Monday, July 18, 2011

Apple, Goat Cheese and Honey Tartlets

I found the recipe for these tartlets in Bon Appétit, in a Rosh Hashanah montage. I halved the recipe using one package (125 g) of lactose-free goat cheese, and I left the peel on the apples because I didn’t have a vegetable peeler in my summer kitchen (I’ve now remedied the situation, after thinking of the alternative in the ad for the Willi Waller). I completely forgot to use the allspice, though, even though I did have some. I also improvised something for the tartlet crusts themselves: I made four tartlets, for which 1 apple would have been enough, and used more dough for each crust; I rolled up the edges instead of cutting separate rings (no cutters the right size), so I also omitted the egg wash. Since I had more dough in each tartlet, though, I left them longer in the oven.

The Engineer normally doesn’t like goat cheese, but this time, he said it didn’t bother him. I loved it, of course, but I think it would be nice to actually mix some of the honey in the goat cheese instead of drizzling all of it on top of the tartlets after baking. Hopefully, I’ll get around to making these again with the proper-sized cookie cutters! They’re really worth it.

2 17.3-oz packages frozen puff pastry (4 sheets), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
6 oz soft lactose-free goat cheese (about ¾ cup packed)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp coarse kosher salt
3 medium Gala apples, peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted
¾ cup honey (preferably dark), divided
½ tsp (scant) ground allspice (optional)

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out each puff pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to 11-inch square. Using 5-inch-diameter cookie cutter or bowl, cut out 4 rounds from each pastry sheet, forming 16 rounds total. Divide 8 pastry rounds between prepared baking sheets; pierce rounds all over with fork. Using 3 ½-inch-diameter cookie cutter or bowl, cut out smaller rounds from center of remaining 8 rounds (reserve 3 ½-inch rounds for another use), forming eight 5-inch-diameter rings. Brush outer 1-inch edges of 5-inch rounds on baking sheets with beaten egg; top each with 1 pastry ring. Freeze at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Mix cheese, lemon juice, and salt in bowl (along with a bit of honey if you wish); spread mixture inside rings on frozen pastry rounds. Overlap apple slices atop cheese. Mix butter and ¼ cup honey in small bowl; brush over apples. Sprinkle with allspice. Bake until apples are tender and pastry is golden, about 35 minutes.

Place tartlets on plates. Drizzle about 1 Tbsp honey over each and serve warm or at room temperature.

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