As a frequent weeknight hostess, I rely on little shortcuts to add sparkle to the table in no time flat (but not in a Sandra Lee way, to be sure). One of the tricks up my sleeve is to always keep a few packages of mini phyllo tarts in my pantry. These little pastries are ready-baked, have a long shelf life, and can accommodate either savory or sweet fillings.
When you’re stocked with these pastry shells, you can always have a chic nibble available while your guests are waiting for you to
get your act together finish the other dishes.
In addition to this recipe, in a pinch I have pulled together an appetizer in quite literally one minute (plus bake time). I combined chopped roasted red peppers, hummus, toasted pine nuts, chevre, and feta cheese. There is so much flavor in roasted red peppers and the creamy hummus and cheeses gave the quick no-cook snack great depth of flavor for the effort required. I served a variation of the method at a shower for a sweet friend of mine this spring.
Another perk of these mini phyllo tarts is that you can cook them and put them right back in the container (pictured below) if you’re headed out for happy hour instead of staying in.
The combination of flavors in this recipe is fantastic. Crunchy apple and pecans, creamy goat cheese, fresh basil, and luxurious honey and balsamic are enough to mellow out the strong bite of blue cheese. The flavor is bold, but not overpowering. I brought these tarts to a cookout a couple of weeks ago when I was running late. Tardiness is always excusable if you come bearing tarts.
Blue Cheese, Apple & Pecan Tarts with Honey
Makes 12 mini tarts
You will need:
- 12 mini phyllo tart shells
- 1/2 cup chevre, room temperature
- 1/3 cup blue cheese, room temperature
- 1 medium apple (I recommend Granny Smith or Fuji for their crunch)
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp. each sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, optional
- Balsamic reduction to drizzle, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Spread pecans in a single layer and bake for about ten minutes, until slightly toasted. Set aside to cool but leave oven on.
- Meanwhile, combine cheeses, salt and pepper, and heavy cream in a large bowl and stir together.
- Mix in chopped apple, pecans, honey, and basil (if using).
- Top each tart with a mounded spoonful of the filling.
- You can serve this at room temperature as-is, or I prefer heating it through in the oven (at 350) for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Drizzle balsamic on top and serve.