These little tartlets look impressive with light puff pastry cases and a creamy filling and, take my word for it, they are quite delicious to eat.
Serve as a starter or light lunch with a crunchy salad and crusty bread. If you are catering for vegetarian for your Christmas dinner these can be served with all the trimmings. The little cases could be used for all sorts of tartlets. Try other fillings such as roasted peppers & tomatoes or caramelized onions just remember that the filling must be cooked before you put it into the cases. Pair your filling with any sort of melting cheese such as Brie or Camembert
CREAMY GRUYERE, LEEK & WALNUT TARTLETS
375g packet of frozen, ready-rolled puff pastry, defrosted
1 large egg, gently whisked
Vegetable oil and a knob of butter
2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced thinly
2 tbsp. double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
75g Gruyere cheese, grated
Small handful of walnuts chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200c (180fan), gas mark 6.
- Make sure the pastry is at room temperature before attempting to unroll it-don’t use straight from the fridge. Leave the plastic wrap on. Cutting through the plastic with sharp scissors trim off the short edges that curl under so that you have a neat rectangle. Cut in half lengthways and then cut each half into 3.
- Using the tip of a sharp knife score (not cut!) a smaller square 1cm (½ inch) in from the edge.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Use a fish slice to lift the cases, peel off the plastic paper and slide them onto the baking sheet. Brush egg over the edges of the pastry but don’t brush egg on the central part. This is so that the outside will rise but not the middle and will form a ‘case’ that you can fill. Leave the egg to one side as you will need it for the filling.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until well risen and lightly golden. Take out and then gently push down the middle. At this stage they will keep for a few days in an airtight tin.
- In the meantime, heat a generous amount of oil & the knob of butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and cook until soft and creamy, stir them frequently to break them up.
- Take off the heat and let them cool. Mix with the remaining egg and the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When you are ready to eat them pile the filling into the cases.
- Put some of the grated Gruyere cheese on top of each and then sprinkle with some walnuts.
- Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted.
Serve with dressed mixed salad leaves.
To freeze: You can freeze the prepared tart cases uncooked (so just scored and partly brushed with egg)