We’ve found that by using puff pastry your dishes can look more professional. Take for instance this Provencal Tomato Tart that we made last summer when juicy vine-ripened tomatoes were in season, served atop puff pastry and can be found here.
Today we’ve made individual savory puff pastry tarts with apples, blue cheese, and walnuts, served for a light lunch with a green salad tossed with a tart lemony vinaigrette (recipe here) & a few grape tomatoes thrown in for color. This savory apple tart would also make a nice starter dish for dinner. We’ve found that guests really like it when they get their own individual tart made just for them.
This apple tart recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks – The Lazy Gourmet, Magnificent Meals Made Easy by Robin Donovan & Juliana Gallin. It’s a cookbook I often turn to for sophisticated recipes that are also easy. You might remember one of my all time favorite dishes to serve for dinner guests - Baked Chicken with Lemons & Olives, which can be found here. Well it happens to be from The Lazy Gourmet too. I recently served it for a small family reunion at our home the week prior to Easter and it was a big hit. One of the best things about this recipe is that the crispy potato wedges bake alongside the chicken at the same temperature and the same cooking time. That alone makes life a whole lot easier for the cook.
The authors suggest several different combinations you might try. What if you substituted figs, apricots or pears for the apple and used Gruyere, a sharp Cheddar, or Manchego in lieu of the blue cheese. Or you could turn this dish into a dessert by using ricotta in place of the blue cheese and omitting the black pepper. Let you imagination be your guide in creating your own individual tarts.
This tart is best served right out of the oven, but if you want to make it ahead an hour or so (or happen to have leftovers), the tarts can be re-heated in a 400 degrees F oven until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Individual Savory Apple, Blue Cheese & Walnut Tarts
Very slightly adapted from The Lazy Gourmet, Magnificent Meals Made Easy by Robin Donovan & Juliana Gallin, makes 4 individual tarts
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
A bit of flour for your board
1 medium sweet tart apple, such as a Pink Lady, also known as a Cripps Pink, quartered, cored & sliced into 1/8” thick slices (I used a Cripps Pink, but a Honeycrisp or a Fuji are also excellent)
4 ounces Cambozola (a cheese that’s a combination of a French soft-ripened triple cream & Italian Gorgonzola), or other mild blue cheese of your choice, thinly sliced or crumbled
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
Beaten egg (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Cut sheet into 4 squares and place on the prepared baking sheet. Prick the dough with a fork to release steam and prevent it from puffing up, taking care not to prick the 1” outer edge because you want that outer edge to puff up.
Lay 4 apple slices, slightly overlapping in the center of the square. (You may have a few apple slices left over as a cook’s treat.) Follow with the cheese, then the chopped walnuts, a drizzle of honey and lastly a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper over each tart. If you desire a nice brown glaze on the tart, brush the outer edges with a beaten egg as a final step.
Bake the tart in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and nicely puffed up around the edge. Serve warm.
Cook’s note: The tart is best served warm out of the oven. However, it can be made ahead a couple of hours and reheated in a 400 degree F oven for about 5 minutes, until reheated.