Tag Archives: Ina Garten

Not Your Average Afterschool Snack: Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

-Whitney Barton

I pretty much love anything with puff pastry or phyllo dough.   Crispy, buttery, flakey; what’s not to like?  These little pizza-esque tarts are not only delicious and easy to make, but they possess that little x-factor that tastes like they came out of a small, chic bakery.  Not your college student apartment.  Find the original Ina Garten recipe here.

Tips:

–   Buy the puff pastry at the grocery story.  I am a HUGE fan of homemade, but when it comes to puff pastry, save yourself the 36 hours (I wish I was exaggerating), and just pick it up for three bucks.

–   Get some parchment paper!  It’s in the isle with wax paper and saran wrap.  Every cook should have it; it’s a time saver, and when baking it protects the bottom of whatever you’re making.

–   Pull the pastry out of the freezer. Maybe 10 minutes or so before cooking, as they take about as long to defrost as it does to prepare the tarts.

–   Don’t have a rolling pin?  Just use a glass.  My makeshift rolling pin for years was a pint glass.  Just flour it and you’re good to go.

–   Get the onions and garlic started before you even look at the rest of the recipe.  (In reality though, I strongly recommend reading every recipe in its entirety before you reach for your cutting board.  Read it twice.  Thrice even.  Just read it.)  You’ll be essentially caramelizing the onions, which takes a while.

–   Don’t like goat cheese?  Don’t use it!  You can still make this dish; just choose a different  (probably soft) cheese.  Mozzarella, gouda, fontina, whatever suites your taste.  When I first discovered the beauty of swapping ingredients, it was both mentally freeing and pure culinary magic.  I encourage everyone to do it.

–   I used shaved pecorino cheese instead of parmesan.  It’s a hard, salty sheep’s milk cheese with a great buttery, nutty flavor.   I love it.

–   Set your timer for 17 minutes.  The recipe says 20-25.  I pulled mine out at 18 and the bottoms were borderline burnt.  Another minute and they would have been scorched. After smelling the delicious onions and garlic for 30+ minutes, I may have shed a tear.  Just one.

–   If you’re 21+, pour yourself a glass of wine.  It really just enhances the cooking experience.

 Bon appétit!