mini savory potato, leek, bacon & goat cheese tarts

I haven’t been blogging.

It’s not that I haven’t been baking. Believe me. I’ve been baking. A LOT. It’s just that sometimes I don’t have the time to follow through with a blog post.

But I miss it. I miss my ramblings. I miss telling y’all what I’m up to. I miss seeing your comments. I also miss thinking that my blog is inspiring y’all to bake.

So let’s give this another go.

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Last night I decided to pair up a kale chopped chicken salad (Kelly from the Gouda Life’s recipe) with a savory tart. Basically I made mini quiches. But since the manfriend isn’t a fan of quiche, I figured if I call it the “mini savory tart” he’ll think it’s pretty delicious and gobble it up.

I was correct.

Mini quiches would not have been a success. HOWEVER the mini tart was. And man was it good.

baconthinly sliced leekthinly sliced new potato

Thinly sliced new potatoes, leeks and bacon topped with a crème fraiche filling. Encased in a light and flakey pastry shell. Topped with a slice of goats cheese brie.

This tart packed a punch. A punch of amazingness.

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s great for dinner. But I’m also going to have leftovers for lunch today. And it’d be great for a brunch.

Maybe a Mother’s Day brunch? Good thing I’m sharing the recipe now eh? You can make it at home and impress mom.

mini savory potato, bacon & leek tarts

pastry dough

ingredients:

2 c. flour

1 tsp salt

¾ c. COLD butter, cubed

6-7 tbsp COLD heavy cream (or ice water)

eggwash:

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp salt

*this recipe makes enough for 24 mini tarts. So divide in half for the purposes of this recipe – freeze the rest. That way your dough is already ready when you want to bake more mini tarts!

Place the flour and salt into the bowl of your food processor (obviously this can also be made by hand, however, I really do like how my pastry turns out when I use the food processor). Pulse a couple of times to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Add all the cold butter.

Pulse again a few times – you still want pea-sized clumps of butter. Don’t pulse it too much.

Add the cold heavy cream, about 2 tbsp at a time. You’ll see that the dough will start to come together. You want it to hold together when pinched between your fingers, but still loose.

Dump the dough out of the bowl, gather it together and then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Get the filling and savory ingredients together.

crème fraiche filling:

7 ounces crème fraiche

2 eggs

Sea salt & pepper

¼ of a whole nutmeg, grated

savory ingredients:

4 mini potatoes, boiled and thinly sliced

½ leek, white part thinly sliced

2 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled on a paper napkin to soak oil, then chopped into pieces

Goat cheese brie, cut into wedges

Remove the dough from the fridge and generously flour your work surface. Roll out the dough. I always, always, ALWAYS roll my dough in one direction. Then I lift then entire dough, turn it a quarter, and roll it again. Repeat. That way you ensure that your dough doesn’t stick on your surface. And you have more control of the overall thinness achieved.

I use a 12 mini tart pan – so in order to fill each mold, I cut a square of the pastry dough, line the tart pan, trim the edges. Repeat. These tart pans are available just about anywhere … but feel free to use your regular muffin/cupcake pan. It’s the perfect size for individual tarts. Remember, we aren’t making bite-sized tarts, so no mini muffin tins this time!

Line each tart shell with a cupcake liner and then fill with chickpeas. Place the pan in your fridge for 30 minutes. This allows the pastry to rest again.

Heat your oven to 375 F.

Blind bake the tart shells for 15 minutes on the lowest rack in your oven.

At the 15 minute mark, take the pan out of the oven. Remove the chickpeas and paper liners and gently brush the entire pastry shell with your egg wash.

Return the shells to the oven, and continue baking on the lower rack for a further 8 minutes (I checked mine after 5 minutes just to be on the safe side).

Once blind baked … fill your tart shells!

layer potato, leek & bacon

Layer the tart shells with potato slices, then slices of leek, the bacon.

cover with creme fraiche

Spoon 3 tablespoons worth of filling over each tart shell. Add more if you have leftover filling. Use it all.

Top each tart with a wedge of cheese.

topped with brie - close up

Bake for 25 minutes on the upper rack in your oven (the bottom of your tart shells already baked, now you want the rest of it too).

baked tarts!

When done – remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before digging into the tart. They really are best at room temperature. Then try to eat just one. I bet you can’t. Which is why you should probably double the filling recipe and make 2 dozen of these. You’ll be happy you did. I promise.

 

pie challenge & the tart

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The baking crew and I were at it again.  This time, the challenge was pies.

Yay!  I heart making pies!

Cory made a beautiful apple, walnut, goat cheese pie (gorgeous … but a little dry: even he agreed).  Tom & Aimée made a really delicious pecan pie (nothing to fault with this one at all), and Meredith made a super flavourful apple & cranberry pie (she had some pastry issues … but the filling was spot on).

We went pie crazy! I went pie crazy!

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Not only did I make my chocolate – cranberry tart … but I also thought it’d be fun to arrive with some mini chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts topped with pumpkin ganache (talk about a real mouthful!).

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Mother of Jerome!? (It can’t always be Pearl right?) What was I thinking?

I was thinking … “I am not 100% sure that the chocolate – cranberry tart will turn out exactly as I want it too… so why not add a new component to an already loved classic and giver!”  Welcome to how my mind works … these are the types of internal dialogues I have … all.the.time.

Since we were baking these in honour of American Thanksgiving … I thought … pumpkin, pecans, chocolate, cherries and pie … individually they all remind me of Thanksgiving … combined … they SCREAM Thanksgiving (and deliciousness in a bite).

How could I *not* make these??!  Exactly.  I had no choice.  chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts with pumpkin ganache were a must.

This recipe is a combination of my own chocolate-pecan pie and momofuku milkbar‘s pumpkin ganache.  I had been flipping through my momofuku milkbar cookbook, spotted the ganache recipe and thought it would be the perfect complement to my tart filling.  Although you need to plan ahead (the ganache recipe calls for a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge), the entire recipe is dead easy.  And ridiculously delicious.

*bakers note: according to the recipe book, you MUST use an immersion blender to make this ganache.   

My chocolate-pecan-cherry filling actually originated from a pecan pie recipe: it’s what I consider to be my *go to* pie.  The one I make when I don’t have much time, when I don’t want to blind bake my pastry dough, and when I want to impress people.  The original recipe brings a smile to everyones face … I decided it was time to switch it up a bit.

If you’re new to pies and tarts and want to try something easy and delicious: this is the recipe for you.  Plus you’ll impress everyone when they see how pretty the tarts look with a little piped pumpkin ganache.

chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts with pumpkin ganache

ingredients:

basic pastry dough (I omit the sugar and water from the recipe)

momofuku milkbar’s pumpkin ganache

150 g white chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 c. cold heavy cream
1/3 c. pumpkin purée
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the white chocolate and butter in a medium bowl over gently simmering water (you don’t want the water to touch the bottom of your bowl), and melt.  You want the chocolate to be barely warm to the touch.  You can also do this in a microwave in 15 second bursts (stirring between each blast).

Transfer your chocolate mixture to a tall and narrow container – something that will accommodate an immersion blender (mine came with a 1 litre container-like bowl).  Add the corn syrup to the chocolate mixture and buzz with your hand blender.  After a minute, stream in the COLD heavy cream.  You’ll see that the ganache will come together in a smooth and shiny texture.

Blend in the pumpkin purée, salt and cinnamon.

Put the ganache in your fridge to firm before using; a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.  If not used immediately, this can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

tart filling

1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose b. flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. dried cherries, chopped
1 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. butter, melted

Heat your oven to 350 F.  Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface.  I was able to roll it out, cut out 12 pieces and line the 12 muffin cups in my pan.  I like to have my dough as cold as possible … so once I’ve lined the muffin cups, I return the pan to the freezer while I make the filling.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar and flour together. Add the eggs, pecans, chocolates, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crusts.

Bake for 20 minutes on the lower rack of your oven.  You’ll know that they are ready when the centre doesn’t jiggle.  Careful!  These babies are hot!  Corn syrup, pecans and brown sugar … all things that heat up quickly!  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

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I decided to re-whip the pumpkin ganache before putting it in the piping bag.  I just wanted to get it a little fluffy.  After quickly whipping the ganache, I filled a piping bag and piped each mini tart (using a star tip).

Don’t they look pretty?  They tasted pretty awesome too!

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ps … my chocolate-cranberry tart won best in show!

rhubarb raspberry cream tarts

There is so much that I want to blog about.

In the past few weeks I’ve made my first batch of gelato (huge success), batches of those smores bars (now I add the flaked coconut to the graham cracker base … a very tasty “twist” to the recipe), and I’ve been making these …

These are the best little tarts I ever did try.

Rhubarb.

Raspberries.

Cream filling.

DEE-LIGHT-FUL.

Oh my gosh … I wish I was nibbling on one as I write this …

It’s a tart happy little treat … full of promise of the summer to come.

It’s everything I love in baked goods.

Plus … it’s super pretty (double bonus).

I made a batch of my favourite pastry dough – and was able to get 18 tarts out of it.  The tarts were made using my cupcake / muffin pans as a mold.  I thought it was a good idea, since you need a “deep-dish” like mold – after all, you not only fill them with berries and rhubarb; but you also top them with a cream / custard filling.

The original recipe made a 9-inch pie … but who wants one 9-inch pie … when you can get eighteen mini tarts!

rhubarb – raspberry cream tarts

ingredients:

basic pastry dough (although for this tart, I omit the sugar in the recipe)

1 1/2 c. chopped rhubarb (about 4 stalks)

1 c. raspberries

1 c. sugar

2 tbsp flour

3/4 c. heavy cream

2 eggs

*bakers note – I halved the recipe each time I made it (the better to have fresh tarts for many occasions) – so the pictures below show the instructions and ingredients halved.  If you want to make a full batch at a time – follow the ingredient list above.  Sorry for any confusion.

Making the cream filling is super simple … and done in 3 easy steps!

Then you fill each tart with the berries and cream … and bake.

Pretty simple and easy eh?

Go on … make this!  And if you want … since it’s such a classic combination … go and grab some of those newly picked strawberries and turn these into rhubarb-strawberry tarts.

Sighs of happiness.