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Too Busy to Cook

Too Busy to Cook

Five easy recipes for delicious, filled tartlets.

by

"Too Busy to Cook" is a section of the magazine Bon Appetit, which I receive every month. It is one of the first sections I read to get new fresh ideas that are easy. Many years ago there was a recipe for Pecan, Apple and Raisin Tartlets with Rum Cream. This recipe delivered a concept that was fun, quick, elegant, impressive and tasty. It uses frozen puff pastry.

Here is how it works:

Is serving as a dessert, roll out the thawed pastry dough to a 10-inch square. Then you cut it into a 4 ½ inch circles with a 1 lb. coffee can. For lunch tarts, roll it out into 13 inch rounds. Add fillings -- see recipes below -- until ½ to 1 inch from the edge. Brush the edge with an egg wash. Then bake until golden. Serve hot and you won’t believe the results.

I often use milawach, a Middle Eastern type of bread, for the recipe. It saves a little time. It is cut round and ready to use. Everything is flexible in these recipes but it all comes out great.

Enjoy, and please write me at: chef@aish.com with comments and your own great recipes.

* * *

Pecan, Apple and Raisin Tartlets with Rum Cream

A sophisticated but easy dessert.

2 large tart green apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsps. water
2 tbsps. dark rum
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17 1/4 oz. pkg.), thawed
4 tbsps. toasted pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar

Combine apples, brown sugar, raisins, water and 1tbsp. rum in heavy medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat until apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cook apple mixture completely.

Preheat oven to 400º F. Roll out pastry to 10-inch square. Cut out four 4 1/2 inch pastry rounds, using 1 lb. coffee can or individual tart bottom as guide (reserve remaining pastry for another use). Press 1 tbsp. pecans in center of each round, leaving border. Transfer rounds to baking sheet. Spoon ¼ of apple mixture onto each round, leaving ½ inch border.

Bake tartlets until brown on bottom and puffed at edges, about 20 minutes. Let cook 15 minutes. Beat cream, powdered sugar and remaining 1 tbsp. rum in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Serve tartlets with rum cream.

Makes 4 servings.

* * *

Somked Chicken and Parve Cheese Tart with Olives

[If the parve cheese ingredient doesn't sit right with you, the recipe works fine without it.]

Flaky Puff Pastry
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
9 black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tsp. water
1 cup shredded chicken (about 3 ozs.)
3/4 cup (packed) grated Parve cheese
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives

Preheat oven to 450º F. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the Flaky Tart Pastry to a 13-inch round. Transfer the pastry and parchment to a baking sheet.

Spread the sliced onions on the pastry in a single layer, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the chopped olives all over the onion topping. Fold the edge of the pastry over onto the onions and brush the rim with the egg wash. Bake the tart for 10 minutes.

Spread the shredded chicken on the tart and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake the tart for about 10 minutes longer, or until the pastry is golden and the parve cheese has melted. Let cool slightly. Just before serving, sprinkle the parsley and chives on top. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

* * *

Dairy Yukon Potato Tart

1/4 cup olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1 handful of kosher parve bacon bits [optional]
Frozen flaky puff pastry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (packed) grated cheese
3 Yukon Gold or red potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. minced rosemary
1 large egg yolk mixed with ½ tsp. water

Preheat the oven to 450º F. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsps. of the oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and blot dry.

On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the flaky puff pastry to a 13-inch round. Transfer the pastry and parchment to a baking sheet. Spread the onions on the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the cheese and kosher parve bacon bits. Arrange the potato slices in a single layer on top and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the rosemary and drizzle on the remaining 2 tbsps. of oil. Fold the edge of the pastry over onto the topping and brush the rim with the egg wash.

Bake the tart for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

* * *

Dairy Smoked Salmon and Onion Tart

The bite of onion sets off the rich smoked salmon and tangy creme fraiche.

Frozen flaky puff pastry
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tsp. water
4 ozs. thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
3 tbsps. creme fraiche or sour cream
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp. finely chopped dill
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 450º F. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the frozen puff pastry to a 13-inch round. Transfer the pastry and parchment to a baking sheet.

Spread the onion slices on the tart in a single layer, leaving a 1-inch border. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the edge of the pastry over onto the onion and brush the rim with the egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Let cool.

Arrange the salmon on the tart. With a warm fork, stir the creme fraiche and drizzle it over the tart. Sprinkle the parsley, dill and lemon juice on top and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

* * *

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart

Frozen flaky puff pastry
1/2 lb. soft goat cheese
10 pencil-thin asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsps. olive oil
1 small roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tsp. water

Preheat the oven to 450º F. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the frozen flakey puff pastry to a 13-inch round. Transfer the pastry and parchment to a baking sheet.

Spread the goat cheese on the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Toss the asparagus with the oil and arrange on the tart with the pepper strips; season with salt and pepper. Fold the edge of the pastry over onto the topping and brush the rim with the egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.

Makes 4 servings.

Published: May 3, 2003


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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) kruparajeev, June 23, 2005 12:00 AM

i happend to just browse the net and i fortunately came across this website. which is very good. and i would like to try few recipes.thank you!

(3) Anonymous, May 7, 2003 12:00 AM

low-carb recipes

Dear HB - Check out www.shakeoffthesugar.net for recipes and links. These are not all kosher, by any means, but they might help.

(2) Anonymous, May 4, 2003 12:00 AM

cannot wait, until Chef Herschel comes up with his new receipes. They unbeliavable "user friendly", and economy. Thanks for it!

(1) HB, May 4, 2003 12:00 AM

Lo-carb ideas

Love your recipes, Chef Herschel! I keep kosher and live on a tight budget, and now I have the whole family on Atkins, for health reasons. The low-carb lifestyle suits us, but we're all a little tired of burgers, chicken, salmon patties and hard-boiled eggs. Can you help?

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