GREAT RECIPE! Really, truly, honestly, very delicious and an absolute cinch to make if you have puff pastry on hand.
The recipe calls for onions and “new” potatoes, which are nowhere to be found here in Laramie in September. I opted for fingerlings and they were just fine.
The onions and potatoes are left round and sliced into discs.
Miniature (5 inch) pie tins are generously buttered. These tartes are made “Tatin” style, so there is no pie crust between the filling and the pie tin while these bake, making the butter essential. The butter also contibutes to the flavor of the onions and potatoes while they bake.
Puff pastry is rolled out thin and then cut into circles. My puff pastry always shrinks while baking, even if it goes into a very hot oven while completely frozen, so I cut my circles a little larger than the pie tins.
These “circles” are then pricked all over with a fork and placed flat on a baking sheet and transferred to the freezer to firm up. I love, love, love working with the MSBH’s puff pastry. It is so cooperative and easy to work with – very forgiving stuff!
My puff pastry also shrinks while freezing, so I just have to trim up a little bit when I bring them out of the freezer to finish the actual tartes. I pretty much trimmed them flush with the outer lip of the pie tin and they shrunk to just within the size of the inner lip.
The individual tartes are formed by placing some sliced onions in the bottom of the buttered tins. The onions will ultimately be the top of the tartes.
Then the potatoes go on top of the onions. Using larger “new” potatoes would have allowed me to circle and overlap the potatoes around the pie tin in a “fan” as the MSBH instructs. Because I was using the much, much smaller fingerlings, I just heaped them in there.
A healthy dose of salt and pepper…
And then the frozen disc of puff pastry tops it all off. It literally takes less than a minute to assemble each tarte. And once assembled, there’s nothing left to do except bake.
They bake up so nice! This is such an impressive recipe, especially considering how quick and easy they are. You can see how my puff pastry shrunk to within the inner lip of the tins while baking. The MSBH has you putting a small disc of the pastry inside the lip of the tin to begin with, but that would have left me with a teeny-tiny crust for my baked tartes. I don’t know how to get my puff pastry not to shrink, so I adapt my execution accordingly.
Don’t let that picture above fool you – these tartes need to be inverted immediately after leaving the oven. I just set them on the cooling rack for a quick photo. Then it was on to the plates with them while they were still piping hot.
Some of the onions stuck to the bottom of my tins, so definitely err on the side of using too much butter on the tins, especially if you are using standard metal tins that are not non-stick.
During the final minutes of baking, I made the suggested balsamic syrup using a wee-bit of balsamic vinegar and an even wee-ier bit of sugar.
This is allowed to reduce on the stovetop and then bits of cold butter are whisked in.
This syrup is drizzled over the tartes and they are ready to serve! Pretty little things, these, if almost entirely beige.
They are delicious! The onions caramelize while the tartes bake and the potatoes become tender and buttery. As with all the other recipes made with the MSBH’s puff pastry, the crust is light and buttery, crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
They are a perfect size and a very filling main course (especially for vegetarians!) – like a fancy open-face roasted veggie sandwich. They also have a genuine elegance about them, on account of the puff pastry and balsamic reduction.
I am already thinking about all the other vegetables that could be used as a variation on the onions and potatoes – leeks, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (seeds and juices removed first), zucchini, mushrooms, – the possibilities are endless. Whatever time of year, you could make these tartes with what is in season.
And, you could even pre-cut the puff pastry circles and store them together in the freezer (use a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to separate each circle) and just take out however many you need, whenever you want to quickly throw this dish together. Seriously, this recipe is a keeper – a very good thing.
Another win for the MSBH!