I've got a few parties coming up in the next few weeks and have been trying to think of some finger food that is simple and easy to make to go with it. Then I discovered that it's "Hay Hay it's Donna Hay" time, and this time it's hosted by Tami over at running with tweezers and the theme this time round is savoury tart. When I saw that, it gave me a briliant idea! I could combine my favourite toppings and make a tart out of it :)
Since I wanted them to be bite sized piece, I made a test run of small little puff pastry tarts with my favourite topping combinations. And the results were:
Top to bottom: Ham, cheese and pineapple tart, Garlic mushrooms w/ parmesan cheese tart and Oven Roasted cherry tomatoes w/ caramalised balsamic onions tart
For all three mini tarts, I used store bought puff pastry and cut the square into 9 smaller square pieces. Folded the sides in and painted it with some egg wash before baking them in the oven until they started rising.
When they've risen a bit, I took them out of the oven and flattened the middle. (*shock horror*) I actually wanted them to have a cavity in the middle so that I could put more stuffing in it, instead of just having the toppings sitting on top of the pastry. This way, the pastry stays crunchy and flaky instead of soggy because of the condensation from the tart topping.
1. Ham, cheese and pineapple tart
An adaptation from my favourite pizza, I was thinking of calling it The Mini Hawaiian, but decided against it.
- Mozarella cheese (I used Perfect Italiano's Pizza Plus, which is a combination of Mozarella, Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese)
- Your favourite Ham shaved or sliced (I used Virginian Ham)
- Pineapple pieces (I used canned pineapple)
Begin by stuffing some cheese into the tart cavity, arrange a layer of ham, cheese, ham, cheese and top with a piece of pineapple and more cheese.
2. Garlic Mushrooms and Parmesan tart
- Some Mushrooms
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese
- Chopped parsley
Marinate the mushrooms with some EVOO, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Let it sit in the marinade for about 10 minutes. Next, roast it in the oven (180 deg C)for approximately 15-20mins, depending on how you like your mushrooms (I liked mine cooked thoroughly). Once it's done, let it cool for a bit before arranging them on top of the puff pastry. Top with some parmesan cheese and return it into the oven until the cheese is melted (no more than 5 mins). Drizzle with the juice from the mushrooms and top with some parsley before serving.
The verdict: Pre-marinading the mushrooms gave them very flavoursome when you bite into them. I especially love the strength of the parmesan cheese when combined with the flavour of the mushrooms. It's just.. indescribable. (maybe not.. ) Think of the zing of the parmesan when it hits your taste buds and juicy garlic mushrooms.
3. Oven roasted cherry tomatoes w/ caramalised balsamic onions.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Finely chopped basil leaves or dried basil
- Sliced Spanish Onions
- Balsamic Vinegar
Slice cherry tomatoes in half and drizzle generously with EVOO, sprinkle chopped basil and season with S&P. Let it sit for 5 mins before roasting them in the oven (180 deg C) for about 10 - 15mins. I like my tomatoes to still retain it's shape when it's cooked, and depending on the size of the cherry tomatoes 10mins might just be perfect.
Meanwhile, heat approximately 1 tablespoon of EVOO in a pan and fry the onions over medium heat until it starts to soften. Add a splash (or two .. depending on your taste) of balsamic vinegar into the pan and mix well. At this point, the onions would be fairly soft and appears caramalised. Add approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar and keep stirring until the sugar has melted. Do a taste test, and if the onions taste too tangy add a bit more sugar, otherwise it's done. Let it cool.
Once the tomatoes and onions are sufficiently cooled, start topping the tart, firstly with the onions, then tomatoes. If you wish, you could return the tarts to the oven for reheating before serving. Top with small basil leaves and serve.
The verdict: This is probably the one that took the most effort to make, since I had pre-make the onions and tomatoes, but it was so satisfying that it was worth every effort I had put into it. I love caramalised onions, especially when combined with balsamic vinegar. Each bite I took was crunchy, flaky, sweet and tangy all mixed together. Yumm.. definitely my favourite of the three.
I'd say that this test run has been pretty successful, especially since my 9 little tarts become 6 little tarts about 5 seconds after I finish taking the pics. Too bad about the lighting. Oh well.
This trial will double as my entry to HHDH and Stephanie of Happy Sorceress's Blog Party #14 for kids. I figured that Ham, cheese and pineapple is kid friendly enough :)