One could make one’s own puff pastry and it would undoubtedly be delicious. But it would also take ages. So unless it’s for a really special occasion when the difference would be noted, I am generally in favour of using the ready made stuff.
Be alert to the possibility it might get arrested on weapons charges and change it’s name to P Pistry. That notwithstanding these are very, very easy. I pinched the courgette and pesto idea from my friend Julz who is a great vegetarian cook but now lives in New York so sadly I don't get to eat her food these days. They would be lovely with a salad: a balsamic-dressed tomato one with the courgette tart or green leaves with the tomato and mozzarella.
Puff Pastry Tarts: Courgette & Pesto or Tomato & Mozarella (makes 4)
- 1 packet readymade puff pastry, either block or ready rolled
- 1 egg
- 1 courgette
- 3tbsp pesto
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- 250g mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
- If you have a block of puff pastry, roll it out to approximately ½ cm thick, if ready-rolled just lay it out. Divide it into four quarters. Put them on a baking tray.
- Score a line in the pastry to form an inner border, 2cm from the edge.
- Grate the courgette into a bowl and mix in the pesto. Spoon it onto the pastry, keeping within the line. OR Chop the tomatoes in half and tear the mozzarella into pieces. Arrange them within the line.
- Whisk the egg and brush a thin layer on the exposed pastry outside the scored line.
- Bake the tarts for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown with the sides risen. Serve straight away, perhaps with a few fresh basil leaves scattered on top.
Ifs And Ands
- Substitute shredded spinach for the courgette or piece of red pepper for the tomato.
- Goats cheese or feta would be lovely instead of mozzarella.
- Plenty of other fillings would work to: mushrooms sautéed briefly in garlic butter, cheddar cheese mixed with finely chopped onions or softened leeks mixed with blue cheese.
- Sweet fillings work too. Try fresh berries or roasted rhubarb and sprinkle some sugar on top of the egg-washed pastry before the tarts go in the oven.