Archive for the 'cheese' Category

Brie Pop Tarts

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How about a little pastry and cheese on a stick to ring out the year properly?

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These babies were inspired by a need to use up the puff pastry in my freezer and cheese in my fridge, as well as the myriad of little jars of preserves selected especially for cheese and half eaten over the holidays. Of course the idea of eating the combination off a stick came from Joy, and if I know myself (sometimes I wonder if I really do) I know I won’t be able to shake the thought until I make them come to life, as it were.

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The great thing about puff pastry (or one of many) is that you can unroll it, or roll it out, and fill it with just about anything – meltable cheese, preserves, leftovers, you name it – and it will puff up and turn flaky and golden as it bakes and look fantastic – and make you look fantastic.

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The sticks are just for fun, of course. If you have a box of Popsicle sticks in the basement because you thought you should have them on hand for spreading glue or toddler crafts that you never made use of, you could grab a few and stick them in between the layers of puff.

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Or leave them out – the little pockets are just as tasty off-stick. That way, no one gets the short end of it. Ba-dum-bum.

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They could, of course, be assembled ahead of time and kept in wait in the fridge, at the ready to slide into the oven at the exact moment your friends are expected to arrive to help ring in the new year.

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Perfect with a bottle of bubbles. Just sayin’.

Brie Pop Tarts

1 pkg. puff pastry, thawed
onion marmalade or apple, apricot or fig jam
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, unroll (or roll out) a piece of thawed puff pastry into about an 8×10-inch rectangle and cut into 12 rectangles. Place half of them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Top half of the rectangles with a small piece of Brie and a spoonful of apple, apricot, onion or fig jam. Brush the edges with beaten egg and if you like, add a Popsicle stick or wood coffee stir stick to a short end, overlapping the edge by about half an inch.

Top with the remaining pastry rectangles; press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
Brush the tops with egg wash and poke once or twice with a fork.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Makes as many as you like.

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December 29 2014 | appetizers and cheese and pie | 10 Comments »

Butter Chicken Tarts with Gouda


(I’ve been a tad obsessed with vintage cookbooks lately – especially those from the fifties and sixties, with their overuse of food colouring and vivid food photos. Although there are no frankfurters or gellies here, don’t you think this photo could be circa 1963?)

I was on the road for a chunk of last week, talking on TV about local cheese and the myriad of ways it makes people happy during the holidays. Cheese is generally the focal point when people gather at our house at this time of year – almost always melty, and in enormous quantities. I tend to fall back on the usuals – goat cheese with warmed herby, garlicky olive oil, a skillet fondue, baked brie with maple-pecan praline and the omnipresent homemade Raincoast crisps – but among the recipes we made was a butter chicken tart, smothered in Gouda. That’s right.


I can’t take full credit for these – the recipe was developed for the Dairy Farmers of Canada (they put together 30 holiday recipes, divided into 5 party menus, from casual to fancy), and the food stylist brought them to the set premade along with ingredients to start from the beginning. After we finished taping, she let me bring the assembled tarts home to bake for a Christmas party last night – let me tell you people become very excited when presented with a platter of warm tarts filled with butter tart filling and topped with golden, bubbling cheese.

Gouda Butter Chicken Tarts

15 homemade or store-bought tart shells
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup 35% cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/4 cup grated Canadian Gouda, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place tart shells on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken with the onions, garlic and curry powder for 4–5 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and half the cheese. Divide among tart shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for 10–15 minutes, or long enough to melt the cheese. Makes about 15 tarts.

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December 07 2014 | appetizers and cheese and pie | 12 Comments »

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