Michelle Dar­mody

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Content -

IWANTED to in­clude a few recipes to­day that use the same base ingredients but can be adapted quickly and eas­ily to make use of many dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions.

The premise is that with a sheet of puff pas­try, ri­cotta and an­other soft cheese, topped with a tasty com­bi­na­tion of ingredients you have a tart that can be served as a starter for a din­ner party or as a tasty lunch. You can use var­i­ous veg­eta­bles or add some left­over smoked fish or ba­con. Th­ese tarts are a handy way to use left­over roasted veg­eta­bles or boiled pota­toes. It is about get­ting the right com­bi­na­tion; beet­root, red onion and nut­meg; tomato, mus­tard and thyme; sliced potato, rose­mary and sea salt. There are end­less com­bi­na­tions and once you source a good qual­ity puff pas­try most of the work is done.

I al­ways bake tarts on a metal tray that I have pre­heated in the oven. It gives a crisper base as the un­der­neath starts to bake straight away. You can par-bake the pas­try first and then add top­pings, but I find it dif­fi­cult to spread the ri­cotta if I do it this way. I tend to fill the pas­try with the top­pings while it is cold. At times I fash­ion some tin­foil to sit over the cen­tre and bake for the first half hour. I then re­move the tin foil and turn the oven up for the last 10 min­utes.

It is best to use the pas­try straight from the fridge. If it is sit­ting out at room tem­per­a­ture it will not crisp up as nicely.

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