Michelle Darmody: A selection of savoury tarts

I WANTED to include a few recipes today that use the same base ingredients but can be adapted quickly and easily to make use of many different combinations.

The premise is that with a sheet of puff pastry, ricotta and another soft cheese, topped with a tasty combination of ingredients you have a tart that can be served as a starter for a dinner party or as a tasty lunch. You can use various vegetables or add some leftover smoked fish or bacon. These tarts are a handy way to use leftover roasted vegetables or boiled potatoes. It is about getting the right combination; beetroot, red onion and nutmeg; tomato, mustard and thyme; sliced potato, rosemary and sea salt. There are endless combinations and once you source a good quality puff pastry most of the work is done.

I always bake tarts on a metal tray that I have preheated in the oven. It gives a crisper base as the underneath starts to bake straight away. You can par-bake the pastry first and then add toppings, but I find it difficult to spread the ricotta if I do it this way. I tend to fill the pastry with the toppings while it is cold. At times I fashion some tinfoil to sit over the centre and bake for the first half hour. I then remove the tin foil and turn the oven up for the last 10 minutes.

It is best to use the pastry straight from the fridge. If it is sitting out at room temperature it will not crisp up as nicely.

Ricotta and beetroot tart with a drizzle of honey

3 medium beetroot, peeled and sliced

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed

a sprig of thyme, leaves
removed from the stalk

a dash of olive oil

200g rectangle of puff pastry

60g of ricotta

40g of Cashel blue cheese, crumbled

a handful of chard, chopped

1 tsp of honey

Toss the sliced beetroot, red onion and garlic in the olive oil, in an oven proof dish. Stir in the thyme and roast at 180 degrees until the beetroot is soft.

Turn the oven up to 200 degrees and place a metal baking tray into it to heat.

Place the puff pastry on a sheet of baking parchment. Spread the ricotta in the centre of the rectangle leaving about a centimetre around the edge.

Crumble the Cashel blue cheese over it and sprinkle with black pepper, lay the slices of beetroot, onion and garlic on top.

Slide the sheet of parchment containing the tart onto the heated mental tray.

Cover the centre of the tart with some tin foil and bake for twenty five minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the edges are completely golden.

Steam the chard. Dot the chard on the tart when you remove it from the oven and drizzle with some honey.

Potato rosemary and bayleaf slices

4 medium, parboiled, waxy potatoes, thinly sliced

a dash of olive oil

2 x 100g strips of puff pastry

60g of ricotta

50g of taleggio cheese, skin removed and cheese thinly sliced

3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed from the stalks

1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg

6 bay leaves

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and place a metal tray into the oven to heat. Toss the slices of potato in the olive oil and season.

Place both rectangles of puff pastry on a sheet of baking parchment. Spread the ricotta in the centre and dot some small slices of taleggio cheese over it. Sprinkle with black pepper, rosemary, cayenne pepper and nutmeg and then lay the slices of potato on top. Dot with the bay leaves and a sprinkle of cracked black pepper. Pinch up the sides of the pastry.

Slide the sheet of parchment containing the tart onto the heated mental tray.

Bake for 35 minutes until the edges are completely golden.

Tomato and mustard tart

180g disc of puff pastry

60g of ricotta

40g of Durrus cheese, thinly sliced

1 tbs of dijon mustard,
depending on how spicy you want your tart

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves
removed from the stalks

4 small fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced

Some oregano

Heat the oven to 200C and place a metal tray into the oven to heat.

Place the disc puff pastry on a sheet of baking parchment. Spread the ricotta in the centre and dot some small slices of Durrus cheese over it. Sprinkle with black pepper and thyme and then lay the slices of tomato on top. Pinch around the edges to make a crust that will help contain the ingredients.

Slide the sheet of parchment containing the tart onto the heated mental tray.

Bake for 35 minutes until the edges are completely golden.

Sprinkle with fresh
oregano if you have it, or else dried will do.


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