The great part about long weekend is that after the partying, the debauching, the stuffing ourselves and the groceries, all said and done, we suddenly found ourselves with an extra day to sleep in and wake up late. Sweet. Now if only the dirty dishes can clean themselves, it would be super.
When making appetizers, puff pastry is probably my best friend. It’s easily available, not too pricey and any left over dough can easily be converted to croissants or pain au chocolat. No waste, which I like. They can be baked at the very last minute and served warm. And I really, really, like my food warm.
The key ingredients are just 5: cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, shallots, salt & pepper. I use cheese triangles for this, and because I have some left over mascarpone, I add that too. And because I have lots of Swiss cheese (subtle flavor and goooey) in my fridge, I cut them in cubes and add that one as well. And because the french are en fou about their herbs de provence, I dump that too. And because raw garlic is too strong, I use garlic powder for extra zing.
PILLOWS OF SUN DRIED TOMATOES
(adapted from Kayotic Kitchen)
12 Cheese triangles like La vache qui rit, president, etc
2 tbsp mascarpone, more if needed
1 shallot, finely diced
6-7 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1.5 tsp herbs de provence
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
cheese cubes, optional – I use Tete de Moine
cilantro, chopped, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
- In a mixing bowl, add the cheese triangles, mascarpone, shallots, sun dried tomatoes, herbs de provence, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Use spoon to mix them, not a whisk. Mix them well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more cream cheese, if the sun dried tomatoes is too strong. You want it to be slightly saltier or more tart than you’d like. Keep in fridge until it’s ready to use.
- Dust your working space, lay over the pastry sheet, and dust a little bit more on top. Using rolling pin, flatten the creases to create a smooth surface. Do not flatten too hard or push too vigorously, or your puff pastry will shrunk 3 sizes down when baked.
- Cut the puff pastry to the size of your muffin tray. I cut mine 7cm x 6 cm. I can get at least 17 rectangles from one pastry sheet.
- Gently place your rectangles in the middle of muffin cups, spoon 1 tsp of the sun dried tomatoes filling, drop 1 cube of cheese if you’re using.
- Bake for 15 mins, or till golden. Gently pry from the muffin tray, let it rest for few minutes before serving.
~ I strongly urge you to do a test run, even if you are confident with your filling. The taste of your filling when cold vs baked are vastly different, not to mention eating it with the puff pastry baked.
~ You don’t need to grease your muffin tray. The puff pastry already has lots of butter that prying isn’t gonna be a problem.
~ Minimize the quantity you eat. They aren’t exactly diet-friendly.