More Puff Pastry

Sorry about bringing up the puff pastry subject again, but we tried a new appetizer the other night and it was fabulous. And easy to make. Using puff pastry in all sorts of recipes seems to be the latest craze, which is just dandy with me. Sweet or savory- just pass the plate my way!

Of course in this instance, I have to give Giada De Laurentis the credit. It’s her recipe. This is the woman Mario Batali referred to (in a recent N Y Times magazine article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/magazine/02cooking-t.html - which, by the way, while long, should be mandatory reading for all of us) as the “ the beautiful girl with the nice rack who does simple Italian food.” No matter that I agree with him just a little (and do get tired of wondering how many more times she is going to lean over in her trademark low cut tops and if anything will ever spill out, though it would be edited out anyway) and nothing wrong with having a nice chest…but is it supposed to bring in a male audience? If not, what's up with this? Still, Mario didn’t need to say it in print. Naughty Mario.

No matter, I like lots of her cookie recipes and some of her appetizers. We’re not much of a pasta family so most of her main course recipes get a pass from me- still, she does make pasta from scratch now and then (Yes, Mario, she does- I’ve seen her do it.) even though she takes shortcuts on lots of things. Which makes life easier for the home cook. Isn’t that the point?

Anyway, back to the appetizer. How can this miss? Puff pastry; olive tapenade; fontina cheese; grape tomatoes; basil. How great is that combination of ingredients? Giada suggested sprinkling a little fleur de sel on top but the tapenade is salty enough so I didn’t do it. And it was perfect the way it was; they were gone in an instant- inhaled by my guests. The only sound I heard was Mmmmmm. Unfortunately I only had some old, sad basil in my salad bin, so it would have been even better with a nice fresh basil chiffonade sprinkled on top.

Tomato Basil Tartlets
(Adapted from Giada De Laurentis)

1 (10 by 9 inch) sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed in your refrigerator overnight)
1/2 cup olive tapenade
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
8 cherry tomatoes
6 basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°. Put rack in the center of the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the puff pastry on a floured board. Prick all over with a fork. Using a 2 ¼ inch cookie cutter, cut out 16 (we only got 12 or 13) rounds of pastry. Place them on the baking sheet. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the pastry rounds and top with another baking sheet so it will press down slightly on the rounds and keep them flat. (We didn't use a very heavy pan so I wonder if a heavier one would make them thinner? Or do we even want them thinner?) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
Remove the baking pan and top sheet of parchment paper.

Spread 1 teaspoon of the tapenade on each round. (We purchased some tapenade in a jar at the market and it was excellent.) Place a tablespoon of cheese on top and then top with a cherry tomato, halved. If the tomatoes were small I used 2, but I think 1 half is plenty and easier to eat.
Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes (I think we should have baked ours a little longer- keep checking). Remove from the oven and sprinkle the basil on top.


  1. oh, i definitely agree with mario. and tony bourdain commented on her unnaturally large head in his latest episode, and i agree with that, too. she does make some really great stuff, though, and i can see that this is a keeper. hooray for puff pastry, through and through!

  2. Yummie, love puff pastries and the way that you made looks terrific...tapenade and tomatoes, great as an appetizer.

  3. You know I thought it was just me noticing that all the tops she wears are basically the same, she really does look nice in them and I'm jealous but every stinking episode??? You can post about puff pastry anytime you want to, I love it!

  4. Haha poor Giada is always described as the "Italian cook with the nice rack"! But she has talent! That dish looks fantastic!

  5. Wow, those look fantastic!



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