Savory, creamy, and sweet, these Goat Cheese and Fig Puff Pastry Tarts are the most delicious small-bite appetizer to serve at a party or holiday!
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The best appetizers are the ones that are fun (hello puff pastry cheese straws), have a good variety of textures and flavors (like these Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Puff Pastry Bites), can be eaten with your hands (like these two-bite Brie and Jam Mini Tarts) and are relatively easy to make/assemble. Well, these Goat Cheese and Fig Puff Pastry Tarts check all those boxes, and I can attest that they are perfect to serve at a party or holiday!
They're delicate, flaky, savory, sweet, and so darn delicious. This appetizer recipe is almost like a classic vol-au-vent, or puff pastry shell filled in the middle, with goat cheese, caramelized onions and a (store-bought) fig jam. This recipe resembles these mini Caramelized Onion Tarts but has a slightly different flavor profile.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The article below is jam-packed full of useful information. You can jump around using the menu below or skip to the end of the article for the full recipe.
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
Here is a brief overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- puff pastry (the easiest route is to use store-bought puff pastry...However, this rough puff pastry recipe is truly easy, or if you really want to go all in, there is a traditional puff pastry recipe available too. For more information, please see below.
- goat cheese (plain is fine, or switch it up and use an herbed or other flavored goat cheese)
- fig jam (definitely use store-bought here)
- caramelized onions (this adds another dimension to the tarts, but it does require the step of making them from scratch...if you are are really opposed to doing that, this ingredient can be skipped)
- fresh thyme (though another fresh herb like chives would also be a good choice here)
- egg wash (which is just egg and water!)
What Type of Puff Pastry to Use
If you did choose to make the puff pastry, you'll only need half of the batch from the rough puff pastry recipe (about 18 oz) to make these tarts. So you can save the other half for another recipe like as the top for this Beef Pot Pie, something sweet like these Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls, or you can make a double batch of these tarts!
Brie is a soft and creamy cheese known for its velvety texture and subdued, buttery flavor. It has a "bloomy rind" which is perfectly edible. It adds additional textural elements and another flavor component to the cheese. However, if you prefer to cut some, or all of it off, that is up to you. I personally like the added taste and texture it adds, so I leave most of it on.
Step-By-Step Recipe Overview
This is a quick visual overview of the steps needed to make this recipe. This is not the actual recipe--that is located at the end of this article and has much greater detail to ensure success.
Step 1: Prepare the puff pastry and stamp out the circles.
Step 2: Press a smaller cutter in the pastry's center (avoid going through it). Use a fork to create steam holes. It helps pastry puff in the right places.
Step 3: Brush with an egg wash, then let it chill in the freezer while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
Step 4: Place a teaspoon of the caramelized onions in the center.
Step 5: Partially blind bake the puff pastry, then push in the center of any that have puffed up.
Step 6: Pipe the jam on to the caramelized onions.
Step 7: Place a piece of goat cheese in the center.
Step 8: Return to the oven to finish baking.
You can tell the puff pastry bites are done when the pastry is evenly golden and the goat cheese is a bit puffy.
When working with puff pastry, it is important to remember this golden rule: if you notice that the pastry is getting warm, immediately put it in the refrigerator or freezer to chill. Warm pastry can become sticky and difficult to work with, and if it gets too warm, it may not bake properly.
A few more tips:
- Chill the puff pastry before baking! Chilling the pastry before baking makes the puff pastry bake up higher.
- Bake on the middle rack: this ensures the puff pastry bakes throughout but doesn't brown too much on the bottom.
- This recipe requires taking the puff pastry out before it is actually done baking. To ensure the best results, work quickly when filling the par-baked puff pastry shells and put it right back in the oven as soon as possible. Making sure all your mise en place is ready before you put the pastry in the oven to par-bake is important.
Once the tarts come out of the oven, let them cool briefly. Then sprinkle them liberally with fresh picked thyme leaves (or chives!). These taste best when still warm, but are good at room temperature too.
These puff pastry bites are at their best when consumed on the day they are made. However, I have stored them in both the refrigerator and freezer before. Although they don't taste as good as the fresh ones, once defrosted and reheated, they still taste pretty good! I have had success toasting them from frozen as well as defrosting and then toasting.
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