Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the 24th day of Christmas - Eve preparations

On the 24th day of Christmas....... Feta & pesto tarts

On Christmas eve I like to prepare ahead of time what I can for dinner the following evening, so I'm not stuck in the kitchen for too long on Christmas day. This is one hors d'oeuvre that is at every family gathering without fail. It originated with my sister in law Vanessa. During the year I make them in a mini muffin pan. But at Christmas I can't resist being festive and using my mini Christmas tree pan. When placed on the table, they vanish within minutes. It is a recipe (such as it is - it is so simple, it can hardly be called a recipe) that I am asked for every time I take these somewhere. You can make them the day before and simply bring the tray out of the fridge and in to the oven 15 minutes before you need them.
The instructions are the same whether you use a mini muffin pan, or a shaped pan.

Using a cutter that is larger diameter than the size of the pan cavity, cut circles from sheets of ready made "savoury short pastry" (in the freezer section at the supermarket). Push each piece of pastry down in to cavity. For the round mini muffin pan, the circle should form a perfect round tart shell, with a slightly frilled edge. For the trees. use an off set spatula and using the rim of the pan, slice of any pieces of pastry that are uneven, to trim in line with the top of the pan..

Fill each cavity with aprx 1/2 to 1tsp of pesto. I've used basil and sun dried tomato pesto here. then place a small cube of feta in to each cavity. Bake until pastry is golden aprx 15 mins at 180C. Just a word of warning, don't be tempted to use flaky pastry, I tried it once, the pastry puffed up so much, it dumped the pesto and feta out of the cavity and all through the oven and over the baking tray.

My favourite feta EVER comes from Kamai Cheeses - check out their website by clicking here it's not easy to find in the supermarkets yet. But it's starting to pop up in a few more places. Now that I've tried it, nothing else compares.

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