Julia Child’s Easy Elegant Cheese Tartlets


Julia Child’s Easy and Elegant Cheese Tartlets

I decided to invite Julia Child to my Oscar Night celebration. And why not? I know, I know. She never won an Oscar. But. Easy and Elegant are two qwords which define her cooking. Perfect for the Oscars!

I love Julia Child. I often pause in my kitchen and repeat the phrase that Christians coined: WWJD? – but when I’m  in my kitchen “WWJD” means “What Would Julia Do?” Whenever I feel discouraged about my cooking prowess, I snuggle on my couch late at night and watch an episode of The French Chef. I laugh out loud every single time, and am instantly strengthened and renewed. When truly serious discouragement hits me, I bring out the big guns: Saturday Night Live’s French Chef Skit: “You’ll need a knife . . . a very, very, very sharp knife. . .” I dare any cook who watched Julia to watch this and not laugh out loud!  It was during one of those late-night couch sessions that I saw her make cheese tartlets. I took copious notes, and I’m glad I did, because I have not been able to find this recipe written down anywhere. It’s not in any of her cookbooks!  You’ll just have to trust my note taking on this one.

For my Oscar Night celebration this year by making her cheese tartlets. Yes, I know. They are neither low-fat nor low-calorie. But. It’s the Oscars! Let’s Celebrate! I am certain that Julia would agree.

These are a masterpiece. Truly. I dare you to make appetizers that are as simple and yet sophisticated as these. It is impossible. They are the perfect blend of rich, satisfying flavors and melt-in-your-mouth comfort. If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, use that, or check out my miracle Never-Fail Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust. The best pie crust I’ve ever eaten!

Bonus: they take only minutes to throw together. Another bonus: they are very forgiving, and can be served warm or at room temperature. Add these mini-tarts to your Hostess Bag of Tricks. I promise you won’t be sorry.


You will need 12 4-inch diameter tartlet pans or one standard size muffin pan for making 12 muffins

Pie dough for 12 tartlets (enough dough for 2 9-inch crusts)
2 ounces any good melting cheese (like gouda or fontina)
2/3 cup creme fraiche, sour cream or Greek yoghurt (Julia used creme fraiche – make our easy home version)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt**
Dash of cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank’s)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out pie dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles a little bigger than the tops of the tins in a muffin tin pan.  Press pie dough circles into tins, with pie crusts coming most of the way to the tops of the tins.

Place grated cheese in each tin, filling almost to tops of tins. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour a little of this mixture into each muffin tin, filling almost to tops of tins. (NOTE: You can add a sprinkle of dried herbs as a garnish here – totally optional and mostly for a garnish)

Place filled muffin tins on top of a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned and set in centers.

** Salt may not be needed if a salty cheese is used. Taste your cheese before deciding how much salt to add.

— posted by Donna


  1. Pat says

    Donna, I’d love to use this recipe for a Julia Child themed dinner party and have one important question. In this recipe it says to use a 425 degree oven, but in the recipe following your “pat-in-the-pan pie crust” it calls for a 350 degree oven. If we are using the muffin tins instead of the tartlet pans, which should I use? Thanks for a wonderful recipe and happy new year!

    • says

      Hey Pat – The general default rule is 350 degrees for pie crust. These tarts cook very quickly – and Julia baked hers at 425, which worked perfectly when I made them. Whether you have tartlet pans or use muffin tins, 425 works well. Happy New Year!

  2. says

    I love that these are the kind of appetizer that wow people no matter what. They look like they are super complicated and have taken so much time! And yet, really…not so much. absolutely delicious!

    • says

      Thanks Joanne – You are a person who does A LOT of “Wow!-ing” with food, so your comments are very much appreciated. Happiest of New Years to You!


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