Puff pastry tarts are a great option for a quick and easy summer time (or any time!) lunch. I love this version stuffed with tasty ricotta, cherry tomatoes and chorizo. You can prepare them in advance, and they’re easily impressive enough to serve to guests.
After finally getting a nice hot weekend (too hot, you might know), I found myself looking for something for lunch that could be made in advance and served at room temperature.
My old university friend Mel was coming for lunch, together with her delightful family, and I wanted to serve them something tasty that wouldn’t leave us all wilting like limp lettuce leaves the moment we took our first bite!
An obvious choice was this Spanish omelette, which I always enjoy making (hardly any ingredients, cook it long and slow, and there’s a delicious lunch!). But I needed something else…
After moseying around my blog archives and the web for a while, I finally came up with the idea of making some little individual puff pastry tarts. I’d made big versions before (check out this baby tomato, pesto and prosciutto tart), and they’d always worked really well. Easy to make, and don’t need to be served piping hot = perfect!
At first I was going to make small flat squares, but finally decided to take the cue from my friend Nagi of the wonderful blog Recipe Tin Eats and fold in two corners to make them a little different – sort of turnover style, if you like. Please do check out her cute Ham and Cheese Puffs, along with the rest of her blog (you won’t regret it, I promise you – she’s a genius, that girl, always finding some new, easier and tastier way to make something, and so so nice as well!).
Talking of easy and tasty, these are definitely two words you’d use to describe this ‘recipe’ (AKA simple idea)!
Simply cut a sheet of pastry up into roughly 5 inch squares (I got 6 out of my sheet). I literally measured mine with a ruler because I can be a bit nerdy like that, but a little bigger or smaller than 5 inches would be fine, especially if your pastry sheet is a different size – as obviously it might be seeing as you very likely live miles away from me (maybe thousands of miles!) and shop at who-knows-what supermarket, with who-knows-what sort of ready-rolled puff pastry.
After this it’s super simple. Just spread a bit of ricotta down the centre of your pastry, and sprinkle the rest of the chopped toppings over the top, like so:
Pull up two of the edges, stick with a little beaten egg, shove in the oven, and you’ll have gorgeously-browned fresh pastries barely 15 minutes later.
It probably goes without saying that this idea is very adaptable indeed. Add just ham and cheese and a bit of mustard, like my friend Nagi does, or come up with your own fun concoction like I did. I’m thinking goat’s cheese, cooked pumpkin and prosciutto; pear, feta and walnut; chicken, cooked bacon, mushroom and swiss cheese; or how about classic pizza flavours: mozzarella, tomato, pepperoni and basil?
Let your imagination run wild!
These are indeed great for summer lunches, or how about making slightly smaller ones and serving at a party?
You can also make up ahead and freeze to cook later, of course, or I’ve even frozen them after cooking and then just reheated in the oven.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to give these a go next time you need an easy lunch or take-along idea. Ruler at the ready…
Serves: makes 12 large pastries
- 2 x ready-made puff pastry sheets, cut into roughly 5 inch squares
- 250 gram / 9-ounce tub ricotta cheese
- 1 jar red pesto
- cherry tomatoes (about 2 per pastry), cut into 3 slices each
- about 75 grams / 2.5 ounces chorizo, peeled and cut into small cubes
- a small amount of frozen spinach, defrosted and with water squeezed out well
- 1 egg, whisked
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Spread a heaped teaspoon ricotta diagonally down the centre of each pastry square.
- Dot a little pesto over the top of the ricotta, then scatter over the tomato slices, chorizo cubes, and spinach.
- Fold opposite corners of the pastry over the filling (see pictures above), sticking down with a little whisked egg.
- Brush the tops of the pastries with egg, then lay on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden and puffed up.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a nice crisp salad.
Freeze uncooked if you like, to defrost and cook later, or freeze cooked, defrost, then reheat for 5 minutes or so in a hot oven.
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