Easy Party Food: Freeform Puff Pastry Tart Recipe


There is something delightfully wonderful about puff pastry. It’s flaky and tender, satisfying and comforting. Puff pastry reminds me of France, for its similarities to croissants … It’s fantastic. If I could, I would eat it daily. But it’s also quite caloric, and I don’t think my waistline would ever forgive me. Still, for holiday parties (whether it’s these winter holidays or another holiday through the year), it’s fantastic for h’or deuvres.

One great party food idea: Puff pastry tarts. You can either do it the traditional way in a tart pan or make freeform ones like these. Slice each one into eight rectangular pieces before serving and you have a lovely pre-dinner bite (or cocktail party bite). Mix up the fillings … there are so many possibilities.


The tarts you see here are of two varieties. The first is Simple Roasted Butternut Squash with a mix of sliced havarti cheese and grated parmesan. It had a wonderful sweet-savoriness to it. The second tart is more of a dessert tart with sliced fresh pears, blue cheese and caramelized onions. It’s absolutely addictive and decidedly sweet. I could have eaten the whole thing myself … but of course, the kids liked it too.

What’s your favorite tart filling? Share!

Puff Pastry Tarts (Basic, Adaptable Recipe)
serves 8

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted for about an hour
toppings (see below)

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a floured cutting board, roll out the puff pastry dough until the seams are going and it’s a slightly larger square. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into two rectangles.

Working with one rectangle at a time, fold over about 1/2 inch of dough on each side of the rectangle, using a fork to seal the edges. When all four sides have been folded, transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Prick the center of the pastry with a fork several times.

Cook for 5-7 minutes, until puff pastry is lightly browned. If the center of the dough has risen, then use the fork to punch it back down.

Top the pastry as desired. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Potential Toppings:

  • Simple Roasted Butternut Squash with a sharp-flavored cheese (such as gorgonzola or feta) or a creamy cheese like havarti (shown above with havarti and parmesan)
  • Pear slices topped with caramelized shallots and blue cheese
  • Pesto, roasted tomato slices and fresh mozzarella
  • Apple butter, sharp cheddar and chopped walnuts

What I’m Cooking With: Circulon 11-by-17-Inch Metal Cookie Pan, large spatula, parchment paper, bamboo cutting board, pizza cutter


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