Tangy goat’s milk cheese, aromatic basil and sweet cherry tomatoes are a great combination. Tomatoes, still warm from the garden, are one of my favourite warm-weather tastes but I also like making these appetizers throughout late autumn and winter when I’ve almost forgotten summer’s perfect, flavour-packed tomatoes. These can be made up to 6 hours ahead and stored at room temperature before serving. They’re still yummy the next day, although the pastry will not be as flaky. PS these taste fantastic with sparkling wine. Just sayin’ …
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
4 ounces chèvre, softened
3 tbsp butter, well softened
1/4 cup sour cream
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
Mini muffin pan
Ceramic pie weights or dried beans
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- With a rolling pin, roll out the sheet of puff pastry so it is approximately 10 x 12 inches square. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 12 equal sized squares. Gently press each square into an indentation in a mini-muffin tin.
- Bake the crust blind before adding filling: if you have pastry weights (ceramic beans), carefully fill each pastry shell to the top. Otherwise, use dried beans but you may need tweezers to pull them out of the shells after baking.
- Bake the pastry for about 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove pan from oven and extract ceramic weights or beans, then bake for 3 – 5 minutes more to allow bottom crust to dry out.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
While crust is baking, prepare filling:
- Chop basil.
- In a bowl, whisk together basil, chèvre, butter, sour cream and egg until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.
- With a small spoon, carefully fill cooked shells (leaving a little room at the top for the tomatoes).
- Gently place one tomato half, cut side up, in each tartlet, pressing lightly into filling. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper (use truffle salt if you have it).
- Bake tartlets in lower third of oven until custard is just set, about 10 minutes.
- Cool tartlets a few moments in the pan then gently remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 tartlets.