I think it was this moment, when I watched Kate Hill make an apricot tart from scratch, very casually, whilst in Gascony this summer which made me realise that pastry is not to be feared, rather, befriended. Pastry is a magical thing and when you show up with something with pastry *from scratch* it’s guaranteed to elicit oohs and aahs from most everyone. Since I watched Kate make that tart, I have made pastry a number of times. Actually I seem to be making it all the time. A pie, a galette, a rustic quiche – I’m the unstoppable pastry queen it would seem. Well, not quite but when I presented these nervously to Mr Neil on his birthday a couple of weks ago and he LOVED them (since they don’t contain meat, I was wondering what his reaction would be), I knew I was onto something. I can make pastry that tastes good. This, for me is truly a revelation.
These, my friends, were really good.
Really really good.
- For the pastry
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 4 tablespoons cornmeal
- a pinch of salt
- 125g very cold (not frozen) butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons ice cold water
- For the filling
- about 1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 200g plain goat cheese (preferably a log)
- 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
- freshly ground pepper
- To assemble
- 1 egg beaten for egg wash
- about 6 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
- For the pastry:
- Sift the flour into a large bowl.
- Add the cornmeal and salt and mix lightly with your fingers.
- Add the cubed butter and, using your fingers, lightly rub in the butter to the flour/ cornmeal/ salt until is resembles breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas (you can do this in a food processor as well)
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the egg.
- Mix the flour into the wet ingredients until it just starts to come together.
- Add the water and incorporate until the dough just comes together. The dough should be firm enough to form a ball - it might be a little crumbly but press the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.
- For the filling:
- Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.
- Place the halved cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes – the tomatoes will start to collapse, that’s ok.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking tray until ready to use.
- To assemble:
- Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.
- Lightly grease six 4 inch in diameter tartelette pans.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, divide into six portions and roll between parchment or wax paper or onto a lightly floured surface until each piece is about a couple of inches wider in diameter than the tartelette pans.
- Press the pastry into the tartelette pans (you might need to trim some of the pastry) around the edges.
- Spread one piece of goat cheese across the bottom of each pastry disk in the pans.
- Scatter the baked tomato halves around the edges of the goat cheese and place the larger, unbaked tomato slices in the middle.
- If you want a rustic tartelette look, fold the uncovered edges of dough up and around the filling, working your way around the tartelette. You'll end up with pleated edges that are a little rough and you might need to trim some uneven parts to ensure you don't end up with a thick area of just crust. If you want a neater version, trim the edges of the pastry and press them against the edges of the pans.
- Brush the edges of the quiche with a little egg wash.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the cheese inside is melty.
- Garnish with a little of the fresh basil.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
And what might this all have to do with Les Petits Chefs, I hear you asking? Well for the first session of the year, I like to work with a recipe on my own with the boys (no guest chefs though I have an amazing lineup this term!) so I can get a feel for who’s in the club and their skill level. This year I am teaching cooking club TWICE a week – Mondays will be Les Petits Chefs for Grades 5-7 and Wednesdays will be the Cooking Basics club where I will work with Grade 3s and 4s on some Jamie Oliver recipes. So excited! Anyway, this week, I figured what better way to start than as we mean to continue – setting the bar high.
So, I decided we would make those little rustic tartelettes – I made a batch of pastry earlier in the day so they boys could assemble and bake off one to bring home. Whilst the tartelettes were baking, we made a batch of pastry and they all went home with enough pastry to make one more tartelette for mum or dad. Genius, non?
I adjusted the recipe slightly, using the flour we had at school (all purpose) and took out the cornmeal. We didn’t have time to roast the tomatoes. We went “rustic” with the “look” just because I think it’s more charming. Although watching the boys wok with the pastry, I realise we could have probably done something way more complicated. They were very impressive! No need for words here. The pictures tell it all…
This. These boys working with pastry like pros? Priceless.
Want to read more about what I have learned from working with the boys in cooking club? Check out my first post for the Sobey’s Better Food Blog and my latest article for EatIn EatOut magazine (pp 70-74).
Today also happens to be a very special day for a good friend of mine – Jen from My Kitchen Addiction. A group of us are throwing her a virtual baby shower and I couldn’t think of a better offering than these mini goat cheese and tomato tartelettes. Firstly because Jen has cheered me on for years in my attempts to conquer pastry. Secondly, because I know she loves Les Petits Chefs. I hope she’ll tuck this recipe away and make it with her own petite chef in a few years’ time!
Check out what everyone else brought to the party:
Bluebonnets & Brownies | Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip
Sugarcrafter | Sweet Potato Cake with Honey Buttercream
My Baking Addiction | Mini Pumpkin Pies
Simple Bites | English Eccles Cakes
Stetted | Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Dip
Food for my Family | Homemade Pear Italian Sodas with Cardamom Cream
eat. live. travel. write. | Goat Cheese and Tomato Tartelettes
Gimme Some Oven | Creamy Caramel Apple Dippers
Dessert For Two | Caramel Apple Cookie Cups
Bake at 350 | Soft Sugar Cookies for a Baby Shower
A Thought For Food | Fingerling Potato Salad
TidyMom | Apple Pomegranate Spritzers
i am baker | Advice to a New Mommy
Healthy Green Kitchen | Guacamole with Pistachios
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures | Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Spread
What Megan’s Making | Apple Spice Muffins
Cookin’ Canuck | Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Pear & Hazelnut Salad
Bellalimento | Frozen Berry Shortcake
Shugary Sweets | Caramel Apple Truffles
GoodLife Eats | Coconut Lemon Banana Bread