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Homeschool cooking: Easy and impressive savory tartlet canapes

Easy and impressive savory tartlet canapes

We are a family of hopeless foodies. I mean, we are hopelessly addicted to doing great things with food. These canapes are one of the things we created and they are so easy, that I thought they’d make a great activity for you and your kids – a homeschool cooking lesson if you will.

On a trip over to Sorrento by ferry one lovely Saturday, I found myself in a gourmet grocer. Wouldn’t you? Forget the dress shops and homewares shops – actually don’t forget those, I found myself in those too…. I came out of the grocer’s with a bunch of goodies, including these cute tartlet cases. My heart was singing and I immediately texted a pic to two of my foodie kids for ideas for fillings. After tossing around some ideas, we settled on a couple of simple fillings with artistic garnish.

The first one was inspired by a feta sauce I make for lamb meatballs. It has cream cheese in it so it sets when it goes cold. We changed it to a brie sauce and accompanied it with caramelised pear and toasted walnuts.

For the second, we wanted some colour and a different texture. Sweet potato is smooth and sweet, perfect for a puree. We topped these ones with crumbled Greek feta.

Next time I make the sweet potato filling, I’m going to use purple sweet potatoes – so try those if you like. They may however take a bit longer to cook.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the steps, but I think you’ll get the idea – they’re pretty easy. You’ll need 2-3 packs of tart cases (24-36 cases). If you can’t find any like these, just make some with frozen shortcrust pastry in your muffin tin. Cook the cases fully and then fill – the tarts are meant to be eaten cold.

Brie and pear tartlets

Ingredients

1/2 cup of milk

60 g cream cheese

1 round of Coles brie cheese (or your favourite, but no need to fuss over using a “good” cheese)

1 teaspoon of honey

1 pear, cut into 2-3 mm slices

Extra honey for glazing

2-3 packs of tart cases (24-36 cases)

50g walnuts, chopped

a couple of chive leaves for garnish

Half of your tartlet cases

How to make the brie filling

Preheat the oven to hot, about 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the pear slices diagonally in half or thirds to make nice triangular shapes (or any shape you like) that will fit the diameter of the tart cases. Lay them on the baking paper and drizzle with honey. Bake in the oven until nicely golden and caramelised. Cool.

While the pear slices are cooking, chop the cream cheese into cubes. Cut the brie into about 8 sections.

Warm (don’t boil) the milk in a small saucepan on medium/low heat and drop the cream cheese into it. Stir gently and heat until all the cream cheese is melted.

Add the brie, skin on, and continue stirring. Don’t try to remove the skin as you’ll take too much brie with it.

At this point, the mixture will be thickening and may be bubbling. Turn it down and keep the simmering to a minimum, removing from the heat occasionally if necessary.

Stir in the teaspoon of honey.

Once the brie is melted, strain the sauce through a sieve. If you find that there is still a good amount of brie attached to the bits of skin, put it all back into the saucepan again and continue melting. When you’re satisfied that the brie is melted sufficiently, strain the mixture again to remove the bits of skin.

Allow to cool to room temperature (put it in the fridge), but not set as you will want it runny enough to spoon into the cases, but not hot enough to make them soggy.

While the brie sauce is cooling, dry fry the walnuts, tossing frequently, until they are fragrant.

Using a teaspoon, start by putting one teaspoon of brie filling into each case, and then add another to each. This is so you make sure you will have enough mixture to finish the job.

Now the fun part! Place one pear slice standing up in the middle of the brie, a small crumble of walnuts on one side and a 2cm section of chive leaf standing upright.

There you have it – simple, impressive and most of all delicious!

I found these at my local gourmet green grocer.

Sweet potato and feta tartlets

We simmered the sweet potato in vegetable oil as it adds a nicer flavour, however if this is anathema to you, feel free to cook it in water.

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1-2 cups vegetable oil

50g Dodoni Greek feta

A few sprigs of thyme

Half of your tartlet cases

How to make the sweet potato filling

Put the chopped sweet potato into a small saucepan and cover with vegetable oil. Bring to the boil and simmer until sweet potato is soft.

Strain the oil off and remove the sweet potato. Keep the oil in a container in the fridge to use for your other cooking.

Put the cooked sweet potato into your blender or Ninja and blend until a smooth puree. Allow to cool to room temperature before spooning into the cases. If you don’t have a blender, you can use a food processor or stick blender.

Spoon the puree into the cases as you did for the brie mixture.

Crumble with some feta and garnish with a small stem of thyme.

Now, watch them vanish! 🙂

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