Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recipe Angst

I have often thought puff pastry

had a rather "mystical quality" about it.  As it bakes the sheets seem to magically rise to a flaky crispy texture with very little work. The sheets are quite versatile  for appetizers, main dishes and desserts. So when I saw Tomato Jewels online it looked like the perfect appetizer to bring to a dinner party. And the best part was I only needed to buy one ingredient: goat cheese.
But looks can deceiving and sadly my first attempt did not look like the picture and went in the trash. The recipe called for cutting dough into triangles which was not enough pastry to hold the tomato. I was determined to make this work. So on my second try with several modifications I cut the dough into squares and my results were so much better. The appetizer turned out great and in the end was worth the effort. My adaptations are noted in cook's notes. And you will be happy to know all the "kinks" have been worked out for this recipe:)

The above photo is my first failed attempt

Cook's notes: Use two large pieces of parchment paper rather than wax paper to roll out thawed pastry sheet. Be sure to spread flour in a wide radius on the parchment paper so dough does not stick. You will use only 1/2 of the box rest can go back into freezer.  
I used a product called Garlic and Herbs Goat cheese. Its texture was firmer that using Boursin or Alouette soft cheese. 
To save time the tomato cheese mixture can be made ahead earlier in day and refrigerated 
The pastry sheet was cut in 2-1/2 squares. The recipe makes 16 appetizers.

Tomato Jewels
  • 1- 4 oz. garlic and herbs goat cheese
  • 1/2 box puff pastry sheets
  • 1 container of cherry tomatoes
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large TB. ground walnuts 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

  • Lightly roll pastry sheet out on parchment floured paper 10 x 10
  • Measure out 4 strips each 2-1/2 wide and cut lengthwise
  • Then cut diagonally 4 strips each 2-1/2 wide with a total of 16 squares
  • Press into mini muffin tins and  make a indentation in center bake 5 minutes
  • Using end of a wooden spoon press in indentation again and bake two minutes more
  • While pastry cups are baking cut slits in tomatoes and scoop out seeds-drain on a paper towel
  • In a small bowl mix goat cheese with walnuts and Parmesan 
  • Use 1/2 tsp. to fill each tomato
  • Press tomato in center of pastry and grate Parmesan cheese over all pastry cups 
  • Bake 5 minutes longer or until golden brown
  • Remove and cool on a wire rack
Serving tip: Serve with a dry, crisp white wine 
Pepperidge Farm is a commercial bakery in the U.S. founded in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin, who named the brand after her family's property in Fairfield, Connecticut, which in turn was named for the pepperidge tree, Nyssa sylvatica. Since 1961, the company has been owned by the Campbell Soup Company. It is based in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Its products include Milanos, and Nantucket cookies, Goldfish crackers, and varieties of bread.
Puff Pastry is made with the same basic ingredients as pie pastry, but the dough is folded multiple times to create layers. When baked, steam makes the layers rise about 8 times higher.

For more recipes using puff pastry go to

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