Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Summer Puff Pastry Tarts


Parma ham, roasted tomato and baby leaves tart with mascarpone and capers
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Watching the fantastic men's singles Wimbledon final I wanted to eat something that didn't require too much cooking to tear me away from the telly. Something light, Summery and delicious enough for the likes of Wimbledon folk. Having already gorged myself on strawberries and whipped cream the previous weekend (I got over-excited), I went for puff pastry tarts. Obviously.


Puff pastry, when cooked right, is delightfully messy and should leave you entirely covered in a light sprinkling of pastry, much like a decent croissant should. The most brilliant thing is you can buy it pre-made and even pre-rolled (like I did) for a tiny price and this takes hours off the recipe. You can of course make your own puff pastry and I would encourage you to do so if you have the time and the inclination but if you're lazy, like me, then the quick stuff works a treat.

Broad bean, pea and ham tart with a herby three cheese base 
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As you can see, I totally pack my tarts full of delicious ingredients, none of this dainty sprinkling round here. I want my tart overflowing with deliciousness and I'm sure you do too. I couldn't quite fit the names of my tarts in the title (cause they're lengthy and I haven't exactly been imaginative) but I shall let you know a little about them both:

1. Parma ham, roasted tomato and baby leaves tart with mascarpone and capers: she is the lighter of the two, more fresh flavours and a little healthier. Requires the roasting of the tomatoes but no further cooking once the pastry is out of the oven. Serve cool. 



2.  Broad bean, pea and ham tart with a herby three cheese base: this lovely one is slightly heavier with a delicious cheesy, herby, lemony base. Slightly messier to eat, slightly fuller in flavour with the three cheese combo. Requires another 10 minutes in the oven once the pastry has been cooked and you've built her. Serve warm.



Don't ask me to choose because I can't. They're both magnificent. Here are the recipes...

Parma ham, roasted tomato and baby leaves tart with mascarpone and capers 

Quantities: Serves 2 as a main or 4 as part of a picnic
Kitchen Stuff: pastry brush, rolling pin (possibly), roasting tin, sharp knife
Timings: 35 mins

Ingredients:
160g puff pastry (I use a jus-rol pastry sheet and use half for one tart)
4-5 slices parma ham
10-12 cherry tomatoes
2 handfuls mixed baby leaves
2 tsp capers
drizzle olive oil
50g mascarpone (roughly 9-10 tsp blobs)
1 egg, beaten
salt & pepper

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C

1. ROAST TOMS: Quarter your cherry tomatoes and pop them on some foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put them in the oven for 20 minutes. 

2. PUFF DADDY: If you haven't got a pre-rolled sheet: on a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out your pastry with a rolling pin into a rough rectangle until it has the thickness of a pound coin (3-4mm). The size of the sheet should be about 18cm x 13cm. 

With a sharp knife, score a 2cm border around the outside of the pastry sheet, making sure not to cut all the way through. Then prick the centre of the pastry sheet (not the border) with a fork a few times. Using your pastry brush, brush some egg onto the border. Put the pastry in the 180°C degree oven for 12-15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. See photo below.

3. ASSEMBLE: Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Then with the back of a spoon, gently press down the centre of the pastry square, leaving the border puffed up. 

Add the roasted tomatoes to the base, followed by baby leaves and torn strips of parma ham. Using a teaspoon, scoop 9 - 10 small blobs of mascarpone onto the tart. Sprinkle with two teaspoons capers and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. 


Serve cool and enjoy!

Broad bean, pea and ham tart with a herby three cheese base



Quantities: Serves 2 as a main or 4 as part of a meal
Kitchen Stuff: pastry brush, rolling pin (possibly), roasting tin
Timings: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
160g puff pastry (I use a jus-rol pastry sheet and use half for one tart)
100g (2/3 cup) frozen petit pois
100g (2/3 cup) frozen broad beans 
1 lemon
100g light cottage cheese
100g mascarpone
40g grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped parsley
75 - 100g cooked ham (left over gammon works perfectly)
salt & pepper
drizzle of olive oil

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Boil your kettle.

1. PUFF DADDY: If you haven't got a pre-rolled sheet: on a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out your pastry with a rolling pin into a rough rectangle until it has the thickness of a pound coin (3-4mm). The size of the sheet should be about 18cm x 13cm. 

With a sharp knife, score a 2cm border around the outside of the pastry sheet, making sure not to cut all the way through. Then prick all over the centre of the pastry sheet with a fork (not the border). Using your pastry brush, brush some beaten egg onto the border. Put the pastry in the 180°C degree oven for 12-15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. 

2. HAMLET: Tear or cut your ham into pieces and fry, stirring often, in a drizzle of olive oil on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until a few specks of brown and some crispy bits appear.  

3. BEANS & PEAS: Put your frozen peas and broad beans in a bowl and cover in boiling water. After about 3 minutes, drain the water and run the peas and beans under cold water. Drain and set aside.

4. CHEESY GOODNESS: Finely chop your herbs into a small bowl. Add the zest of one lemon and the juice of half the lemon. Add the cottage cheese, mascarpone and half the parmesan (20g). Mix well with a fork until all combined. Season with salt and pepper. 


5. ASSEMBLE: Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Then with the back of a spoon, gently press down the centre of the pastry square, leaving the border puffed up. Add small dollops of the cheesy mixture to the pastry base within the boarder then smooth over. Add the peas and broad beans (if there are too many then leave some off) and pile on the ham. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and pop back in the oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Serve warm and sprinkle with mint leaves to garnish.