Hi everyone, I can't wait to share this yummy recipe with you today because it's perfect for Spring and Summer entertaining on the patio or for picnics. Cherry tomatoes would have to be one of my favorite veggies. Baked with chicken, in salads, to snack on – you name it! And heirloom cherry tomatoes are one sure way to brighten up any dish with an array of colors. This month I wanted to create a simple savory treat of goats cheese and cherry tomatoes. Originally I was playing around with an almond and hazelnut meal tart base recipe that I’ve made before, except it was way too crumbly without a baked filling. As this recipe didn’t have a baked filling I had to abandon the idea and fall back on my go to pastry recipe.
Now I’ll be honest, this did make me feel a like a little bit of a failure. Working as a food photographer and constantly surrounding myself with amazing creatives and foodies, not to mention the easy reach of tantalizing recipes on social media, I can get caught up in the pursuit of ‘out-doing’ myself with each new idea.
Then it occurred to me that this isn’t what cooking and sharing recipes is about. I’m just a humble home cook, who sometimes has wins and sometimes doesn’t. I’ve made meals where my hubby and I both look at each other and think, well that was average! But it’s food that we get to eat together. We’re lucky enough to have that perspective on food. We don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from and have the luxury to make something else if my ‘nut meal’ base doesn’t work! ($12 worth of nuts of edible nothing!)
Recipes should also be simple and accessible. If you don’t have the skills or desire to make pastry, or lack the confidence, is there anything wrong with buying pre-made pastry cases? I don’t think so. Joy should be in the process of cooking, and if we try and fail, it’s nice to have a back up plan up your sleeve.
Now this recipe can be interchangeable with a good feta if goats cheese isn’t to your taste. Truffle oil is also an acquired taste for some, so please feel free to substitute with olive oil if you wish. (I love truffle oil with cheese dishes. I make a wicked white sauce for mac and cheese with truffle oil. Maybe I’ll make that for you one day).
I’m a big believer in using what you have, so try to use the mini tart tins/muffin trays/pie tins that you have to make this recipe. The dough and filling will make 10-12 (6.5cm x 2.5cm deep mini tartlet cases) or 6 (12cm x 2.5cm deep tartlet cases, you may just need to spread the filling sparingly). It’s preferable to use something with removable bases, but if you grease up the tin enough you shouldn’t have any problems. Heck, you can even buy those disposable little aluminum pie cases if that’ll make your life easier. If you’re feeling adventurous make a pastry boarder, or don’t. I won’t judge you. Better yet, enlist the help of a friend who can teach you. (I had some help making these tart cases. There I said it. There’s no harm in sharing the love right?).
250g plain (all purpose) flour
150g butter, cold and cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon cold milk
1 cup sour cream
120g goats cheese, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons truffle oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 punnet, (250g approx.) heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup fresh chives, diced to garnish
Salt as needed
On a clean and dry surface, heap the flour and make a well. Place butter, sugar, salt and egg into the middle. With clean hands, gently squeeze the butter between your fingertips, drawing in flour little by little along with the rest of the ingredients to cream them together. Keep drawing in the flour until the mixture starts to form a grainy texture. Add the cold milk and incorporate gently until the dough begins to form. Once the dough begins to hold, work the dough by kneading it a few times until smooth. (Make sure to not overwork it).
Preheat the oven to 180C.
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 2mm thickness. Using a plate as a guide (a plate larger than your tart case), cut out 6 large or 10-12 (see notes) rounds and line your tartlet cases. Rest in the fridge for 20 mins. Remove from the fridge, prick base with a fork and blind bake for 10 mins, then remove your baking beans or liners and bake for another 5-10 mins until golden. (Be sure to watch the tartlets in the last 10 mins as different sized tartlet cases and ovens may vary cooking time). Remove and allow to cool.
Combine all of the ingredients of the filling in a dish and whisk until smooth. When ready to serve, spoon even amounts of the filling into your tartlet cases, place a few cherry tomato quarters on top and garnish with a sprinkling of chives. Try a drizzle of honey or balsamic vinegar if you are feeling adventurous!
6 (12cm x 2.5cm deep tartlet cases)
10-12 (6.5cm x 2.5cm deep mini tartlet cases)
(Best to use cases that are loose bottoms for easy removable or be sure to grease fitted bottom cases).
I hope that you love these as much as I do, see you again with a new recipe on June 1 - xo
(Recipe, Photography, Styling, Text: Rachel Korinek | )