This recipe is inspired by Diane Morgan, who authored a cookbook entitled Salmon. I served these tasty tartlets at room temperature for our fall Cellar Club event, and they were a hit. I am giving you a favorite pastry crust recipe of mine that worked very well for these. The dough can be made up and frozen in balls for easy do-ahead baking, and the dough is very flexible to roll multiple times to use up every scrap. This recipe makes 8 four-inch tartlets. For the appetizers, I used 3-inch shells, and this same quantity made about 15 shells. Four-inch tartlets could be served as a first course.
Enjoy! Marilyn Webb, Bethel Heights Vineyard
Cream Cheese Pie Crust:
- 8 oz. low fat cream cheese
- 1 lb. butter
- 4 1/2 cups flour
Cream all together, with ingredients at room temperature. Break into six balls, and freeze or use immediately. Use one ball per 9-inch crust. Roll out on floured surface, just as you would for any pie crust.
- 4 leeks, white and light green part only, rinsed, cut into julienne one inch pieces.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 3 oz soft herb and garlic cream cheese, such as Boursin, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 8 pre-baked 4-inch tartlet shells
- 3 oz smoked salmon lox, pulled into bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Prepare leeks: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place leeks in single layer in 9 x 13 baking dish. Toss with olive oil, 1/4 tsp sea salt and several grindings of pepper. Roast until tender and just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
2. Prepare cream sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, thyme, nutmeg, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds of pepper. Set aside. NOTE: This is an ample sauce. Depending on your tartlet size, you may have quite a bit left over that can be used in lasagna or any baked pasta.
3. In a separate small bowl, blend together the flavored cream cheese and lemon juice.
4. Bake tartlet shells: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll cold thawed or fresh pastry dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Use a water glass or other utensil to cut the dough into slightly larger rounds than your tartlet shells. With your fingers, work the dough into the tart shells, and make a small crust by doubling the dough at the top. Prick with a fork, and then weigh down with foil pieces filled with dry beans or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, and remove foil packets, being careful not to pull dough with you. It patches easily while it is still undercooked and warm. Re-prick bottom and sides, and return to oven to finish baking, 8 to 10 minutes longer, until just beginning to brown.
5. Assemble: Divide roasted leeks among the shells. (You will have leeks left over for soups and pasta, depending on the size of your tartlet shells). Arrange salmon pieces over leeks. Place 3 tsp of cheese mixture in each tartlet. Stir cream mixture, and carefully fill each shell almost to the top.
6. Bake tartlets five minutes. Remove from oven and add more cream if there is room. Return to oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 12 minutes. Cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- 3/4 cup butter, room temp
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 pound chicken livers, trimmed of fat
- 1/2 ts. dried thyme (or 1 ts. fresh, snipped)
- 1/4 ts. ground mace
- 1/2 ts. ground pepper
- 1/4 ts. salt
In a small bowl, combine the dried fig slices and brandy, and let it for several hours or preferably over night. Drain, and reserve liquid.
Melt 2 T. of the butter in a heavy skillet. Add onion and saute until tender, 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and livers and saute until livers are pink in the center (5 minutes tops). Remove. Cool slightly.
Transfer liver mixture to food processor. Add figs, thyme, mace, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
Place skillet over medium heat. Pour in reserved brandy. Stir and capture any bits left from sauteing the livers – a deglaze. Add these juices to food processor and mix with brief pulses.
Cut remaining butter into slices and add gradually, processing after each addition. Taste again for salt, but don’t overdo. Flavors will intensify.
Place pate in an attractive dish, garnish with thyme branches and a fresh fig, if you like, cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
Serve with toasted french bread. Outstanding with Pinot noir.