Tomato Cheese Tartlets

8.02.2012


I made my own quick puff pastry for this. Impressed? Well, it´s really easy since it uses the processor. Similar to making a pie dough or scones, the difference, of course, is that it needs to be religiously folded like an envelope between four and six times. Otherwise you´ll have a pie dough or a scone. Ha.

The recipe for our FFWD group is Tomato Cheese Tartlets, very Mediterranean, very Italian meets south of France flavor. Tomatoes, pesto or tapenade, mozzarella, puff pastry.

Clearly something to be eating while soaking up the sun in the Amalfi Coast or in Cannes while trying to enjoy a few days of vacation. You get the idea right? Do I need to tell you once again what a bleak winter day it is today? I know you´re getting tired of my endless whining, but it´s only for a few more months. Then we can switch places.


Since it´s all about the attitude, let´s go into the kitchen and make use of our lovely tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. I made neither a pesto nor a tapenade in the traditional way, I just threw sun dried tomatoes, arugula, basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in the food processor. 

The pastry came out really good. I processed flour, salt and butter not too much, leaving pieces of butter the size of peas and bigger. Then I added some ice water, a few more blitzes and dumped it onto the counter. Four turns and 1 hour in the refrigerator. Two more turns and the puff pastry is ready to use.

I cut it, pricked it and then froze it for half an hour (like our friend Kathy suggested in the Q&A) before baking it. There´s definitely something glorious watching puff pastry come out of the oven, golden, puffed and smelling like melted butter.


The topping is made up of all those Mediterranean flavors I simply am mad about: olives, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic. I already made my point with the ciabatta sandwich.

I baked the puff pastry with cherry tomatoes, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. They roasted a bit and were soft and had started to release their juice when I took the tart out of the oven. I immediately put the room tº fresh mozzarella on top, a few Tbs pesto/tapenade paste, olives, drizzle of olive oil. By the time I ended taking some pictures and took the first bite, the cheese had started to melt a bit. It was simply delectable, finger-licking good. 

I have to say that I believe the puff pastry is a must for the result to be so good, wether store bought or homemade, it should be all butter and fresh. 




This is a perfect appetizer, who wouldn´t want such an amuse-bouche? Who wouldn´t be happy eating tiny, fresh and flavorful little tarts like these while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive?

And for the host it´s a snap to prepare, since most ingredients can be made in advance.

An absolute winner in my book of recipes. And for the record, I´m writing this having used winter tomatoes, wait till I get my hand on sun kissed ones. 

Check out this page to see what the other Doristas made for today. 


QUICK PUFF PASTRY

from Flour, by Joanne Chang


The ingredients are exactly according to the recipe. I changed the preparation instructions a bit since I used the food processor instead of the stand mixer.

Ingredients
2 1/3 cup (330g) all purpose flour
½ cup (60g) cake flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 pound (454g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup ice water

Directions
For ice water, fill half a glass with ice cubes and add cold water. Reserve.
Put flours and salt in the bowl of the food processor fitter with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix. Scatter butter on top of flour, and using on/off button, pulse until butte is the size of lima beans, no smaller than peas. Add almost all of the ice water and process, in the lowest setting, for 5 seconds. If it´s too dry add the rest of the water and process for about 10 more seconds, until the dough comes together in a shaggy, rough-looking dough. Don´t over process.



Dump out the dough onto a generously floured work surface and pat it into about an 8-inch (20cm) square. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 15 to 18 inches. Flour the dough and rolling pin as needed to prevent sticking, but brush the excess flour from the dough when making the turns.



Make the first turn: with the aid of a dough scraper, lift one third of the dough from the top, and flip it down onto the middle third. Do the same starting from the bottom with the remaining third of dough. Turn the dough clockwise, so that the short side is parallel to the working surface and the long side with the opening is on your right side. Repeat the rolling into a rectangle, the folding in three and turn to the right another three times. A total of four times.





Refrigerate for 1 hour and no more than 2.

Repeat two times the rolling the dough, folding it in 3 like a business letter and turning it to your right. The total will be six turns.

Now your dough is finished but needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour before using it.
You can refrigerate it, wrapped in film for 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.





To make tartlet bases:

On a floured surface roll the dough about ¼ inch thick. Cut into squares using a long, sharp knife and making a clean cut, no seesaw motion. Transfer the squares to a baking tray, prick the dough well and freeze for half hour.

Preheat the oven to 350º F / 180º C and transfer directly from the freezer to the oven.

If you choose to bake with an ingredient on top, arrange it directly on the frozen dough.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until puffed and golden.



48 comments:

  1. This looks so good. I guess I never really thought of making puff pastry! I will have to try it!

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  2. Hell yes Paula I am super impressed!! Fabulous display and awesome recipe too. Now I'm really hungry :)

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  3. Your recipe for puff pastry looks really fun to make. I have on my kitchen bucket list to make puff pastry, I am so happy to find your recipe:-) Love the idea of making a delicious tartlet, what a delicious dinner for this pizza addict:-) Hugs, Terra

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  4. This would be my meal! I dream about food like this!

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  5. Wow, Paula! You've really outdone yourself! I have Joanne's book so I must try this - have a fabulous weekend!

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  6. Hello! I'm totally impressed. Puff pastry has always intimidated me but yours turned out so lovely. I just have to try now. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Your tart looks impressive enough but to make the puff as well? You win.

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  8. I am so impressed that you made your own puff pastry! Thanks for sharing the recipe too! These tartlets look amazing!!!

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  9. Wow..I always believed that home made puff pastry is something very difficult! Your tartlets look yummy!

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  10. Perfect!!! I'm sure the homemade puff pastry made this even more fabulous!!!

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  11. Beautiful! I thought homemade puff pastry was a lot more difficult. I will have to try it soon.

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  12. This looks amazing, you are my hero for making your own puff pastry!!

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  13. Your homemade puff pastry is very impressive, I have the Flour cookbook, will check it out! I also like the look of your topping, yummy cherry tomatoes. I agree this tartlet sends me to the south of France, close to the border of Italy;-)

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  14. Beautiful tart and a gorgeous rise on your pastry - I AM impressed! ;)

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  15. Oh yes, I am very impressed and very hungry. This is one beautiful tart!

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  16. Paula,

    Those horizontal layers upon layers of deliciousness...made from scratch...You're an ace in my book.

    You may want to join Pinterest and add some of these gorgeous photos there!

    Great post...

    Carmen

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  17. Paula, homemade puff pastry and beautifil toppings - what more could one ask for?! Your tartlet looks perfectly made and utterly delicious.

    Have a good weekend!

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  18. Own puff pastry? You just sent it to a whole new level :D
    Yum!!!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  19. Oh these look perfect and you made your own puff pastry, I love it. These really look delicious. Have a lovely weekend.

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  20. They look perfect and the fact that you made your own pastry, wow. Great job. We loved them too.

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  21. Paula, I am so impressed that you made your own puff pastry! Your tartlets are gorgeous…you took this recipe to a whole new level!
    I printed the recipe for the puff pastry and when it cools down a bit around here I will have to give it a shot!! Great job!! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  22. Aren't you just the clever one :-)
    Bravo! Well done.

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  23. Paula, I am with you - I hate winter. Your puff pastry turned out reall well - kudos. Great little tarts.

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  24. I am so inspired by your pastry-making! Your tart looks fantastic! I really liked these as well. Yum!

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  25. No way! You made your own puff pastry! I'm super impressed Paula!
    And it looks fantastic!

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  26. This looks absolutely gorgeous! Love your homemade pastry.

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  27. Great looking tarts, and I'm impressed you made your own puff pastry!

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  28. Yes I'm jealous you made your own puff!!!! Holy manoly. I joked about it but then got my butt off to Gourmet Warehouse... now I can't wait to try the recipe you posted. Thank you sooooo much!

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  29. Nice job! I've made gluten-free puff pastry and it's totally worth the effort.

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  30. This sounds delicious. I love puff pastry, and one day I will try making my own. You make it sound so doable.

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  31. It really does make a difference, doesn't it? The tartlets look great, and so tasty. What a great post!

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  32. Okay, you win, you're the Queen this week even if it is Winter. Making your own puff pastry is impressive, really impressive. I honestly thought the only person who did that was Martha Stewart. This sorta makes up for your not getting the polka dots to your satisfaction in the Nutella cheesecake, don't you think? Plus your truly creative touches to the tartlets were inspirational. I am definitely going back and trying again. Very, very nice, Paul.

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    1. Mary, I like how you sometimes type Paul instead of Paula; my friends at school call me Paul, have no idea why!

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  33. Paula - you may have changed my life with this post. I have yet to find a frozen puff pastry that I like and I have never had the energy to make my own. This recipe is my new favorite and I can't wait to make a Tarte tatin this weekend with apples I got in the orchard.

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    1. David, this is really so easy with the food processor there´s no excuse! I hope you try it, it´s so worth it!

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    2. Well it has taken me long enough, but it will happen this week!

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    3. Oh, my! Paula, the puff pastry was amazing! The terrine was a mess (tasted great but fell apart because we served it hot) but the pastry was flawless. I can't wait to make it again! At first I thought that this was never going to come together as a dough but, after just two turns, I could tell it was going to be wonderful. Thanks for this recipe! ~ David

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    4. SO glad it worked David! I´m always weary of explaining dough recipes, as I think they are never clear for first time makers.

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    5. Your fear of explanation is unnecessary! You did a great job - I was just second-guessing myself at every step!

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  34. Your homemade puff pastry is just gorgeous - what great layers. Thanks for the recipe, I'm going to have to try it. I'm so impressed that you're cooking along in the opposite season.

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  35. This makes me crave summertime! fresh tomatoes and this tartlet will make me very happy!

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  36. Pinned this, Paula, and will let you know when I try it out.

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  37. Paula - I am getting ready to do a post on Gascon cooking and will be using this quick puff pastry recipe. My question for you... I will be using a food processor that only has one setting: FAST! Should I pulse the flour/butter/ice water combo till it begins to clump? Or just whir it till it begins to clump? Thanks! xox

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    1. David, I left you a note in your blog!

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    2. Thank you soooo much, Paula! Your instructions make perfect sense. I was afraid if I finished it in the processor, it would just be pie dough! I will let you know how it turns out.

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  38. this one work in the morning or just like an aperitif, so tasty, crunchy and easy to prepare :)

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