as important as the main meal is on christmas, equally important (in my humble opinion) is an appetizer or two to get you started off on the right note. i have made + sampled many appetizers + still am wowed by these delicious tomato + goat cheese tarts. they are savory + rich without being overwhelming, + by converting them to mini-tarts, they don’t fill you up too much before dinner.
additionally, they are relatively quick, easy, + inexpensive to make. a few notes – splurge + buy a really tasty goat cheese. that’s the star of this, so it’s worth it. i usually omit the tomato on a few tarts, as some people are not huge fans of tomato. in the past, i’ve done variations, too – instead of onions/garlic on all of them, i sauteed cremini mushrooms with shallots + balsamic vinegar + made that the topping on some, which was a huge hit. next time you’re looking for an appetizer to bring to a dinner party, try these!
tomato + goat cheese tarts
makes 4 large tarts, or 24 mini tarts, adapted from the barefoot contessa
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces plain or garlic+herb goat cheese (montrachet makes a lovely herb version)
1 large tomato, cut into 1/4”thick slices for large tarts, or smaller slices/pieces of mini-tarts
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface + roll it lightly to an 11 x 11” square. using a 6-inch wide saucer (for large tarts) or pint-size glass (for mini-tarts) as a guide, cut circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding scraps. repeat with the second pastry sheet (will make 4 circles for large tarts, 24 for mini tarts). place the pastry circles on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper + refrigerate until ready to use.
preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat + add the onions + garlic. saute for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp + there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, + thyme + continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. remove from the heat.
using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4” wide border around each large pastry circle (or a slightly smaller border for mini tarts). prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork + sprinkle a tablespoon of grated parmesan (less for mini-tarts) on each round, staying inside the scored border.
place 1/4 of the onion mixture (or less for mini tarts) on each circle, again staying within the scored border. crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese (less for mini tarts) on top of the onions. place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. brush the tomato lightly with olive oil + sprinkle with basil, salt, + pepper. finally, scatter a couple parmesan peelings on each tart.
bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. the bottom baking sheet may need an extra few minutes in the oven. serve hot or warm.