Snacks

Roasted fennel and baby tomato tartlets

Each of these tartlets is just big enough for one person — the kind of finger food you want for a picnic. You could also serve them as canapés at a drinks party or as a starter for dinner.

Although they have a certain fancy charm about them, they are delightfully simple to make. I have used fennel and baby tomatoes here, as they have the kind of delicate flavours I crave in the heat of summer, but chunks of courgette with a few tomatoes would be just as nice, or, come autumn, mushrooms with a sprinkling of thyme. You will need 6 individual tart tins, about 10cm in diameter, for this recipe.

Serves: 6 people

Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 150g baby tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 120g mascarpone
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1 x 320g ready-rolled puff pastry

01 Heat the oven to 180C (200C non-fan). Trim and discard the bottom and tops of the fennel bulb, then finely slice and put the pieces in a mixing bowl. Halve the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, then drizzle with the oil, add salt and pepper to taste and toss together with your hands. In a second bowl, mix the mascarpone and the grated parmesan together with a spoon until well combined.

02 Grease the tart tins with butter. Roll out the pastry and cut it into rounds that are a little larger in diameter than the base of the tins — you want circles of pastry large enough to allow for a slight overhang. Gently press the pastry into the moulds, then press down on the rim with your thumb to trim away any excess. Spoon a little of the cheese (roughly 1 heaped tsp) into each of the pastry shells and use the back of the spoon to spread it evenly over the base, then fill with a few slices of fennel and baby tomato.

03 Set the tarts in their tins on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry turns golden. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes in their tins (the pastry will shrink a little as it cools, making it easier to get the tarts out of the tins) before gently lifting them out.