Cheese Herb Tarts
The end of 2012 is quickly approaching, it’s time to evaluate the year, take inventory, and plan ahead...mmmh...planning ahead is really not for me, I’ve stopped planning ahead and learned to live day by day, to be patient, to enjoy the wait because really, that’s what life is all about.
Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life. Seneca.
But today - and not to contradict myself - I’m proposing a "planned ahead" aperitivo for the end of the year dinner. You know how the scenario is, your guests have just arrived, you're still fiddling in the kitchen with final touches...a chat...some laughter...some music. You want to keep this atmosphere and keep your friends from starving until things are ready. This is when an aperitivo fits in perfect.
Setting up canapés for an apertivo takes time, especially if they need to be baked. This one in particular has some work involved, I prepare it a few days ahead and store it in the freezer. Cheese Herb Tarts. Heat them in the oven a few minutes before everyone arrives. Let them cool and serve with a Bellini drink (my favorite).
Shortcrust pastry dough
pinch of salt
rosemary and thyme finely chopped
100g of ricotta cheese (or fresh goat cheese)
lemon zest (or paprika, or red pepper)
pine nuts (optional, I didn't use them this time)
Chop the herbs and add to the flour. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, and add to the herb flour, add salt and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. The idea is to coat all the little pieces of hard butter in the flour. Add 1 egg and knead until you form a small ball. Roll out the dough and place in your pastry tins. Mix the ricotta cheese to soften (make sure it is completely drained from it's liquid) add, the salt, pepper and lemon zest, don't overdue it with the lemon, you'll need just a dash.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 180°C.