Hasty Pastry...

>> Friday, 21 May 2010

Last week, I continued my efforts to face my pastry fear by making short crust pastry for quiches (Tasty Pastry). I concluded, after much mess and stress, that homemade pastry is not for school nights!

I will definitely continue to perfect this skill (I’ll feel a bit of a cooking fraud otherwise – my inability always on the brink of being revealed), but I’m going to investigate a few cheats that are more fitting for mid-week eating (..hence, Hasty Pastry!)

I’ve played around with two different savoury tarts, both made from just four ingredients each and served in less than twenty minutes. Leaving plenty of time for wine and relaxing……Don’t let the simpleness put you off though, they are really, really yummy!


• 1 pack puff pastry
• 1 jar green pesto
• Tomato Tart only = Handful of cherry tomatoes (about 10 tomatoes per tart)
• Tomato Tart only = Cream cheese (about 1 tsp per tart)
• Asparagus Tart only = Handful of asparagus (about 4 spears per tart)
• Asparagus Tart only = grated cheese (enough to sprinkle over each tart)

First up….the Tomato Tart, which I’ve photographed at each stage to show you how easy it really is…

OK, heat the oven to 180c/GM 4, cut a circle of puff pastry (use a pastry cutter or a plate if you want to make one giant tart) and score a smaller circle into the pastry create a 2cm rim…..

Now, spread your pesto (about 1tsp per small tart – too much and it’ll go soggy) into the inner circle....

....and top with your cherry tomatoes which you’ve sliced in half...

Pop into the oven for 10 -15 minutes until the edges have risen and are lightly browned....

Pop on 1 tsp of your cream cheese and serve!

The asparagus tart is equally simple…prepare the asparagus by throwing away the woody ends (just snap them off, placing stalks in a covered bowl in the microwave with 1 tbsp of water and zap on high for 2 minutes. Cut your pastry into a rectangle and score a smaller rectangle to create a 2cm rim. Spread with pesto as before, place your asparagus on top and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the oven and 10-15 minutes later, you’re done.

 I feel a bit silly posting this as it’s so easy, but I think you need some quick standby dishes and I always have the basic ingredients in. I often serve this as a starter when I’ve not got a lot of time to cook. You can play around with the flavours too , I’ve put some options below but it’s pretty much anything goes!!

• Caramelised onions and goats cheese (sprinkled with thyme)
• Olive tapenade, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella
Sundried tomato puree, parma ham and dolcelatte• Red pesto, cream cheese and basil
• Quince jam, manchego cheese and parma ham
• Pea puree and pancetta
• Caponata and Parmesan

I’ve got some really good pastry dessert cheats too which I’ll share at some point (Hasty Pastry Puds…mmmm).

Hope you like – if you any cheats of your own, please share via Facebook!

Helen xx

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