May 21--Sometimes all you want is something small to pop into your mouth, but one that has all the big flavors. There's where a savory tartlet comes in.

It has all the taste profiles of its big sister, the tart, but is not so delicate or fussy when it comes to appearance or preparation. In fact, the tartlet can look a little rough around the edges but that is its charm.

Think bite-size, pull out your mini muffin pan, grease the cups and you are in business.

Start with a crust made from scratch with flour, butter and salt or go with refrigerated phyllo or pastry cups or crescent dinner rolls. When shaping the crust in the pan, make sure it is not thick as you do need to leave some room for the filling. At the same time, the crust should not be too thin as it has to shoulder the vegetable, meat or cheese topping.

Spoon or pipe in a filling, which should not be too runny. Finish the crisp tartlets with a garnish that complements the filling either before or after they are baked in the oven.

After the adorable tartlets have cooled down, pop one in your mouth; you'll find the satisfaction you were seeking.

Savory fillings for a tartlet are very fungible and so make what your heart desires. Here are some suggestions:

Provencal goat cheese tartlet: Dock the crust (prick it with a fork) before baking it. While the crust is baking, make the filling by mixing goat cheese and heavy cream. Stir in chives, dried herbs like tarragon, rosemary and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Combine the mixture well and spoon it into the tartlet crusts. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes.

Red pepper or spinach tartlet: Finely chop red pepper or spinach. Add minced garlic and shallot to the vegetable along with cream cheese, red pepper flakes and salt. Add grated Gruyere cheese and combine well. Fill the tartlet crust with the vegetable mixture and sprinkle buttered panko breadcrumbs on top. Then bake them in the oven.

Chorizo, leeks, ricotta tartlet: Dock and bake the crust first. In the meantime, cook crumbled spicy chorizo and finely chopped leeks in a skillet. Add a pinch of nutmeg and salt to taste. After the mixture has cooled, combine it with ricotta cheese. Spoon the filling into the baked crust and top with fresh thyme or finely chopped basil.

Arthi Subramaniam: asubramaniam@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1494.

Mushroom Tartlets

PG tested

Any savory cream cheese will work for these tartlets. If all you have is plain cream cheese, that is fine, too.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (8-ounce) package fresh white mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup chive and onion cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt oil in a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add cream cheese, red pepper flakes and Parmesan; cook and stir for 1 more minute or until cream cheese is melted. Remove from heat; set aside.

Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles; firmly press perforations and seams together to seal. Cut each rectangle into 12 squares. Place 1 square in each of 24 mini muffin cups with corners of squares extending over rims of cups. Firmly press dough onto bottom and up side of each cup. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons mushroom mixture into each cup.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley. Cool in pan 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 24 tartlets.

-- Adapted from myfamilyandfood.com

First Published May 21, 2020, 7:00am

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