Hello Monday! I have just the little thing to get the week going. This is the second recipe in the series of 1 x 3 ways puff pastry and all three recipes just happen to be perfect for the burgeoning picnic season. Simple little goodies, wonderful cheeses, maybe even some rosé? Yes, picnic season, we’re so happy you’re here!
These little tartlettes are fulled with a cool, airy whipped chive and lemon mascarpone and topped with delicate slices of buttery gravlax and bright, fresh herbs. A sprinkling of cornmeal on the parchment paper before baking gives the pastry and extra little crunch, a wonderful contrast to that fluffy mascarpone. Their flavor belies their simplicity really and if you take the plunge and try your hand at your own gravlax, you’ll be rewarded with a truly lovely little bite.
There are so many twists you could add to these tartlettes, as well. They are of course inspired by the classic lox and cream cheese bagel, so why not try a little tomato and caper salsa dolloped on top with thin slices of shallot? Or delicate crunchy curls of lemon zest, cut into thin slices and quickly fried crisp in a little olive oil. Try other herbs in the filling, parsley, dill, tarragon? A mix? Or set out the mascarpone filled tartlette shells, the salmon, and any toppings you love and let everyone build their own little bite of summer!
Gravlax and Whipped Chive Mascarpone Tartlettes
makes 8 tartlettes
Try making your own gravlax for this recipe. I promise: it is easy and can be made ahead! However, assemble the tartlettes as close to serving time as possible to keep the pastry nice and crisp.
– 8 slices gravlax or smoked salmon
– 1 x 250g package of puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
– 1/2 c. mascarpone cheese
– 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives
– 1 t. fresh lemon juice
– zest of half a lemon*
– 2 tbsp. milk
– pinch of salt
– fresh dill, parsley, and/or chives
– a small handful of cornmeal
– olive oil
* Try to get organic when possible, since the zest is being used. Also, if you are a lemon nut like me, feel free to use all the zest!
Preheat the oven to 210°C / 410°F with your baking pan turned upside down in it. Preheating the pan with the oven will give you a beautifully crisp crust and turning the pan upside down will make it easy to slide the finished tartlettes off onto a cutting board. This is the same technique I use for pizza; using a pizza stone if you have one would be fantastic as well.
Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking pan and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Roll out your pastry on the counter into a rectangle about 1/4 cm / 1/8″ thick. Cut eight circles out of the pastry using a 3 1/2″ diameter circle cutter then, using a fork, prick the pastry all around. Transfer them with a metal spatula to the parchment and gently press to adhere the cornmeal. Drizzle the edges of each tartlette with just a bit of olive oil. Bake until puffed and golden, around ten minutes.
Remove the tartlettes from the oven and, being very careful not to burn yourself, gently press down the center of each to be flat, using a potholder or the bottom of a glass to do this. Let them cool completely.
In a food processor, combine the mascarpone, chives, lemon juice, and zest. Pulse a few times to combine then add the milk and a pinch of salt. Scrape down the sides of the processor and pulse until whipped and airy, a minute or two, scrapping down the sides as necessary. Be sure not to add any more salt, remember that the gravlax is a bit salty and will add to the seasoning of the assembled tartlette.
Gently spread each tartlette shell with the whipped mascarpone. Top with a slice of salmon and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
See the first recipe in the series here: Roasted Red Pepper & Tapenade Tart
Next week, a sweet ending to the first installment of this series.