30 November, 2015
Small bite sized treats are perfect for parties and celebrations alike. I love making tiny versions of tasty dishes. It is fun and there’s always room to be creative. Also it’s easier to transport if you are taking them to a party. Tiny sizes are easier to serve and makes no mess at all as you can probably eat it in single go.
When making savoury tarts, you can either use the basic shortcrust (butter, flour, eggs) or use my favourite savoury shortcrust pastry where I add ground pepper and cheese. That makes the pastry taste so much better on its own. Adding grated cheddar cheese gives richness to the pastry while freshly ground pepper add some heat.
The filling is entirely up to personal liking. Usually these are filled with some sort of a protein like smoked salmon, prawns, crab, poached chicken or tuna. Incorporate some fruit or veggies to add colour like, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, capsicum, apple etc. To bind these together, a seasoned dressing like cream cheese, mayonnaise or Greek yoghurt is used. Herbs are a must and popular options being, dill, parsley, chives, coriander and thyme. You can use olives, sun dried tomatoes, roasted capsicum, pickled cucumber or chillies to give these an extra zing.
I’m using ricotta, smoked salmon and pickled cucumber on one and another vegetarian option with just ricotta, cherry tomatoes and dill.
- A batch of savoury shortcrust pastry
- 1 cup ricotta
- Black pepper
- 1/2 Lemmon
- Small bunch of dill
- 1 cucumber
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- 6 thin slices of smoked salmon
- Cut thin strips of cucumber and let it soak in salted water or vinegar, depending on your liking.
- Roll out the pastry to 3mm thickness.
- Cover a tartlet pan to make tiny tartlet shapes, remove excess pastry. (I have used two shapes for my two varieties, but you can use the same shape for both.)
- Once all tartlets are shaped, refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170 °C.
- Take the pastries out and over with parchment paper, load with rice or baking weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until tart bases are golden brown.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a small bowl, mix ricotta, pepper, 1 tsp. lemon juice and stir to a smooth paste.
- Drain the cucumber on to a tea towel.
- Cut salmon in to 1 inch stripes and set aside.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
- Once tartlets are cooled, fill them with a teaspoon of ricotta, place the salmon and cucumber on top. Squeeze some lemon over salmon.
- For the vegetarian version, fill with ricotta and top with cherry tomato and decorate with a spring of dill.
- Fill tarts as close as possible to serving.