3.10.2018

Turning Sweet into Savory

I love making these small chocolate tartlets, and have found many dessert uses for the cream cheese dough.

I use it for mini tartlets, and for a variety of full-sized tarts and pies; I use an amended version for rugelach.

But I never crossed the line and made them with a savory filling... until recently.

I was looking for an appetizer to pair with a bottle of Whispering Angel Rosé. Knowing the wine pairs well with goat cheese, I thought I should create some little goat-cheese tartlets. You can read about this pairing on the Provence WineZine.

I took the original recipe for the dough (seriously, it could not be any easier) and added salt and rosemary. The first version begged for more rosemary; for the second version I doubled it. My taste testers said even more would be fine! (It doesn’t have to be rosemary, by the way - many other herbs would work well, too!)

Using the proportions of my chocolate tart recipe, I started on the filling.

I got fresh chèvre at the farmers market from Alethea at Fiore di Capra. Wow, I wish you all could get her cheeses! She is quite an artist. I enriched her chèvre with some mushrooms, shallot, Aleppo pepper, brandy, and an egg.

These tarts are best served warm from the oven; I tried them at room temperature, and they were lacking. Following the recipe, I give instructions on how to make them in advance so they can be reheated and served right out of the oven.

Now, I need to see what other recipes I can come up with for these savory tart shells!

~ David

Chèvre and Mushroom Tartlets

1cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into 3 pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces mushrooms, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon brandy
4 ounces fresh chèvre (goat cheese)
1 egg
3/4 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
piment d’Esplette or paprika

To make the dough, place the flour, salt, and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times. Add the butter and cream cheese and process until the ingredients form a ball of dough.

Divide the dough into 24 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten them slightly, then place them in the cups of a mini muffin tin. Shape each piece into a mini tart shell, then place the pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the mushrooms, shallots, and Aleppo pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the shallots are softened - about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk, mix well, then add the chèvre. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the cheese has melted. Remove from the heat and add the egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir quickly to blend thoroughly.

Using a teaspoon, fill each tart shell 3/4 full (the filling will expand during baking). Sprinkle the top of each tart with some piment d’Esplette or paprika. Bake for 28 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 24.

Note: to make these in advance, I recommend baking them for 22 minutes, then keeping them refrigerated. About 1/2 hour prior to serving, preheat the oven to 350°F and then bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.


30 comments:

  1. Small savory bites like this are so delicious. Who needs dinner after eating them.

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    1. It is so true, Gerlinde, we often will eat lots of nibbles rather than a full meal!

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    2. I completely agree! Maybe an array of several different mini tarts!

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  2. I'm loving your rosemary additions to tart bases, David. Such a fab way to inject extra flavour. These tartlets are gorgeous!

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    1. The last time I made these, John, are used a lot of black pepper in the crust with a tiny bit of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano! Fantastic!

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  3. Perfect twist. Love your creative ways ! Since warm days are knocking we shall gather outside a lot and this is one of those little beautiful surprises to be found in my basket :-)Thank you so much !

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    1. We love a good «apericeno» in our garden, and these will be front and center this year!

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  4. Looks wonderful, David. And since I much prefer savory to sweet things, I'd take these tartlets over the chocolate ones every time. Not that I'd turn the originals away, mind you...

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    1. That is what I like about you Frank... even though you prefer the savory, you will take one for the team and have the sweet, too!

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    2. It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it...

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  5. The creativity and expansive knowledge you show here is amazing!
    THANK YOU!!
    Bruce Baer

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  6. Wow. I love these! And I think I can make them!

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  7. I have such a weakness for goats cheese, so I could eat a whole plate of these in one sitting.

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    1. Luckily, Emma, we had company - otherwise we would probably have eaten them all ourselves, too!

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  8. These are just so pretty David, it almost seems a shame to eat them! I love the combination of mushroom and goat's cheese so I know I'd really enjoy these.

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    1. I am not sure I had ever used this combination before, Caroline, but I will be doing so again in the future! Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  9. Oh boy, I'm always on the lookout for new pastry recipes. I do have a mini-tart pan on hand, so this recipe would work well with it. I like the neat way you finished off the tops of each pastry- looks sort of like you rolled the top edges of each tart over a little to give a clean edge. Way to go!

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    1. Fran - I wish I had been that clever. Between the consistency of the dough and the tamper I use, I get pretty perfect crusts each time! If you go back to the chocolate tart post you can see the tool I use!

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  10. I really love the pastry you made with rosemary and cream cheese, David. I can think of many occasions when I'd serve these beautiful, little tartlets. They look heavenly!

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    1. The dough is very forgiving and so easy to make! Think of all the possibilities, Marcelle!

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  11. I have about 3 ounces of cream cheese in the fridge--these little gems sound like a great use for that cream cheese!

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    1. Susan - you are making me wonder how this would work with goat cheese instead of the cream cheese... a new experiment dawns...

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  12. What a beautiful appetizer David! And one can never have too many recipes for an easy pie dough!

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    1. I am sure you and I are not alone in this feeling, Inger!

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  13. David, these are beautiful. And they would be the only savory tartlets I could eat at a party. Because, as you know too well, everyone uses store-bought and they are full of garlic! Even if I was not allergic to garlic, I would think they were *over*-garlicked!

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    1. Oh, don't start me, Jean!! Someday, I dream of opening a garlic-free restaurant. Everyone would have great breath, too! :)

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