Offbeat Bites: Goat Cheese Tartlets

Chef’s note: These delectable yet easy appetizers are great to serve to a crowd as glorified finger-food, and can be easily modified by using different sauces or cheeses to suit differing tastes. This particular combination is spicy-sweet and pleases most, but feel free to play around with different flavors.

Check out these other easy puff pastry appetizers and desserts: chocolate breakfast rolls (known as pain au chocolat) and more cheesy hor d’oeuvres.

Though the tarts make a sophisticated appetizer, they take little time and few ingredients.
Though the tarts make a sophisticated appetizer, they take little time and few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • butter, for greasing

  • ½ package frozen pastry dough, thawed

  • one egg, beaten

  • about ¼ cup of Thai sweet chile sauce

  • 4 oz. honey goat cheese log, cut into 8 slices

  • cracked black pepper, to taste

  • olive oil, for drizzling

 

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, grease the parchment with butter.

Rolling out the creases prevents the dough from breaking later on.
Rolling out the creases prevents the dough from tearing or splitting later on.

Unfold the pastry dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out any creases with a rolling pin, if needed.

A metal biscuit cutter is preferable, as the sharp edges don’t crush the pastry but cut it instead.
A metal biscuit cutter is preferable, as the sharp edges don’t crush the pastry but cut it instead.

Cut out 3-inch disks with a sharp 3-inch biscuit cutter. Move the disks to the prepared baking sheet.

The indentations are almost a guideline for your toppings. The outer ring will rise more than the inner circle, so you’ll want to keep your toppings in the inner circle.
The indentations are almost a guideline for your toppings. The outer ring will rise more than the inner circle, so you’ll want to keep your toppings in the inner circle.

Lightly press a 1 ½-inch biscuit cutter into the center of each pastry round, to make light indentions.

Docking (the fancy word for pricking dough with a fork) allows steam to escape from the crust, and encourages even baking.
Docking (the fancy word for pricking dough with a fork) allows steam to escape from the crust, and encourages even baking.

Prick every pastry disk multiple times with a fork.

The egg wash here serves the purpose of lightly browning the crust - otherwise the pastry dough becomes rather pale and matte.
The egg wash here serves the purpose of lightly browning the crust – otherwise the pastry dough becomes rather pale and matte.

Brush disks with the beaten egg.

Keep the amount of sauce to a minimum - it may squeeze out from under the cheese later on if there’s too much.
Keep the amount of sauce to a minimum – it may squeeze out from under the cheese later on if there’s too much.

In the center of each of pastry round, dab on about a teaspoon of chile sauce.

Dollops of cream cheese could work here as well, but I prefer the astringent flavor of goat cheese to offset the sweetness of the chile sauce.
Dollops of cream cheese could work here as well, but I prefer the astringent flavor of goat cheese to offset the sweetness of the chile sauce.

Top the chile sauce with one slice of cheese on each pastry round.

Though the finishes seemingly have little impact, they actually add quite a bit of pizazz to the tarts.
Though the finishes seemingly have little impact, they actually add quite a bit of pizazz to the tarts.

Drizzle the pastries with olive oil and sprinkle on black pepper.

They must be eaten when warm, but let them cool for about 3 minutes, otherwise you’ll burn your palate.
They must be eaten when warm, but let them cool for about 3 minutes, otherwise you’ll burn your palate.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the pastry is light gold. Serve immediately.

All photos by Lauren Quinn

 

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