Thursday, September 13, 2012

blackberry goat cheese and honey tartlets



Kitchen gadgets and cookbooks are a gigantic weakness of mine!  Ok, there I said it.  It always makes me feel better when I confess an area in my life that I lack restraint.  While browsing through Williams-Sonoma recently, I found a new gadget I just had to have.  It was the cutest little tartlet baking set, found here.   It would be perfect for my homemade lemon curd and mascarpone cream for a girlfriends get together coming up soon, I surmised without question.  Or maybe something savory?  So many choices running through my head.  Did I need to have this particular pan for mini tartlets?  Absolutely not!  I could just free form the tartlets in a mini cupcake pan - but, like I said, I lack willpower with certain things! :)

After changing my mind a million times on what I wanted to create, I eagerly decided on a wonderful recipe adapted from Driscolls Berries - goat cheese tartlets with blackberries, drizzled with honey!  Simple - yet gourmet, savory - yet sweet, and something I felt confident would be new to everyone.




The combination of flavors in this recipe were meant for each other!  A nice kick from the goat cheese  mixed with fresh minced thyme, makes up the delicious savory filling, baked in a perfectly golden cream cheese crust.  Add the sweetness of the blackberry and drizzling of honey, and oh my, the result - the perfect sweet and savory appetizer!   I created 24 tartlets, as the recipe is written, but don't hesitate doubling it for a larger party, due to the ease of the recipe.  …and, you absolutely don't have to run out and buy the mini tart pan, like no willpower me. You can use a mini muffin/cupcake pan, or even create a larger tart.  Improvise!  That's the beauty of cooking and baking - you can always make it your own, by using a little creativity!

Until next time…mangia!  xox

Carol



Blackberry Goat Cheese and Honey Tartlets

Ingredients:
(makes 24 tartlets)

for the filling:
5 ounces rindless goat cheese, at room temperature (use a good quality)
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
24 blackberries (most supermarkets carry blackberries all year round)
fresh thyme leaves, removed from their stems, for garnish

for the cream cheese tart crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, but into tablespoons, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

Create the tartlets:

Combine flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade and pulse to combine.  Add butter and cream cheese and pulse about 10 times, until mixture begins to clump together.  Gather up dough and shape into a thick disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and easy to handle, about 2 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Have ready two 12-cup, or one 24-cup mini muffin pan(s), or mini tartlet pan as I used.  The cup should measure 1-7/8 across x 7/8 deep, preferable nonstick.  If the pans aren't nonstick, spray with baking spray, or lightly butter them.

Divide dough in 24 equal pieces.  Place one piece in each muffin cup.  Using fingers, press dough firmly and evenly up sides to make a pastry shell.  A wooden tart tamper can help the job go quickly, but not necessary.  (If using the same mini tartlet pan I used, follow the manufacturers directions for making the tart shells.)  Freeze 5 minutes.

Mash goat cheese and cream cheese together in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add egg, yolk, minced thyme, salt and pepper and whisk until combined.  Spoon equal amounts of filling into the chilled pastry shells.

Bake tartlets until crust is golden brown and filling is puffed, about 25 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes in pan(s). Remove tartlets from pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Just before serving, lightly brush tops of tartlets using about 1 tablespoon of the honey.  Arrange berries on top as desired.  Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon honey.  Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and serve!

Carol's note:
If you don't have a food processor, just use a hand pastry blender and continue with directions above.

If you only have one 12-cup pan, or use the tartlet set 12-cup pan, just divide the dough and ingredients in half, make the first 12, keep the other half dough and filling refrigerated, and once the pan cools, create the next 12 tartlets.  By the way, just my opinion - creating them in the mini cupcake pan gives them a lovely, rustic look, which I absolutely love!  Just want to re-emphasize that the tartlet set isn't necessary.

If desired, prepare the tartlets up to a day ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.  Bring to room temperature and finish off with the honey and thyme.



20 comments:

  1. These are so gorgeous, Carol! Truly a work of art - almost too beautiful to eat! :) (Though I'm sure I'd get over that after one bite!)

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    1. LOL, thanks so much Laura! They were VERY good!! One of my girlfriends, who thought she didn't like goat cheese even loved them, in fact, she was the one who grabbed the last one! :)

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  2. I agree with Laura, these tarts are beauties - I would eat one in a second;-)

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    1. Thanks, Patty! I wish you and Laura lived closer, and I would be thrilled to share them with both of you! :) Have a great weekend!

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  3. Your recipes are so unique, but not difficult. Description and technique are perfection. Good work!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lady JJ! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Gosh, these look fantastic! And I love that you used blackberries, too...such a beautiful contrast.

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    1. Thanks so much, Liz! I really liked the blackberries, too, it added just the right amount of sweetness along with the honey. Hope you're having a great weekend!

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  5. I love tartlet sets! I have one from Williams-Sonoma, too but it's much larger 6 tartlet set than your little tartlets. And I was thinking that I need smaller ones too, for smaller desserts and appetizers. :)

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    1. Thanks, Julia! A person after my own heart, sounds like you love gadgets too! :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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  6. I'm with you! I have a total gadget and cookbook addiction. I barely even use the books, I just like to gaze longingly at them. These are adorable.

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    1. LOL - I do exactly the same thing with the cookbooks, Jen! I swear to myself, I'm going to start using them, until the next one catches my eye! Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to leave a comment!

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  7. I'm with you on the cookbooks. I love buying new cookbooks even if I'm not really using the recipes from them. Your tartlets are just gorgeous! love the blackberry and goat cheese combination.

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    1. I feel so much better to see I'm not the only cookbook addict! :) Thanks so much for the compliment on the tartlets, one of my new favorite combinations too! Thank you also for stopping by a cup of mascarpone!!!

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  8. I love the way these tartlets look! Bite-sized perfection. Bet the goat cheese makes it rich and luxurious...

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    1. Gee Jen, I'm a little late...I just realized I never thanked you for stopping by and leaving your sweet comment!!

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  9. OMG, this combo looks and sounds amazing! I am a huge lover of goatcheese and to combine it with the innocent taste of honey and blackberries is extremely mouthwatering!

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    1. Thanks so much...the combination is truly incredible!

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol