Saturday, April 01, 2006

Savory Tartlets

Want some fun? I suggest you make a few savory tartlets! This is such a creative activity! It feels like being 4 again and playing with playdough or beads or whatever. Seriously.


I was lucky enough to be invited to a potluck party last Friday and the host asked me to bring a hors d'oeuvre. She said other people in charge of appetizers were bringing salads, a vegetable tray, nachos and salsa... and that I should try to bring something else. I didn't really have time to go grocery shopping for that event but my fridge was well garnished already (which is pretty unusual). Unfortunately the content was very diverse: one tomato here, a piece of cheese there... Nothing in quantities large enough to make a big dish. It was the perfect occasion to bake bite-size quiches!

First I prepared a pâte brisée pie crust following this recipe. Not knowing how many tartlets I would have time to bake, I doubled all the ingredients (but ended up freezing half of the dough). Half a pound flour was enough to make 5x15 (yes! That's 75!) tartlets.

Then I emptied my fridge and started composing different fillings, following my inspiration.

Each batch was baked in a silicon mold at 350F (180C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

I. The first batch of 15 tartlets was made of:
  • Roma tomatoes (I think I used one or two), cut in small cubes (I removed the seeds and juice)
  • Black olives (maybe a dozen), pitted and sliced
  • Cheese. I used Saint Marcelin in some of the tartlets (it's a creamy, creamy cheese from the Alps, so creamy it's usually sold in a little cup) and Fourme d'Ambert in others (a soft blue cheese from central France).
I placed a little piece of cheese at the bottom of each quiche crust then filled them up with tomato and olive dice.


II.On the left of the above picture is a series of whole grain mustard mini-quiches. I used:
I beat all the ingredients together before pouring the mix into the pie crusts.
Since the custard is a little bit liquid, using a silicon mold can be tricky... I placed mine on a cookie sheet to give it the necessary firmness.

III.The batch on the right of the above picture was made as follows:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • walnut chunks
  • Gruyère cheese.
I made a custard by beating together the egg, cream and seasoning. I poured 1 tablespoon of this mix in each pie shell. I added tomato cubes and walnut chunks on top (they sank). Then I sprinkled with grated cheese.


IV. For the 4th batch I made a classic "tarte à l'oignon" (one before last on the above picture) with a personal touch (some wine!). I used:
  • 1 chopped yellow onion (coarsely chopped, that is)
  • some butter
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons white wine (Chardonnay or Pino Grigio)
  • custard made of 1 egg, 1 tablespoon crème fraîche, salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • Gruyère cheese
I cooked the onion in butter (about 1 teaspoon) until transparent (a few minutes on medium-high heat). Then I poured the wine and simmered for about 10 minutes.
I filled up the pie shells with 1 tablespoon custard, poured the onions on top and sprinkled with grated cheese.

V. Last but not least (although it's the easiest one!), I simply placed a piece of cheese (Saint-Marcelin or Fourme d'Ambert) in the pie crusts and toped them with half walnuts. It's shown in the middle in the above picture.

I placed all the tartlets on a cookie sheet and brought this tray to the party. It was so funny watching people trying to figure out what was in each of them!


12 comments:

Susan in Italy said...

Mmmmm...God I'm hungry! I'll bet you were the hit of the party.

Susan Cheng said...

Gorgeous little tarts! unfortunately I am too lazy and would end up with the bulk package from Costco....

Estelle said...

Dear Lord! She used the C word! :-)

Anonymous said...

Question for the chef...how did you cut out each crust so perfectly? Did you use a cookie cutter and then place it in the silicone mold?
-Tammy

Estelle said...

Hi Tammy,
It's a good point! I forgot to mention that... Yes, I used a round crinkle-edge cookie cutter (maybe 2" or 2.5" in diameter). The dough was rolled out pretty thin (maybe 2mm?) on a mat (it's easier to remove the dough rounds without damaging them if they're on a flexible surface).
Lamia told me about a tool to shape the shells without having to roll out the dough but I'm not sure exactly how it works.

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Estelle,

You really should write a cookbook... I'm sure it will be a bestseller!!! Thanks for sharing your recipes, they are wonderful. The accompanying photos look so delicious! :-P

J'ai passe une annee en France il y a dix ans. Je regrette de ne pas avoir mange plus... La cuisine francaise est tout simplement une merveille!

A fan of your blog

Estelle said...

Wow! Thank you very much! I'm very touched. :-)

Cindy said...

Those look so good, perfect for appetisers.

Tami said...

I am going to make these tartlets as soon as I get a chance. I really enjoy your blog and I have provided a link to your blog on my website cheftami. If you have a chance check out my blog at http://cheftami.blogspot.com/

MrChips said...

These were yummy little tartlets and I was inspired to make my own. I shall try to update the pics on my blog.

Chris said...

Estelle---it looks like you used
DeMarle (French bake ware) items to make your tartlets because they're so perfect! Is that so?

Estelle said...

Hi Chris,

I used a very basic metal cookie cutter (round crinkle-edge cookie cutter, 2.5" in diameter) and a LeCreuset silicon mold (but any brand would do!). There are 15 little tartlet molds on it (3 rows or 5), 2" in diameter each.