Once summer squash season rolled around, we decided there was no better way to showcase the beloved bounty than in a savory ricotta pie that uses both zucchini and pattypan squash and beautiful squash blossoms.
We started with a buttery crust laced with whole leaves of thyme, lemon verbena and basil for a strong foundation, as well as aromatic and floral notes in every bite. The filling, meanwhile, has lemony notes and calls for an egg to keep the cheeses from getting too watery. On that note, make sure you let the slices of squash sit in the salt for as long as possible. Not only will this season the squash, but it also helps extract any excess water.
A big part of this pie is its visual appeal. Because summer foods are so vibrant in color, little technique is usually required. We did step it up a bit though to take it from pretty to stunning: The small squash roses that dot the pie will truly wow your guests. We also recommend not skimping on the squash blossoms, because after baking they tend to shrivel up to about half their size. If the amount looks like it perfectly fits the pie before baking, pack a few more in there for good measure.
Squash Blossom Ricotta Pie
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour, plus chilling and cooling time
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, plus chilling and cooling time
For the Pie Dough:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
6 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cubed
½ cup water, iced
1 tablespoon lemon verbena leaves
1 tablespoon rosie basil leaves
½ tablespoon flowering thyme leaves
For the Sliced Squash:
2 medium (12 ounces) pattypan squash, thinly sliced using a mandoline
1 medium (7 ounces) zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise using a mandoline
2 tablespoons salt
For the Ricotta-and-Goat Cheese Filling:
½ cup goat cheese
½ cup ricotta
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, zested
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Assembly:
Ricotta-and-goat cheese filling
Patty pan squash slices, degorged squash blossoms
Zucchini slices, degorged
1. Make the pie dough: Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar and whisk together until fully incorporated. Add in the cold butter and, using a pastry cutter, work into the flour mixture until the butter is in pea-sized chunks. Slowly stream in the cold water until a dough begins to form. Add the herbs and knead into the dough until just incorporated, being careful not to overwork. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. While the dough is resting, salt the squash: Place the slices in a colander over a sink. Sprinkle the slices with the salt and let the slices degorge for 30 minutes. Lightly rinse the squash and lay out each slice in between layers on paper towels to dry completely.
3. Make the cheese filling: In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add all of the cheese filling ingredients except the salt and mix until all the components are fully combined. Season with salt and reserve in the refrigerator until needed.
4. Assemble the pie: Roll out the dough on a floured surface into roughly a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over a 9-inch pie dish and trim off any excess, leaving about an extra inch of dough in order to have enough to crimp. Crimp the dough all the way around and, using a fork, prick the entire bottom surface of the pie plate.
5. Place a sheet of foil over the dough and press lightly so that it is touching the dough. Weigh down the dough with baking beans to ensure that the dough does not rise during baking. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and take off the beans and foil. Bake uncovered 15 minutes more, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Spread the cheese filling on top of the pie crust and shingle with the pattypan squash slices, then lay the squash blossoms over the slices. Roll the zucchini slices tightly lengthwise from one end to the other to form the zucchini roses, and place them between any empty spaces around the squash blossoms. Bake until the squash is cooked and the pie is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.