I have a guilt complex. I think I am pretty honest person, so when I am not, I feel badly. Thus, I need to explain that for all three of these crust options, you really aren’t making anything. You will need to do a little cutting, but that is the most strenuous part. However, these are three great ideas to have up your sleeve when you want to make some mini tarts in not a lot of time.
Before I get into the three options, I should also explain that I was focusing on savory tarts. So, all three of these suggestions will work for appetizers and snacks. Thinking more broadly about tarts, you can use two of these crusts for desserts. It’s a little bit of something for everyone sort of post.
Option 1- phyllo shells
As you saw in Tuesday’s recipe, the Fig and Cheese Tarts Smothered with Bacon are based in a phyllo shell. Pre-made phyllo shells are a culinary gift. They need a couple minutes in the oven to be warmed/baked, and then they are ready to go. In addition to being super simple to use, they offer a light and flaky base. Yes, you could buy phyllo sheets and make your own, but this is an area where cutting a corner is worth it.
Besides this week’s cheesy goodness, there are many other ways these phyllo cups can be filled. Put a different spin on bruschetta by filling cups instead of toasting baguette slices. Add some spinach and feta for an easy Greek-style appetizer. You also can go the sweet route, and make lazy baklava. If you want a really easy dessert, put some raspberries in each cup, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!
Option 2- pie crust
Another confession from me- I have not mastered pie crust. The main reason is that I am not a fan of pie crust. I find it to be bland, boring, and not worthy of the calories consumed. So, when suggesting pie crust, I mean the packaged type that you find in the refrigerator section at your grocery store.
Simply roll it out on a floured surface, and cut it into circles using a 3- or 4-inch biscuit cutter. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, find a glass that size. Then gently press each round into the cup of a muffin pan. Treat these mini tarts like any pie you’d make, sweet or savory. These can be the base for mini versions of quiche, chicken pot pie, pecan pie, or coconut cream pie. (When and how to bake each crust will vary based on the recipe.)
Option 3- flatbread crust
I have made many an appetizer with a flatbread crust. Part of the reason is that it keeps the recipe lower in calories and carbs. Another reason is that I always have at least one package of wraps in my house. This is the option that won’t work as well for dessert. Most wraps are pretty savory and don’t lend themselves toward dessert very well.
Making a flatbread crust is even easier than pie crust. There’s no need to flour a surface. Simply cut 3- or 4-inch circles, and press into your muffin pan. Then let your creativity begin! I’ve filled them with caramelized onion and bacon and spinach and goat cheese, as well as many other combinations.
Pick the base you like best, and get some simple appetizers or desserts started!