Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tomato and Tapenade Tarts

These were fun little tarts to make with the late-season tomatoes we've been getting in our CSA. The ones in the box this week were so tiny and cute I thought they would be perfect for this.

Just cut puff pastry dough into rounds, spread on a thin layer of olive tapenade, and place a pile of tomatoes on top (cherries or small regular). As you do all this you leave a border around the edge, which puffs up when you bake it to create a rim around the tomatoes. Then you dot it with a little more tapenade and a dollop of marscapone cheese and bake it for a little longer, until the creamy cheese has melted into a delicious sauce spreading out over the tart. Yum!

Joe said he would have liked it with or without the cheese, and the more tapenade for him, the better. I personally liked how the creamy flavor of the cheese complimented the salty olive tapenade.

These can be made into small or large tarts. Ours were pretty good sized, kind of like a personal pan pizza. We also made roasted delicata squash in the shell, topped with butter and brown sugar. I ended up eating only half of my tart, and the other half reheated very well and made a great lunch the next day.

CSA Week 21:

In the box: 1 lettuce, 2 pounds Sweet Girl tomatoes, 1 bunch French Breakfast Radishes, 2 pounds carrots, 1 leek, 1 1/4 pounds broccoli, 2 pounds red potatoes, 1 Sunshine squash, 4 Sweet Italian peppers, 2 pounds Liberty apples

The lettuce made great salads all week to go with dinner or lunches. Some of the tomatoes and carrots were used as toppings. We haven't had salad greens for a few weeks so it was a nice change of pace.

We ate the radishes with hummus (found some great single serving packages at Costco - very handy to take to work AND the hummus is actually quite tasty).

I stir-fried the red peppers, broccoli, and some of the carrots to go with potstickers (another great Costco buy). Super easy meal. 

Joe saw the leek in the box and immediately claimed it to make one of our favorite fall/winter meals: baked sweet potatoes with leeks and Gorgonzola (actually, the cheese I bought this time was a local one called "Oregonzola", haha).

I used the Liberty apples to finally make a batch of apple butter this year. I had been trying to make time to do it for weeks. I used the recipe from Canning for a New Generation. I love the flavor and texture of this batch compared to the one I made last year. The only disappointing thing is that even though I doubled the recipe (and thus making an already time consuming task even more so) for some reason I was only able to fill six half pint jars instead of twelve like I was expecting. I must have let it cook for too long at some point in the process so it reduced way too much. The directions in general were a little vague for me, a person who gets so freaking paranoid when it comes to preserving food that half the time I just scare myself out of doing it altogether. It sucks because I was hoping to have enough to give it to friends and family for the holidays. I don't know if I will have time to make another batch. Pity party for me. :-(

We didn't get to the Sunshine squash yet. They last a long time so I wanted to focus on using up the produce that would spoil sooner.

Tomato and Tapenade Tarts
adapted from Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Meals
serves 2-4

Notes: I bet this would also be good with basil pesto in place of the tapenade. Feta instead of marscapone would be good too, though it wouldn't be as creamy when it melts.

1 package puff pastry, thawed if frozen (I used Pepperidge Farm brand, one package was 1.1 pounds)
1/4 cup black or green olive tapenade
1 1/4 pound small or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Light oil a large baking sheet and sprinkle it with water.

Lightly flour a clean counter top and roll out the puff pastry. Cut out rounds of dough, using a bowl or plate as a guide. I found it was easiest to make two tarts using an 8-inch plate as my guide. The original recipe suggests making four 6 1/2 inch rounds, but their package of puff pastry was larger than mine (1 1/4 pounds, or 500 grams). I am not experienced enough with puff pastry to know if it would work to take the extra scraps and just form them into another tart.

Transfer the pastry rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Using the tip of a knife, mark a shallow cut 1/2 an inch in from the edge of each pastry round to form a rim (Basically you are drawing a smaller circle inside the round that will mark the area you will place the filling. The border will puff up as the tart bakes).

Reserve half of the tapenade for a later step. Divide the rest evenly among your tarts and spread it out into a thin layer, staying inside the marked rim.

Slice about half of the tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on how large they are. Cherry tomatoes just need to be sliced in half. Pile all the tomatoes, whole and halved, on the pastry, again keeping them inside the marked border. Season with salt.

Bake for about 20 minutes. The pastry should be well risen and golden. Divide the remaining tapenade among the tarts, doting it randomly over the tomatoes, Spoon a dollop of mascarpone onto the center. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the mascarpone has melted into a sauce.

Serve warm. 

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