat cheese and 1 egg in a small bowl, thinning with milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Fold in ½ cup chopped chives, scallions, wild garlic, basil, or sorrel.
Set 1 sheet phyllo dough with long side closest to you, then brush it with melted butter or olive oil, and top with a second sheet. Brush once more with butter or oil. Cut the layered phyllo rectangle into 4 strips. Spoon 1 Tbs. goat cheese mixture at the bottom of each strip, then fold the phyllo around the cheese like you’re folding a flag. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining filling and 4 more phyllo sheets (you should have 16 triangles in all) Brush the tops of the triangles with butter or oil, and bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown.