Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

A couple months ago I made these tarts as an appetizer, but somehow completely forget to write the post. They tasted incredible and weren't too difficult to make. It combines so many great flavors from the goat cheese and sauteed onions to the tomatoes and basil. The only difficulty I had was with getting the edges of my puff pasty dough to rise. I was able to make 6 tarts instead of just 4 with the ingredients listed, so perhaps I stretched my dough a little thinner than intended. I also think these would make really great bite sized appetizers. Instead of rolling the dough into a 6 inch circle, I would consider rolling out 2 or 3 inch circles and using sliced cherry or Campari tomatoes  instead of larger ones.

The original recipe calls for a garlic and herb goat cheese, which I did not have at the time. To make up for this difference, I just chopped up some fresh herbs from the garden (mainly chives and thyme) and mixed them into the plain goat cheese. When you make this recipe, be sure to serve it fresh from the oven since it does not re-heat well. I had some left over and even though the flavors were still delicious, the dough did not get crunchy enough the second time around.

Recipe from Ina Garten
Makes 4 to 6 individual tarts

1 package (17.3 ounces/ 2 sheets) puff pastry dough, thawed
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (about large 2 onions)
3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
4 to 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus an extra 2 ounces of shaved Parmesan
4 to 6 ounces herb and garlic goat cheese (or plain cheese mixed with fresh herbs)
1 to 1 1/2 large tomatoes cut into 4 to 6 slices (1/4" thick), depending on how many tarts you rolled out
3 tablespoon julienned basil leaves

To prepare the puff pastry dough, unfold the first sheet of puff pastry dough and lay it out on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough a little bit so it forms something close to an 11" x 11" square. Using a 6 inch wide plate (or similar object), cut 2 circles out of the dough. Repeat with 2nd sheet of puff pastry. If using the scraps, roll them out to a similar thickness and cut out the remaining circles. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place the circles on top. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm up 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 15 to 20 minutes mixing frequently. Cook until the onions are soft and there is almost no moisture left in the pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and the thyme. Cook for another 10 minutes. Cook until the onions are lightly browned.

Preheat your oven to 425ºF/218ºC.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Using a sharp pairing knife, scored a border 1/4" from the edge of each circle. Prink the inside of the border with a fork. Sprinkle a tablespoon of Parmesan inside each border.

Divide the onion mixture evenly between the tarts, keeping everything inside the border. Next crumble the goat cheese over the onions, dividing it between the tarts. Place a tomato slice in the center of each tart and lightly brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the basil leaves. Top the tarts with the shaved Parmesan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The baking sheet on the bottom may need a few more minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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