Little Goatilicious Tarts from Capricorn:
I had a problem today. One remaining goat’s cheese and a desire to make two different tart ideas. And, I was only making lunch for myself, I’m out tomorrow and away for a couple of days after that! So…I really didn’t want to cook too much food. Perhaps just one extra tart to heat up for supper tomorrow…
I’d got a quarter of a pack of puff pastry. Enough to make two smallish tarts or one larger one. So, in a fit of baking enthusiasm, I decided to try both my ideas. I tend to chop a ‘family size’ block of puff pastry (homemade or shop bought) into quarters, because a quarter is the right amount to top two individual pies or make two tarts. Then I freeze the quarters wrapped in clingfilm and defrost in the fridge overnight when I want to use them.
The first was to make a simple, one person tomato and goats cheese tart with a leek and thyme base. The benefit of using leek is that it is a sweeter, softer texture member of the allium family than onions and when pre-cooked makes a good base to showcase other flavours without overwhelming them. This is quite a classic dish but one which I love.
The second was my high-risk choice, I wanted to try using some of the pumpkin jam I have in the fridge. It’s very sweet, quite a vibrant orange colour and is made with pumpkin, sugar and a tiny amount of orange rind and raisins. And, I thought that would be rather good with goats cheese and something fresh and green to offset the richness of the cheese and the sweetness of the pumpkin jam – in this case, cooked and drained fresh spinach and some pumpkin seeds. It was a delicious mixture, I’ll have to avoid making it again too soon though because I managed to eat both tarts in one sitting!
- 250 g Puff Pastry (or 1/2 pack of Jus Roll all butter Puff Pastry)
- 1 Small Egg
- 1 tablespoon Creme Fraiche or Greek Yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon Plain Flour
- 3 Tomatoes sliced
- 1 Leek trimmed, cleaned and chopped
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Capricorn Goats Cheese
- 2 teaspoons Thyme leaves
- 2 or 3 Basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Jam I used pelagonia range
- 2 heaped tablespoons Spinach steamed, drained and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 Capricorn Goats Cheese
- 1 tablespoon Pumpkin seeds
- Pre heat the oven to 180c
- Gently soften the leeks and thyme leaves in olive oil over a low heat for 8-10 minutes
- Cut the pastry into four equal portions. Roll each one out thinly and put on a lightly greased baking tray. Chill in the fridge while you prepare toppings
- Slice both goats cheeses as thinly as possible
- Slice the tomatoes
- To make up the pumpkin tarts, spread two of the pastry bases with a thin coating of pumpkin jam, leaving a border of around 1cm around the edges
- Now add half the spinach to each tart, Season with black pepper and the nutmeg
- Top with sliced goats cheese and then scatter a few pumpkin seeds over each tart
- To make up the tomato tarts, brush the base of each tart with yoghurt or creme fraiche, then put half the leek mixture into the centre of the tarts, leaving a border of around 1cm
- Top with sliced tomatoes alternated with goats cheese
- Brush round the borders of the tarts with the beaten egg mixture and roll up to make an edging for each tart. Brush over the top of the edgings
- Place in the pre-heated oven for around 15 minutes, till the pastry is golden brown and the cheese topping is melting
- Shred the basil leaves over the tomato tarts and, if you like, pour just a little extra extra virgin olive oil over.
The nice thing about these little tarts is that you can play around with the fillings and find things that work for you. Capricorn Goats Cheese is an excellent cheese to use as a topping, with a nice low melting point. It’s also almost like having pre-packaged decoration, because you can just slice the cheese and place the pieces on top, to get a really pretty effect. I am planning to try parma ham and asparagus tips with goats cheese, and a tomato, olive, anchovy and goats cheese version too. I’m sending this to Ethel as part of her Somerset Goats Cheese Challenge.
Disclaimer: I was sent some of the ingredients for this from Capricorn Goats Cheese in order to take part in this challenge. The Pelagonia range pumpkin jam was also sent to me free of charge.