Fennel Seed Tartlet Shells

Fennel Seed Shortcrust Tartlet Shells, Gather and Graze

Good things come in small packages! These days, I find myself so incredibly partial to Tapas, finger food, hors d’oeuvres and the like. Both sweet and savoury… as long as it’s bite-size and can be nibbled on intermittently while sipping on a glass of wine or champagne. A relaxing, happy way of eating. Summery and festive, with Christmas and holidays on the horizon!

A savoury, spice-infused shortcrust pastry recipe that can be topped, so easily, with all manner of deliciousness.

Fennel Seed Tartlet Shells | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes about 36 Tartlets
  • Print

  • 150g/1 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds (bashed up a little using a mortar and pestle)
  • ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 80g Cold Unsalted Butter (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 Free-Range Egg Yolk (beaten together with 2 Tablespoons Iced Water)

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, fennel seeds and sea salt. Add the butter and pulse a few more times until it becomes the texture of course breadcrumbs. Now pour in the egg yolk/water mixture and pulse until the pastry just comes together in a ball. Refrigerate the pastry (wrapped up in cling wrap) for about 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out onto a board dusted with flour, to a thickness of about 3mm. Using a round cookie cutter (approx 5 cm in diameter), cut discs of pastry and press them into mini-muffin trays. Chill the prepared trays in the freezer for 10 minutes, before baking.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Allow the shells to cool in the muffin trays for a few minutes, before carefully removing to a cooling rack.

The tartlet shells are now ready for you to dress up with your chosen fillings – the options are endless, however I’ve listed a few possibilities at the end of this post.

The photo above, shows some shells filled with Goat’s Curd and topped with some roasted red peppers/capsicum, fresh thyme leaves, a drizzle of E.V olive oil and a little grinding of pepper and salt.

Fennel Seed Shortcrust Tartlet Shells, Gather and Graze

Notes on Cooking

  • If the filling you intend to place in the tartlets requires baking as well, par-bake the shells for only about 12 minutes, before adding the filling and then return to the oven until cooked.
  • Consider using other herbs and spices to bring a little life to your pastry – cumin seeds, caraway seeds, thyme leaves, rosemary and lavender are a few to try.

Ideas for Fillings

  • Creme Fraiche, topped with thin strips of smoked salmon and a caper or two.
  • Boursin Cheese, topped with a roasted cherry tomato and some torn fresh basil.
  • Goat’s Curd, topped with some chopped (pitted) kalamata olives, fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • (Persian) Feta Cheese with caramelised onion and fresh oregano or thyme leaves.
  • Taramasalata, topped with a little salmon roe.


25 thoughts on “Fennel Seed Tartlet Shells

  1. Pingback: F is for a Fabulous Feast | cookinga2z

  2. canalcook

    I love fennel seeds, I add them to absolutely everything! I made tartlets topped with beetroot and fennel seeds before, never thought of including them in the pastry.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      They have such a wonderful flavour, don’t they!? I look forward to exploring your blog in the next day or two. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Cheers, Margot

  3. Chica Andaluza

    I ifnally got here to read this lovely recipe – fennel makes everything tatse so good and nwo that we’re heading into the party season, Iove the little canape sized shells – perfect!

  4. ohlidia

    How cute are those little tartlet shells?! I love fennel Margot, and these would make great little tapas/bites filled with all sorts of yumminess. Goat cheese, roasted peppers, Italian crumbled sausage…

  5. laurasmess

    Yum! These look absolutely divine. I love fennel seeds, they’ve become one of my favourite things as I’ve grown older. All of your filling suggestions sound divine, particularly the goats cheese. Yum. I want some now!! xx

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      They have such a great flavour don’t they?! I’m keen to make a batch of these again this weekend and use a few of the other fillings… I’m always a little partial to the feta/caramelised onion option. Have a fabulous weekend Laura!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      The fennel flavour is definitely there, but not overpowering. It’s fun to play around with these things, to find what works! Some toppings may be better suited to other herb/spice pastry, such as cumin seed or rosemary… Great to mix it up! 🙂

  6. Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots

    What a fabulous photo – it just makes me want to reach out to pick up a tartlet. The most adventurous I get with pastry is to add cheese, but I imagine that the fennel lifts the flavour and gives another dimension. Once I’ve tried your fillings I may try goats cheese topped with a little sweet chilli sauce – there are endless possibilities.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Anne, I wish you could reach in and pick up a tartlet too! The goat’s cheese and sweet chilli sauce sounds wonderful (a nice balance of flavours) – I’ll have to give that one a go next time I make them. Can I ask… what type of cheese do you find works well? I can imagine parmesan would go beautifully, but curious as to other options you’ve tried… Margot

  7. Darya

    Oh I love the flavor of fennel, so I am sure I would love your little tart shells! I also love bite-sized portions of food, but my problem is I tend to eat more than I need! I can’t help just having one bite, then another, then another…
    Oh… and summer and Christmas in one sentence… I’ll never get used to that idea! Here is it cold and rainy 🙂

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      You’re right Darya – sometimes it is impossible to stop at just one or two! Plus the one or two that needs to be tested for quality control before they go out on the table… Oh dear!
      I’ve only ever had one Christmas in France and I must say that it was rather magical, on a cold winter’s Christmas Eve sitting down to a gorgeous roast dinner. No snow unfortunately, but lovely all the same! I also love the relaxed easy-going nature of our Christmas here – sitting out on the back deck with platters of freshly cooked prawns, seafood and cold meats, salads, fruit, but also some of the traditional trimmings of Plum Pudding, Christmas Cake and gingerbread biscuits. The kids and I also make and decorate a Gingerbread House in the week leading up, which is lots of fun!

  8. apuginthekitchen

    I love your little tarts and the fennel seed is a wonderful addition. Totally agree about tapas or little bites of food, lots of variety and small portions is the best.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Me too – certain cuisines from around the world lend themselves so well to this style of eating! So much nicer to get a little taste of lots of different dishes! Lovely to hear from you Angie and to discover your own gorgeous blog. Cheers, Margot

  9. Johnnysenough Hepburn

    Even though I’ve used lots of differing types of nuts within shortcrust I’ve yet to try using seeds. And fennel, as well as caraway, are two that I must buy in! I’m with you on nibbly bits of pastry. Don’t know why. Maybe as I’m able to eat more of it these days as It’s home-made. Hmm, the one I’m loath to make are vol-au-vent…maybe that’s the one I need to do 🙂 Although, I wouldn’t bother to make puff pastry.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Must say that I’d like to try my hand at making puff pastry at least once in this lifetime. As well as croissants, macarons and a croquembouche (though may not be terribly big!) Just once… to appreciate the work gone in to making these things by others. The world of food is certainly inspirational… as well as addictive! 🙂


Love to hear your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.