Having a package of puff pastry in the freezer is like money in the bank. It’s easy to create wonderfully impressive appetizers or even full dinners in almost the blink of an eye.
You are limited only by your imagination and the contents of your fridge, pantry and/or garden.
My preference is for tarts that highlight vegetables but no one is stopping you from adding a little tuna or sausage or prosciutto. Cheese is nice, but any kind works. I’ve used parmesan, goat cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, ricotta and fontina. All of them are delicious. But, if all you have is Monterey jack…go for it.
There are is vegan puff pastry out there, and delicious vegan cheeses. They have come a long way in the past few years. Don’t let that stop you.
You will find the recipes for the Puff Pastry Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Chives and Blue Cheese and Puff Pastry Pizza with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced Zucchini Flowers, Basil and Balsamic Drizzle here. That post is from May of last year.
I still have a glut of zucchini in the garden although I think it will soon come to an end. This year I discovered a way to prolong the harvest. Zucchini grows on vines, so trimming the older, ratty looking (or powdery mildewed) leaves encourages new growth and continued fruiting. I also fertilized the vines when I did the first pruning, something I didn’t do last year. Zucchini are considered heavy feeders.
As a complete aside, does anyone else think it is strange that the plural of leaf is leaves? Why not leafs? Leave has another meeting entirely. Just a random thought there.
Following are the ones for the two other tarts, Zucchini and Ricotta and Tomato and Mozzarella.
I modified the zucchini tart from a galette recipe on Smitten Kitchen who adapted the filling from a Cook’s Illustrated tart. It’s rare to find something entirely new in cooking, we all riff on each other.
Zucchini and Ricotta Tart
- I sheet of puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large of 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon of pesto (or a tablespoon of finely sliced basil leaves)
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
- Line a sheet pan with several layers of paper towels, spread out the zucchini slices out and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Let them drain for about 30 minutes, then gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with other paper towels.
- In a small bowl whisk the olive oil and garlic together. In another bowl ix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, 1 teaspoon of the olive/garlic mixture, and the pesto together. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat the oven to 410 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface, roll into an 11 inch square and place in the center of the prepared parchment lined baking sheet. With a knife, make a shallow cut about 1 inch in from the edge. Be careful to not cut all the way through. Brush the edges with the egg wash.
- Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the pastry, leaving the border uncovered. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the filling. Drizzle with the remaining garlic and olive oil mixture.
- Bake until the filling is set and the edges are golden brown. This took about 25 minutes in the middle of my oven.
Tomato Tart with Mozzarella
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 2 plum or small tomatoes (or 1 large heirloom tomato), cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tablespoons of finely sliced basil leaves (I didn’t have any)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into an 11-inch square and place in the center of the prepared backing sheet. With a knife, make a shallow cut about 1 inch in from the edge. Be careful to not cut all the way through. Or form a crust by folding over the edges about 1/2-inch. Brush the edges with the egg.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the dough, then poke the dough all over with a fork, make sure to go all the way through the dough. Note: I forgot this step and the entire center puffed up like a balloon when it was baked, sigh. It was ok though as I just poked it down and you couldn’t really tell after the filling was added. Don’t you forget it and poke after the parmesan is added.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
- Removed from the oven and cool.
- While the crust is baking and cooling, place the tomato slices on a triple layer of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Place a second double layer of paper towels on top and press firmly to dry the tomatoes.
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Once the crust is cool, sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the bottom and layer the tomato slices over the mozzarella. Drizzle with the olive oil/garlic mixture.
- Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the cheese is melted, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Let cool on a wire rack before slicing. A pizza cutter make short work.
And you might want to know where I was going with these amazing tarts. Do you? We have been having ‘puppy play dates’ with a friend’s retriever and our own Shanna. They are both now 5 months old, Inyo is 2 days older than Shanna. While the puppies play, the adults have wine, wonderful conversation and gourmet snacks. It’s a lot like what we used to do when our children were young. We have been rotating who is responsible for the food and the snacks have become increasingly wonderful as we are challenged cookery wise. It’s a lot of fun after the months of isolation cooking for just our own family.
Here are Inyo and Shanna, exhausted by several hours of active play. They look very pleased with themselves, and happy.
Even though he is about twice her weight, she gives as good as she gets.
I am going to take this to Fiesta Friday #401 hosted by Angie. If you would like to join the party or take a look at the recipes, craft or decorating ideas…just click on the link to this virtual event.