I saw these little tarts in the first episode of Mary Berry’s latest TV series and couldn’t wait to have a try at them, but using gluten free flour. We were due to attend a picnic party where I had offered to bring a contribution to the main course and it needed to be gluten free so these seemed ideal. I hadn’t tried making gluten free pastry before but had had good success using Doves Farm flours in cakes. I had however been warned that the pastry could be a challenge to roll out!
I made a few changes to Mary’s recipe – you can see the original on the BBC Food website here. The soft goats cheese available in the French supermarket did not look like the product used in the TV programme but it worked well.
I didn’t buy any parsley but used some fresh thyme from our garden. I also didn’t roll the walnut pieces into the pastry but simply sprinkled them into the base of the tarts before adding the rest of the filling.
Otherwise I pretty much stuck to the recipe!
I was impressed by the use of Yorkshire pudding tins to make the little tarts – it seemed like a great idea. In the TV programme they seemed to turn out easily – much easier than fiddling about with the fluted loose bottomed type of tin I usually wrestle with. Mary also said that as the pastry is rolled out quite thin you don’t need to blind bake it, or grease the tins! Marvellous!
I looked at my own rather old, scratched and battered tins and decided to invest in a couple of new ones! I went for a decent quality tin at £6 each, rather than the cheap ones on offer in the local factory shop. I’ve learned from experience that cheap tins are thin, warp in the oven and the non-stick coating doesn’t last for long - and often isn’t any good from the start. You get what you pay for in baking tins I think.
The pastry turned out rather well. It was fragile and crumbly and I think I would have struggled to roll it out into a bigger circle but for these little tarts it was fine. They slid out of the tins easily, were very tasty, just the right size for a single serving I will definitely be making them again.
For the pastry
175 gluten free plain flour
100g cold butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
1 tblsp water
For the filling
30g chopped walnuts
1 tblsp olive oil
500g banana shallots
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 tblsp light muscovado sugar
300g soft goats cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves nipped off the stalks
Make the pastry by blitzing the flour and butter in a food processor. Add the beaten egg and water and blitz again until the pastry comes together.
Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and cut into 8 circles to fit the holes in the Yorkshire pudding tins. Line the tins and put in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Peel and thinly slice the shallots. Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan. Add the shallots and cook on high heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes until the shallots are soft. Add the vinegar and sugar, cover and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are dark and caramelised. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6. Put two baking sheets on the oven shelves to heat up – this cooks the base of the pastry without the need for baking blind.
Prick the base of the tarts all over with a fork and sprinkle over the walnut pieces, shared evenly between them.
In a medium bowl, mix together the goats cheese, eggs and the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Mix together until smooth and well combined.
Spoon the shallot mixture equally into the tarts and spread out over the bases. Spoon the cheese mixture over the top and level with the back of a spoon so that there are no gaps.
Put the tins on top of the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the filling is just set and golden brown.
Serve warm or cold.
Makes 8 servings.