I’m off work for Christmas, so I have time to mess about in the kitchen. Today, it came upon me that I wanted to experiment with savoury tartlets, so I made four different kinds — three of each, in a batch of twelve. Here they are:
From left to right: goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomato; goat’s cheese and pesto; stilton and prune; stilton and walnut. (I wasn’t sure how the prune will work, but I wanted to try something different.)
I started with half a pack of pre-made puff pastry: maybe one day I will make my own, but it would be hard to justify the time. I rolled it thin, cut out twelve circles, and then — maybe wrongly — blind-baked them. I used an egg-wash made only of yolks, since Fiona had just used two egg-whites for an unrelated project. Once the bases were cooked, I added the non-cheese ingredients: sun-dried tomato, pesto, prune and walnut:
Then I added the cheeses: rounds of soft goat’s cheese for the first two columns, lumps of stilton for the right. I put the cheese on top of the other ingredients rather then below, so that it would melt onto them.
Next up, rather than making the tarts into pies by giving them complete lids, I just placed a pastry leaf on each (cut from the residue when I’d removed the twelve circles), and gave them another egg-wash:
I gave them only a short time in the oven — about six minutes — since the pastry was already cooked, and the other ingredients needed melting rather than cooking. Out they came:
After twenty minutes or so cooling in the tiny, I lifted them out and trimmed off some of the excess cheese from around the edges of the stilton ones.
We (Fiona and I) tried them a couple of hours later. Paul and Mary would have complained about the poor lamination of the pastry, and to be fair there were some slightly raw parts, particularly in the leaves on top. I suspect they were allowed to get too warm — they were out on the work-surface for some time. I’ll make more of an effort to keep the pastry refrigerated next time.
But the flavours were excellent. No surprises that the goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomato one worked well, but I was delighted by both the stilton tarts. The prune one worked particularly well. I’d definitely do it again.
- Take photos of the finished tartlets in cross-section.
- Do my own photography — these photos were taken by my youngest son, who like all teenagers likes to wave the phone around while taking photos.
- Consider using shortcrust rather than puff pastry for this kind of thing: we really don’t want the base to puff up, as it wastes space for the filling, and fat leaves as decoration are just plain dumb.
- Bake for longer. Even if the base has been blind-baked and the filling doesn’t need to cook, the pastry top needs at least ten minutes, often fifteen, to cook through.