Some people possess the elegance gene. Clothes, hair, pastry -- effortlessly elegant. I didn't get that gene, not even a tiny portion of that gene, and especially not the pastry portion of that gene. So, whenever I manage to make something ever so slightly elegant, like these puff pastry tartlets, it rates a celebration. Last week, I wanted to create a pretty vegetarian appetizer, and my pantry came to the rescue with store-bought puff pastry and the last of last summer's slow-roasted tomatoes, excavated from the freezer. A mandoline made the paper-thin zucchini toppers, but a good, sharp knife and a steady hand can do the same.
Puff pastry tartlets with zucchini and slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomato filling
Makes 12-14 tartlets.
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted according to package directions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup slow-roasted tomato halves (or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes)
4 tsp whipped cream cheese
14 thin slices of zucchini
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (silicone liner) or parchment paper, and set aside.
Remove defrosted puff pastry from its wrapping. Dust your countertop with some of the flour (a tablespoon or two), and unfold one sheet of pastry. With a rolling pin, roll the pastry just slightly thinner than it comes; don't worry about repairing the seams, as you'll cut around them. Add flour as needed to keep the pastry from sticking.
Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, pastry cutter, or drinking glass, cut out 6-7 pastry circles and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry. Do not reroll the scraps; discard, or sprinkle with sugar and bake for a treat for the cook!
With a fork, prick lots of holes in the pastry rounds, MAKING SURE to keep a 1/2-inch border unpricked all the way around.
In a blender, combine the slow-roasted tomato halves and cream cheese, and process into a smooth paste. Spread this mixture in the center of each pastry round. (You'll have leftover filling; freeze it for another time, or spread it on a sandwich.)
Top each round with a slice of zucchini, a few leaves of thyme, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a bit of black pepper and a drop or two of olive oil. (At this point, you can refrigerate until ready to bake.)
Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and lightly golden. Serve hot or at room temperature.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Turkey and cheese in puff pastry
Asparagus and cheese tart
Easy fruit and Nutella puff pastry tartlets
Grilled vegetable and goat cheese puff pastry tart with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions
Goat cheese and basil bruschetta
Pasta salad with shrimp, feta, basil and slow-roasted tomatoes
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Strawberry crossover Danish, from White on Rice Couple
Cherry tomato puff pastry tart, from The Italian Dish
Slow roasted tomato hummus, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow roasted organic tomato bisque, from Black Girl Chef's Whites
Slow roasted tomato salsa, from A Veggie Venture
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