Why do you have to be so difficult??? It’s not nice.
Truly, pastry makes me want to scream, cry, flop on the ground, kick my legs and pound my fists. In that order, and then simultaneously.
I’ve mentioned before how pastry and I aren’t friends. When I made my onion-fig crostata for the first time, the dish only lacked a homemade crust (I had used ready-made). When we had company a few weeks ago, I remade the crostata and even made my own pastry dough with creamy mascarpone cheese in it. It chilled in the fridge overnight and dared me to roll it out every time I opened the door. At the last minute, I balked and used my back-up ready-make crust again. And I’m glad I did.
Yesterday however, I decided to put my worries aside. I wanted to make goat cheese tarts, but without a crust it would be a goat cheese puddle at the bottom of the oven. It was time to conquer my fear.
This can’t be that hard, right? I did copious amounts of research online, only to find that there are crazily varying schools of thought on pastry. Differing amounts of wet to dry ratios left me thinking that I would be lucky if this even formed a ball of dough. After formulating a recipe that included two kinds of cheese, I pulsed it in the food processor, fingers crossed.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I dumped my dough out of the food processor and it looked like dough. I smushed it around a few times, formed it into a disk, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and smiled smugly to myself as I put it in the fridge to chill, thinking that I had beaten pastry.
Fast forward…I roll out the dough into some crazy abstract shape that doesn’t resemble a circle at all (I’ve got to work on that), and realize that it is WAY too soft and mushy. I didn’t over-handle it, it was chilled for more than an hour…it was just too soft. I quickly transferred it to my tart pans and hoped for the best.
After blind-baking for way longer than I expected, and then baking uncovered for way longer than I expected, they somewhat resembled normal tart shells, albeit with what looked like twice the amount of butter. At least it was a start. Maybe I had a chance…
Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Tomato Mini Tarts
(Gratuitous tomato shot)
For tart shells:
Well, my attempt at the pastry didn’t quite turn out as well as I’d hoped, so I won’t be including it here. Either use ready-made pie crust or make a standard pastry recipe and add a little parmesan cheese to it. I added parmesan and goat cheese to mine, and the flavor was fantastic, but the overall consistency wasn’t right; not nearly as flaky as it should have been. Whatever way you choose, bake them off first according to the directions of the recipe prior to filling.
For roasted garlic:
1 head of garlic, peeled
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Seal foil and wrap another piece of foil around that. (It will leak if not double-wrapped.) Bake for 35 minutes, until garlic is soft. (You could also roast the whole head and squeeze out the cloves if you prefer.)
4 ounces goat cheese
1 head of roasted garlic
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus extra for garnish
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
tomatoes (depending on size, you’ll need a handful of small cherry tomatoes per tart, or 1 small tomato per tart if slicing)
(Ignore the incredibly stained baking sheet)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put goat cheese, roasted garlic, parmesan, basil and pepper in a mini food processor and pulse until combined.
Spread cheese filling among the bottom of 4 mini tart shells. Top with tomatoes. (Note: I used whole cherry tomatoes, but the end result was a bit too tomato-heavy. Next time, I will slice small tomatoes and layer them over the top of the filling instead.)
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes start to soften. (Time will depend on which tomato method you choose; less time for sliced.)
Remove from oven and top with toasted pine nuts and chopped basil.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
All in all, these were a success. My crust, while not perfect, had the yummiest hint of parmesan, which I loved. The creamy goat cheese filling was slightly tangy and the roasted garlic gives the whole thing a huge flavor boost.
I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I’m determined to get back into the kitchen and make the perfect pastry.
Until then: Karen – 0, Pastry – 1
In other news, I recently received my first award (and on the one month anniversary of my blog!)…thanks to Kristy at My Little Space for passing this on to me!