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Mushroom and Shrimp Mini-Tarts

I am attending a gathering for New Years Eve and needed to come up with some appetizers and nibbles to bring. I have a few things in the freezer already, but decided to do something fresh. Why I decided to take this on, as it involves pastry which is easy but takes time to rest, roll out and make the shells, is beyond me. I have the week off work, so why not.

If you wish to save yourself some time, buy the pre-made puff or Filo pastry shells from the freezer section. Good thing supermarkets have added many items to make life easier for everyone.

If you wish to take the time to make the pie crust for these from scratch, that is great! And it is easy, but plan on starting the pie dough about 2 – 3 hours before you need the shells. You can make them a day in advance and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Both of these recipes contain the same basic ingredients, garlic, onion, shallots, bacon (optional), leeks (optional), Smoked Gruyère, Ages Asiago, and sharp provolone. If you plan to make both, just double your prep work so you only do it once.

I choose these ingredients because I had them. You are free to swap out the cheese for those you have on hand, such as parmesan, mozzarella, or cheddar. The cheeses I use add a different flavor than one is used to. But use what you like.

If you do not wish to spend the time making little tarts, there is no reason you can’t make it in a pie tin or baking pan and then cut it into squares for serving. It is optional and up to you.

If you are going to make the pie crust by hand, start with that so it has a chance to chill while you make the filling:

Pie Crust

This makes enough for 3 regular pie crusts, or 36 – 40 1.5 – 2 inch diameter shells

3 2/3 all-purpose flour

1.5 TBS sugar

1.5 TBS salt

3 sticks of VERY cold unsalted butter

1 cup ICE water

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cube the butter and add to the flour. Using a pastry masher, mix the butter in with the flour until the butter has reached about pea sized balls.
  3. Add in 1/2 cup of water and using a spatula, mix in the water the best you can, then switch to using your hands. You don’t want to over work the dough and melt the butter so mix fast. If it is not coming together, add 1 TBS of the cold water and continue to mix. You can add an addition 1 TBS of water until the mixture comes together and holds. It is ok if there are some crumbly bits left over.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 even parts, wrap in plastic wrap with any extra bits. Press into a ball and refrigerate for 1.5 – 2 hours.

When you are ready, take one ball of dough out at a time. Roll it out on a floured surface, to about 1/8 of an inch ( not see through). Then cut into circles or squares 1.5 times larger than your mold.

Press into the mold (I used molds that were 1.5 – 2 inched in diameter) , trim off the excess dough (add to a pile to re-roll), line with parchment paper, put in some rice or dry beans on the bottom to prevent shrinkage. Bake the shells at 400 until set (about 15 minutes). They should not be brown yet as you will be baking them again with the filling. The pre baking sets the shape and prevents a soggy bottom.

When you do fill them and bake them, be sure to line the top edges of the crust with tinfoil to prevent burning of the edges.

On to the filling.

Greek Inspired Shrimp & Cheese Tart

2 TBS minced garlic

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS Butter

1/2 large white onion, diced into small pieces

1 med shallot, minced

1/2 cup roughly chopped leeks (optional)

3 strips of bacon, diced raw (omit for vegetarian option)

1/4 cup mixed greek olives minced

1 Sprig fresh oregano

1 Sprig fresh thyme

2 TBS lemon juice

2/3 cup dry white wine

12 – 15 large raw shrimp, peeled and cut into 3rds or 4ths (bite size)

1 TBS Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 cup of cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 cup Smoked Gruyère Cheese, shredded or diced small ( approx. 1.5 oz)

1/2 cup Aged Asiago Cheese, shredded or diced small (approx. 1.5 – 2 oz)

2/3 cup Sharp Provolone Cheese, shredded or diced small (approx. 3 oz)

1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese

1/2 cup scallions diced

18 – 24 Pastry Cups

Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter until hot over med-high heat. Add in the bacon (if using) and fresh ground pepper and reduce the heat to medium. Saute the bacon for 3 minutes, or until 1/2 way cooked.
  2. Drain 1/2 of the fat into a glass container and set aside. You may need to add more as the cooking progresses.
  3. Add in the Onion, Leeks, Shallot, Garlic, Oregano, Olives and Thyme. Saute for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the leeks wilt and are soft.
  4. Add in the lemon juice, white wine to degaze the pan. Bring to a simmer and let simmer about 4 minutes.
  5. Add in Shrimp and Old Bay Seasoning, toss and cook about 3 minutes until the shrimp are just turning pink.
  6. Add in the cream and cheeses, stir and simmer another 4 minutes until all are combined. Tasted and adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Turn off the heat and move off the stove. Stir in the scallions.
  8. Let cool to room temperature, keeping loosely covered to let the steam out so the shrimp do not over cook, the cover is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. If it starts, just stir it up again.
  9. When ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, fill the pastry cups with about 2 – 2.5 TBS of the mixture (Fill just over the top)
  10. Freeze this way, or bake for 20 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the pastry is nicely browned. You can also cool and then freeze at this point too. Re-heat in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Serve warm.

Wild Mushroom & Cheese Tart

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS Butter

3 strips of bacon, diced raw

1/2 large white onion, diced into small pieces

2 TBS minced garlic

1 med shallot, minced

1/2 cup roughly chopped leeks (optional)

1 Sprig fresh oregano

2 Sprigs fresh thyme

4 cups diced assorted mushrooms (Portobello, button, Crimini, Shiitake, Oyster, etc..)

2/3 cup dry white wine

1 cup of cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup Smoked Gruyère Cheese, shredded or diced small ( approx. 2.5 – 3 oz)

1 cup Aged Asiago Cheese, shredded or diced small (approx. 2.5 – 3 oz)

1 1/2 cup Sharp Provolone Cheese, shredded or diced small (approx. 6 oz)

18 – 24 Pastry Cups

Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter until hot over med-high heat. Add in the bacon (if using) and fresh ground pepper and reduce the heat to medium. Saute the bacon for 3 minutes, or until 1/2 way cooked.
  2. Drain 1/2 of the fat into a glass container and set aside. You may need to add more as the cooking progresses.
  3. Add in the Mushrooms, Onion, Leeks, Shallot, Garlic, Oregano, and Thyme. Saute for about 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes or so, until the mushrooms caramelize (brown get a little crispy).
  4. Add in the white wine to degaze the pan. Bring to a simmer and let simmer about 3 minutes.
  5. Add in the cream and cheeses, stir and simmer another 3-4 minutes until all are combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Turn off the heat and move off the stove.
  7. Let cool to room temperature, keeping loosely covered to let the steam out so the shrimp do not over cook, the cover is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. If it starts, just stir it up again.
  8. When ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, fill the pastry cups with about 2 – 2.5 TBS of the mixture (Fill just over the top)
  9. Freeze this way, or bake for 20 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the pastry is nicely browned. You can also cool and then freeze at this point too. Re-heat in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Serve warm.

Extra Filling?

When I did this I had some left over filling and ran out of shells. What to do? I know – make breakfast. I whisked eggs with some milk/cream and then poured over the left over filling in a pie pan (not crust). Then baked at 375 for about 25 minutes, until poking a knife in the center comes out clean.

For 3 whole Eggs (or 4 egg whites – but who is counting calories now?), I used about 1/2 cup of milk or cream. Whisk it very well. You really do not have to add anything else as the flavors are already there, you can add more pepper or cheese if you wish.

Now you have a great breakfast. Or even slice up and serve as an extra appetizer.

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ENJOY and Happy New Year!

Nicole

About culinaryease

I am a single mother who loves cooking and providing tips, techniques, to get everyone out of the takeout lane and into the kitchen.

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