Tapenade Tarte Soleil and Feta Dip

 

feta tapenade tarte soleil - trustinkim

This really is a stunning and delicious puff pastry appetizer with a feta-cream cheese spread. The photos on Smitten Kitchen look so much better than mine – but I feel like I’m giving you a more realistic version of this recipe, because we can’t all make things look quite so perfect. I love the olive tapenade filling, and the feta spread is amazing. I was able to put it all together, to high praise from the devourers . . . but I’m not going to lie to you . . . it was a little tricky, and doesn’t quite look like the supermodel version I thought I’d be presenting.

It still looks pretty, and tastes amazing, but it was hard to make the rays look as uniform as the original. The biggest problem was that I baked it for double the time the recipe specified, and it was still not flakey in the middle . . . and yet the people loved it.

The only planning ahead you need to do is to thaw the puff pastry overnight in the fridge, or four hours minimum.

feta tapenade tarte soleil - trustinkim

What you need for the tarte soleil:

  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil from tomatoes, plus more if needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 packages puffed pastry (I used La Baguette & l’Echalot)
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seeds to sprinkle (optional)

What you need for the dip:

  • 170 grams/ 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 55 grams, 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt to taste, or none if your feta is very salty
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. To make the filling, combine the sun dried tomatoes, olives, oregano, garlic, olive oil and pepper in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped. Thin it with some olive oil if it doesn’t seem spreadable.
  2. Heat the oven to 350F.
  3. Roll the first package of puff pastry out on a large piece of parchment paper until it is about 30cm/12 inches in diameter. Use a 30cm round bowl or plate as a guide to cut the pastry into a circle. Put this pastry in the fridge, then repeat the process with the other pastry.
  4. Place the first pastry, still on its parchment paper, on a baking sheet. Spread the filling over the pastry, leaving about 2cm around the edge uncovered. Dab the edges with water and then place the other pastry on top.
  5. Place a small glass into the centre of the pastry as a guide, so you do not cut all the way into the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters from the edge of the glass out to the edges, at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock marks. Cut each quarter in half, then each in half again, until you have 32 strips. If the dough becomes difficult to work with you can put it in the freezer to get firmer (or if your freezer is too small, you can just do your best with it, like I did.)
  6. Remove the glass and begin the twisting; place a finger near the centre circle so that the strip doesn’t break off, and twist each strip a few times.
  7. Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water and brush it over the pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes (or much longer in my case) until the pastry is golden brown.
  9. While the pastry is in the oven, make the feta dip. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until they are smooth.
  10. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. To serve, place it on a serving tray and tear off the rays and dip them in feta or spread it on to eat.

 

slicing tarte soleil - trustinkim

twisting tarte soleil -trustinkim

Leek, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

leek, mushroom and goat cheese tart- trustinkim

This is one awesome dish! The puff pastry gets rolled out and baked first, then comes a layer of goat cheese, with egg to thicken it, is added and baked. Finally, the vegetables are piled on, topped with more goat cheese, and then finished under the broiler. A little bit of freshly cracked pepper finishes it off before it gets devoured. I brought this to a potluck while ago and it was a big hit. People have been patiently waiting for me to post the recipe… so here it is, finally.

The mushroom/leek/fennel part can be done ahead of time if you want to have everything ready to go before you prepare the tart. You need to defrost the puff pastry ahead of the time; following the instructions, I put it in the fridge over night, but you may also defrost for just two hours before cooking.

I found the recipe here, and I believe I used the recipe without changing a thing (except the freshly ground pepper on top) – a rare occurrence! Oh, I did do one thing differently; I burned the crust ever so slightly. But it was still delicious. To avoid this next time I will rotate the pan part way through baking, and have some tin foil on hand to cover any parts of the pastry that seem to be getting too dark.

What you need:

  • 1 small bulb fennel
  • 2 medium leeks,  halved lengthwise and rinsed carefully
  • 16 medium white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 package puff pastry (I used Le Baguette et l’Echalotte’s), defrosted according to package directions
  • 3 eggs
  • 225 grams (8 ounces) goat cheese (substitute cream cheese if you dislike goat cheese)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Trim the green top and root off the fennel; quarter it from top to bottom. Using a mandoline or knife, slice the fennel, and then the white and light-green parts of the leeks, as thinly as you can.
  2. Clean and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add the fennel and leeks and sauté until they are just tender, about 6 minutes. Place the fennel in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat; add the mushrooms and sauté until they are browned, about 5 minutes. Combine the fennel mixture with the mushrooms and cook briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the stove top.
  5. Lightly flour your countertop and unfold the pastry onto it. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise to create two long rectangles. Roll out to about 12 x 30 cm (5 x 14 inches) and place on baking sheets. Trim about 1cm off the edges all around. Break one of the eggs into a small bowl and beat it slightly. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg, then use the trimmed pieces to create a raised border around the edges. Brush the whole surface of the pastry with the egg. Prick the inside surface of the pastry all over with a fork, then bake for about 10 minutes until it is a pale gold colour.
  6. While the pastry is in the oven, use a fork to beat 170 grams (6 ounces) of the goat cheese with the remaining two eggs. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently, then spread the goat cheese mixture onto the interior of the pastry. Bake for about 4 minutes, until set.
  7. Spread the vegetable mixture over the tart, then crumble the rest of the cheese on top. Broil for a few minutes just before serving, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. Top with freshly cracked pepper and serve immediately.