I had two hours to put together a treat for a Boston blogger get-together last week and didn't really know what I was going to make. The directive was for finger foods - finger foods? I'm not much of a finger food girl. I asked my friends - via facebook - what they thought I should do. They came up with about 15 different ideas - some tea sandwiches, many bacon ideas, a few amazing tips for pre-made puff pastry dough. In the end I decided to stick with gluten-free and low cost - being unemployed, I can't really afford to spend money on putting together expensive treats. I scoured the refrigerator for ingredients - I found local ricotta, eggs from Pete & Jen's Backyard Birds (our local micro-farm eggs), some olives and a little Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I had just seen a recipe for a sweet almond crust, so I decided I'd improvise a sweet one. I knew roughly the ratio I wanted to use. The resulting crust was very tender, a touch crumbly, but quite delicious. The crumbliness is easily addressed by the addition of an egg yolk. Here's the recipe I used. It makes one large quiche crust or about 24 small tart shells.
Cake & Commerce's Savory Tart Dough
- 3/4 C Whole blanched almonds
- 1 C Light buckwheat flour
- 2 oz COLD butter (1/2 stick)
- 1.5 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 t cayenne
- 1 egg yolk OR 1-2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor, using the blade, grind the almonds and the Parmigiano-Reggiano together until both are reduced to powder. Add in buckwheat flour and continue to grind until well combined. Add in egg or water. Mix until well combined and dough forms a ball (if it doesn't, add water, a drop or two at time. Don't worry - you won't overwork it!):
Because there's not gluten in this dough, you don't need to let it rest. Taking a pinch of dough, place it in a mini tin and with your fingers shape it to fit the mold, with a little lip at the top:
It doesn't need to be perfect, but you should definitely make this neater than I did!
If you can, blind bake the shells (place parchment paper on top and weigh down with baking weights or beans). If not, you'll want to pull out the shells after they've warmed but before they've browned to push down the dough with your fingers. Blind baking works better....
They'll look like this after about 10 minutes:
You'll want to pull them soon thereafter, as you are going to fill them and bake them again. While the pan is still hot, I remove the shells VERY GENTLY from the pan and place them in baking cups:
Because the pan I use to bake the mini tarts are a little tough to maneuver once the tart is baked, I like to bake them, filled, inside a paper baking cup - it prevents breakage when the tarts are finished.
In this version, I put together a ricotta mixture made with 2 yolks, 1/2 lb ricotta, my favorite spices, some grated parmigiano-reggiano, a little milk, caramelized onions, salt, pepper, a squeeze or two of lemon juice and a little goat cheese in the middle. I filled each of the shells and topped them with finely shaved olives and baked them until they were mostly set, about 10-12 minutes.
Eat while warm or serve at room temperature. They also heat up nicely. Enjoy!