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
- 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.
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.