Julia Child’s Cheese Tarts – a simple, elegant appetizer.
Easy and Elegant are two words which define Julia Child’s cooking.
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. (Co-blogger Anne gave me a DVD set!) 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.
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.
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.
If you’re looking for other apps for Oscar Night, check out my new book: 200 Appetizers by Gibbs Smith Publisher. Julia’s tartlets plus 199 other fab small bites!
— posted by Donna
JULIA CHILD’S CHEESE TARTLETS (SLIGHTLY TWEAKED)
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.Â 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.
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