This quick and easy puff pastry pie is a wonderful way to use up leftover veggies. We like to spruce it up with a bit of bacon and hard Dutch goat's cheese (Hollandse geitenkaas), but you could just as easily make a vegetarian version with some woodsy walnuts. If you're preparing these tarts for a group that includes vegetarians, use another frying pan for the bacon and keep the bacon separate from the other ingredients until you're ready to top the pies.
To make this recipe at work you will need a baking sheet; parchment (or greaseproof) paper; a frying pan or skillet; paper kitchen towels and a pastry brush.
- 2 oz./50 g bacon (cut into strips)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 medium leeks (thinly sliced)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
- 1/2 lb/200 g sliced mushrooms
- 1 egg
- 8 sq. (4 x 4-inch/10 x 10 cm) frozen puff pastry
- 1 cooked beet (or other cooked leftovers, such as carrots, finely chopped)
- 1 cup (100 g) hard Dutch goat's cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Take the puff pastry out of the freezer and arrange squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the squares at least 1-inch (2 cm) apart.
In a frying pan or skillet, cook the bacon in 1 tbsp of the olive oil, until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper kitchen towel.
Add the leeks and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook over a medium-low heat until soft and glistening. Towards the end of cooking, add the garlic and finely chopped rosemary. Remove the cooked leek mixture from the pan and set aside.
Now add the other tbsp of olive oil, along with a pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper, and cook the mushrooms over a medium heat until soft, stirring regularly. If the mushrooms have produced a lot of liquid, strain in a sieve.
Beat the egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Using a fork, prick the center of the puff pastry, making sure to leave a 1 1/2-inch (2 cm) band around the edge of the pastry. This will ensure that the pastry won't rise in the center, while the unpricked outside will rise to form a crust.
Mix the bacon, leeks, and mushrooms together. Spoon some of this mixture onto the center of each pastry square. Top with the diced beet and the grated goat's cheese.
Bake the tarts in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pastry edges turn golden brown. Serve warm.
We always use good quality store-bought puff pastry, but if you're a purist, make your own homemade puff pastry from scratch.
We used 8 squares of frozen puff pastry straight from the box, but if you're using fresh or ready-rolled puff pastry simply roll out and cut into 4 x 4-inch/10 x 10 cm squares.
There's no need to cook just one beet for this recipe (we usually use leftover veggies, anyway), but if you don't have any, it may be reassuring to know that most supermarkets carry cooked beets. You can also microwave a whole raw beet: simply pierce the skin and place the beet with 2 tbsp water in a microwave safe dish. Cover, and cook on high for 9 to 12 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before peeling and using. For more tips, watch About.com's Cooking Beets video.
You can serve these tarts as an appetizer or as a light lunch with a fresh green salad. To make the salad, toss mixed salad greens with a finely sliced red onion, walnuts and a dressing of walnut oil and lemon juice, mixed with a finely chopped clove of garlic.