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Goat Cheese Tarts with Ramps and Lemon Zest
The first time I laid eyes on these colorful wild leeks was in Vermont in the late 1980s. I must say it was love at first sight.
Since then ramps season can never come soon enough for me — and I make sure they are on the menu every week until they vanish.
Although they look dainty, ramps are in fact quite pungent, so a little goes a long way no matter what dish they end up in. My favorite way to cook ramps is to sauté them briefly in a little butter and olive oil until they wilt. Then I toss them with handmade ravioli, add them to soups or risottos, or serve them alongside poached eggs.
But here, my gorgeous bunch found its way into these unbearably light little tarts. The fresh goat cheese and lemon zest pair perfectly with the ramps’ slight garlic flavor to make these tarts an irresistible hors d’oeuvre or appetizer.
Click here to see What Are... Ramps?
*Note: The tarts can be prepared to this point up to 12 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
For the ramps
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Teaspoons julienned lemon zest
- One 5-ounce bunch ramps, trimmed, stalks and leaves cut on a bias into ¼-inch slices
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the tarts
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Six 10-by-14-inch sheets phyllo dough
- 6 Ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 10 ounces soft mild goat cheese
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and lavender
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mixed whole fresh herb leaves
- On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out dough into a 13-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick) and fit into a 10 or 11-inch round tart pan with a removable rim. Prick dough all over with a fork and chill 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake tart shell on a baking sheet in middle of oven 10 minutes, or until almost cooked through but still pale.
- In a food precessor blend cheeses, yolks, flour, and butter until smooth. Stir in chopped herbs and pour filling into tart shell. Bake tart 20 minutes, or until filling is just set. Sprinkle tart with herb leaves and continue baking until filling and crust are pale golden. Cool tart in pan on a rack and remove rim. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.
LET’S TALK INGREDIENTS
Let’s talk about the good stuff, the ingredients that make these mini pear and goat cheese tarts one of the best fall appetizer recipes I’ve shared!
These appetizers wouldn’t be complete without the pear. In my recipe photos and YouTube video, I used Red Bartlett pears. In all honesty, I chose them because I knew that the red skin of the pears was going to look nicer when baked vs a green variety or even a brown Bosc.
You can use whatever variety of pear you love for this killer appetizer. Keep in mind that if you are interested in having a real pretty bite to serve, stick with a red variety! Oh, and if you want to learn more about the different varieties of pears, check out USA Pears, they have some great info.
On to the cheese! Goat cheese is a must for this recipe. I mean it has goat cheese in it’s name. There are a handful of brands out there that make goat cheese. For the most part, I get mine at Trader Joe’s since I’m there at least once a week.
Whatever brand of goat cheese you grab for this recipe, it’s ideal for it to come to room temp before mixing it with the garlic, shallot, and thyme. If you remember, it’s a good idea to pull it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before getting started. If not, no worries! You’ll just need to use a little elbow grease and a silicone spatula.
Hands down my favorite part of these mini pear and goat cheese tarts are the flakey layers of the puff pastry. Puff pastry just brings me so much joy and it’s a fantastic base for these mini-tarts. It makes the recipe super easy to make, instead of making a traditional tart dough you just need to defrost the puff and there ya go! A (semi) instant base for the delish goat cheese and pear toppings.
The puff pastry I used for this recipe came from. can you guess? Yeah, Trader Joe’s. During the holidays they have a season puff pastry product that is REALLY good! Too bad it’s not in stock year-round. If you can’t get puff pastry from TJ’s, the two other options you’ll see around are Dufour and Pepperidge Farms. Both are good (check out this Serious Eats taste test for all the details), but if you want an all-butter option Dufour is the way to go as Pepperidge Farms uses shortening.
Recipes for the season: Goat Cheese & Caramelized Ramp Crostini
Spring has finally arrived! Yes, the temperatures are warming up, the sun is shining and flowers are blooming. But it’s the appearance of ramps at local farmers markets that truly marks the season for culinary enthusiasts.
“What the heck are ramps?” you ask? A member of the onion family, they’re one of the earliest spring greens with a potent flavor that’s a cross between garlic and onions with a slightly peppery bite.
Ramps are high in vitamins A and C. They are wild foraged, have a long growth cycle and a very short window of availability making them a more expensive and highly coveted ingredient.
Intrigued? Intimidated? Here are a couple of tips and recipes to get you started.
Purchasing: Ramps are sold in bunches. They have slim white ends resembling a scallion but broad green leaves and an unmistakable garlic aroma. Look for bright greens and pass on bunches with wilted leaves.
Storage: Handle with care! If you’re not going to use your ramps right away then store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag.
Cooking: Ramps are entirely edible from top to bottom. You can sauté them whole and eat them as a side dish, or chop them up for use in place of scallions, leeks or spring onions in any recipe. They tend to be dirty like leeks. So be sure to rinse thoroughly and pat dry before use.
Try these recipes and let me know what you think! Email me at [email protected]
Goat Cheese and Caramelized Ramp Crostini
Use this process to caramelize ramps for any use. But they’re particularly delicious in this crostini application.
1 bunch ramps, cleaned and chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped and divided
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
8 oz goat cheese
- Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in ramps. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until the ramps take on a caramel-like color, about 20-30 minutes.
- Deglaze with balsamic vinegar. Stir in half of the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, spread goat cheese on toasted baguette slices. Top with warm caramelized onions. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve.
Cilantro-Mint Yogurt Sauce
A refreshing spring condiment.
¼ cup cilantro
¼ cup mint
1 cup spring greens (e.g. spinach or kale)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Place cilantro, mint, ramp and greens in food processor or blender and pulse until minced. Add lime juice, oil and yogurt and blend until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Serve over grilled fish or chicken. Try it as a dip for spring veggies.
Executive Chef Melissa Wieczorek and her partner Chef Theo Petron own Zest Culinary Services (formerly A la Maison Personal Chef Service). Their mission is to help their clients eat well, live fit and have fun through food. Their services include prepared meal delivery, personal chef services, dinner parties—including interactive dinners—as well as catering. Check out their website here.
For the time, this was nice! I added powdered sugar, as someone else had suggested - because it was too tart and unidimensional before with the tartness of the goat cheese, lemon, AND tart sour cream. I also added fresh chopped and crushed rosemary and more chives, I enjoyed the herbiness, might try lemon thyme or something else too next time. Nice because you could keep the stuff on hand and pull out for last minute company - pretty, but just "good" reviews by guests, although it was all eaten up!
I added sugar to taste so that it tasted sweet and not so tart. We LOVED it!
I changed a few things: I beat the goat cheese with the sour cream and added about 2.5T of lemon juice. Also added chives and rosemary and served on rosemary crackers. MUCH better.
This has become one of my classic party appetizers. I have been asked many times to give out the recipe. Highly recommended - and so SIMPLE.
As a huge goat cheese fan, I was looking forward to making this. However, I found it very bland and boring. It was a waste of good goat cheese.
This was a very refreshing and easy appetizer. I added more chives than the recipe called for. Everyone loved it and it was great on zuchinni and squash rounds. Would definately make this again.
A cook from Texas--A great, easy, refreshing dish which was well recieved. Capers might add to add more interest. Will most certainly make again.
Fig and Goat Cheese Bites in Phyllo Cups
Fig and Goat Cheese Bites in Phyllo Cups – These easy, three ingredient appetizers are quick and easy, and taste amazing! Serve these easy appetizers at your next Christmas party, New Years Eve bash or any other party!
The holidays are here, and you know what that means? Food and parties! And party food. Throwing a party can be stressful, but don’t stress about the appetizers! These Fig and Goat Cheese Bites are festive and fancy – but easier than you think! With only three ingredients and ten minutes, you can be serving these cute goat cheese appetizers and wow your guests.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I am a fan of appetizers – especially appetizers that are easy to throw together but are delicious and impressive. Like these Bacon Wrapped Dates, or these Cranberry Brie Mini Tarts.
I’m a big fan of using these mini phyllo cups, because they are so easy to use and they make super cute and delicious appetizers. Not only did I use them in my Cranberry Brie Mini Tarts, but I also used them in these Pomegranate Goat Cheese Mini Tarts and these Easy Mini Baklava Cups. You can find these pre made phyllo cups in the freezer section at the grocery store.
Mini Peach Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey
When we&rsquore not eating fresh peaches straight over the sink with juice dribbling down our wrists, we&rsquore probably putting them in pastry chef Erin McDowell&rsquos mini savory peach tarts with goat cheese and honey. They have just the right amount of sweetness and spice to make our mouths water for more&mdasheven better, they&rsquore shockingly easy to make.
&ldquoWith store-bought puff pastry, it&rsquos really easy, and since you cut them into squares, there&rsquos no waste or scraps,&rdquo the author of The Fearless Baker tells us. And about that store-bought dough: We promise no one will know the difference. &ldquoThe secret is keeping it simple. Just by stacking three ingredients that complement each other, you get these beautiful-looking tarts. This is something I would eat, two of these and a salad for lunch or dinner&hellipor then lunch and dinner.&rdquo
A final sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes brings everything together, and voilà, you&rsquove got an effortless, gorgeous meal on your plate. Although, you might want to make a second batch&hellipthey&rsquore that good.
6 medium peaches (902g)—halved, pitted and sliced ¼-inch thick
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 sheets store-bought frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 small red onion (75g), thinly sliced
8 ounces (226g) goat cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the Peaches and Puff Pastry: Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the honey and crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff-pastry sheets to ¼-inch thick. Cut each sheet into 6 even squares&mdashyou should end up with 12 squares total.
3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and arrange the dough squares evenly between them.
4. Assemble the Tarts: Place a heaping tablespoon of goat cheese in the center of each square of puff pastry, and press it into an even layer. On top of the goat cheese, layer a few slices of red onion, then generously top with the peach slices. Season the tarts with freshly ground black pepper.
5. Bake the tarts until the crust is very golden brown and the peaches are tender, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the tarts to a cooling rack let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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- The number one rule of puff pastry is “chill the pastry”. Cold puff pastry puffs. Room temperature puff pastry doesn’t rise as much and/or rises unevenly.
- Serve this tart for a light lunch with this Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Greens Salad with Quince Vinaigrette. Elegant, easy and delicious!
- Check out these delicious appetizer recipes:
Pea Fritters with Goats Cheese Cream(Sprinkles and Sprouts)
Roasted Fennel, Salami and Ricotta Crostini (Inside the Rustic Kitchen)
Easy Cheese Dip (The Gingered Whisk)
Brie and Cranberries Baked in Puff Pastry
Puff Pastry Tart with Tomatoes, Asparagus and Herbed Feta
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This Easy, Cheesy Asparagus Tart Tastes Like You’re in France
Melissa Clark , a staff writer for the New York Times food section, is a self-proclaimed Francophile. As a kid, she spent summers in France, traversing the country with her family in search of a singular shared love: food. They’d buy up fresh produce at local markets, devoting the rest of the day to cook, or swing by brasseries and cafes, sitting down for the kind of unfussy French meals you often find in adorable small towns.
Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France, $24.72 on Amazon
Melissa has channeled that childhood joy of French cooking into her new book, “ Dinner in French .” The comprehensive cookbook boasts recipes inspired by her times spent in France: savory gruyère bread with ham, ratatouille sheet-pan chicken, scalloped potato gratin. Dessert is just as French, with the likes of cocoa hazelnut financiers and a bright yellow Meyer lemon tart with olive oil and fleur de sel. The sections, too, are divided into a list of Frenchified chapters (think units devoted solely to eggs and cheese and quiches), so you can turn straight to your favorite part of France—in the form of food.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 3, $22.53 on Amazon
For those who adore savory French tarts, you’ll want to look at Melissa’s recipe for one crowned with asparagus, goat cheese, and tarragon. All you’ll need is one thawed sheet of all-butter puff pastry (store bought, to make things super easy), which is rolled out, swiped with a mixture bound by creme fraiche, goat cheese, egg, garlic, tarragon, and nutmeg, then finished off with asparagus spears, a drizzling of olive oil, and some grated parmesan. It’s baked in the oven for 30 minutes, then ready to eat immediately. And you won’t want to wait: That sweet smell of butter and cheese will almost make you believe that you, too, are cooking out of a chateau in the south of France.
Reprinted from Dinner in French. Copyright © 2020 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Laura Edwards. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Tarragon Tart Recipe
Because you don’t have to make your own crust, this gorgeous asparagus-striped tart is so easy it almost feels like cheating. But it’s not—it’s just one of those perfectly simple yet stunning recipes that every French cook has in their repertoire: effortlessly chic, company-ready. Be sure to buy a good all-butter brand of puff pastry. There are so few ingredients in this recipe that each one makes an impact. If you can manage to serve this tart warm, within an hour of baking, it will be at its absolute best, with crisp pastry that shatters into buttery bits when you bite down and still-runny cheese. But it’s also excellent a few hours later, should you want to get all your baking done before your guests arrive. If tarragon isn’t your favorite herb, you can use chives, basil, or mint instead. And if you can manage to trim all the asparagus to the same length, this tart will be especially neat and orderly looking.
Watch the video: Apple and Cranberry Crumble. Gordon Ramsay (May 2022).