When you need to make supper really quickly, or you have unexpected guests and want to make something small and yummy to eat, these are just the job!
They are a great standby, as they can be made with things you keep in the freezer and cupboard, suitable for vegetarians, and are superbly easy to put together.
This, in particular, is such a simple recipe – in fact, it’s pretty much just a case of assembling. I think I could even teach a cat to do it.
The great things about these tartlets is that you can put anything you like on there – the ones I have made here are tomato and feta, but you could put on some pieces of ham or salami, oven-roasted vegetables – think of it as a sort of pizza, be creative with yours!
What you need:
1 packet of ready-made puff pastry (Saxby’s is good – I usually keep a few packs in the freezer and defrost them as I need them. However, I caution against buying ready-rolled; buy a block instead. It only takes a moment to roll it out, and it’s much better value.)
A tube of tomato purée – I like Gia Sundried Tomato Purée, it has a lovely dense flavour.
A block of feta cheese – goats cheese works just as well for this.
A sprinkling of parmesan
A few sprigs of rosemary and thyme – or, again, whatever herbs you happen to have lying around and want to use. You can use dried herbs here too, if you like.
A little balsamic vinegar (optional)
A little flour (for sprinkling on your worksurface)
A piece of silicon paper or baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Grease your baking tray with a little butter or olive oil, and line it with baking paper or silicon paper.
Unwrap your pastry and sprinkle a little flour on your worksurface. Using your rolling pin, roll it out into a rectangle shape that fits nicely onto your baking tray. You are looking to get your pastry roughly the thickness of a pound coin – if there’s too much there, just trim a bit off.
Carefully lift up your rectangle of pastry and place it on your lined baking tray.
Now, using a butter knife or the back of a spoon, gently spread tomato purée fairly generously all over the pastry. Make sure it goes right to the very edges, and don’t worry at all if it looks messy.
Using a sharp kitchen knife, gently score a grid pattern into the pastry. Use a light touch – remember, you are not cutting through the pastry, just marking out each tartlet. Make them as big or as small as you like, and again, they do not have to be exactly even.
Next, in the centre of each square, pop a piece of sundried tomato and a few torn up pieces of feta, or whatever cheese you prefer to use.
Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme over the top, and then sprinkle on a light layer of grated parmesan. Grind over some black pepper – if you are using feta and parmesan, you won’t need salt, but if you have chosen a milder cheese, you may wish to sprinkle over a little salt as well.
Place in the top of your preheated oven, and have a glass of wine!
The time these take to cook will vary depending on what you have put on top and the thickness of your pastry, but it is usually done in 25-30 minutes. Check it regularly – when the pastry is nicely puffed up and brown at the edges, it is done.
Take the tart out of the oven, and admire it!
Your scored lines will be very visible –all you need to do is run the knife gently over each line to fully separate them, and arrange your tiny tarts onto a plate.
Eat them whilst they are hot, they don’t like to wait!
TIP: If you leave these in the oven a little too long and they become a little dry, don’t despair! Just drizzle over a little balsamic vinegar or glaze – the flavour is gorgeous and it will rescue the pastry.
See you tomorrow.
Do you have any questions you’d like answered? Ever wondered how to make a bed properly, how to cook easy bread from scratch, how to make the perfect cake, how to get tough stains out easily and quickly? My friends, I am rubbish at many things but due to a strange addiction to Mrs Beeton in my early teens and a very accomplished group of friends and family, I have access to a fairly sizeable amount of domestic knowledge. Test me – send me your domestic conundrums and we will see what we can do!