Sundried Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella Puff Pastry Tartlets

close up tart

I lost my spectacles (or specs as I very untrendy-ly call em) at Schiphol Airport just before we boarded a flight for Pisa. It was incredibly disconcerting, not just because I’m meticulous about the wallet-keys-specs routine when traveling or just leaving the house, but because we had a chock-o-block week in Florence and Rome planned. I was devastated at the idea of struggling to see Tiziano’s Venus Of Urbino, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David in all his glory. Well the enormity of scale of David (and all his glory) may have rendered things slightly easier as blind, certainly I am not.

David von Michelangelo

pic courtesy of Wikipedia

One stressful plane ride and several expensive calls to my optometrist in Cape Town later, I begged an optometrist in Pisa, close to the leaning tower and already closing the doors, to let me in and fix me up with new eyes. Now, if you’re in the spec wearing contingent you’ll know that choosing a frame is a very finicky task that can involve several hours, on separate days and exasperated visits to many stores. Sometimes tears are involved. The eye test is the easy part.

Needless to say I procured an emergency pair of specs (Armani, I was in Italy after all) that I continued to wear for the next two and a half years without replacement!

I was absorbed in the art that makes my heart sing, the architecture, the history and opulence of the Vatican City, gelato rich and decadent in every conceivable flavour, pastas served as starters and the men who flirt shamelessly calling out ” Bellissimo” to foreign ladies, whose partners shift along awkwardly.

I touched, tasted, smelled, heard and saw it all!

There is nothing Italian per se about my puff pastry squares (granted, they’re more like rectangles), save for the mozzarella, which is of the buffalo variety from Italy and the lovely colours that resemble the Italian flag.

tart and pretty

For easy entertaining, and perfect for brunch, I think these tarts speak Italiano with their red tomatoes, green spring onions and milky buffalo mozzarella.

 

My tart is waiting, talkin Italian

I used  sun-dried tomatoes marinated in a vinaigrette, but you can use ordinary sun-dried tomatoes that you soak in boiling water for 1o minutes to plump up.

I added lemon zest and recommend you save some for sprinkling just before serving.

 

Ingredients

1 roll puff pastry (Butter puff, is the best. There was none in stock at my local store when I made these)

milk, to brush pastry with

1 sachet sun-dried tomatoes in vinaigrette (about 2 handfuls), drained

2 tubs buffalo mozzarella (2 large balls), torn up. Reserve some pieces to scatter later

4 salad onions or 2 spring onions snipped

salt

1 lemon, zested

2T olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Spray and cook a baking sheet.

Unroll pastry and cut into rectangles.

Pinch up pastry all around the sides to create a  shallow ‘basket’.

Brush milk over the tartlets.

Scatter tomatoes (liquid drained well), mozzarella, spring onions, zest, salt and drizzle the tartlets with olive oil.

Bake for 10 minutes. The pastry must rise. Then bake at 180 degrees Celsius till cooked through- this could take 10-15 minutes. It’s okay to open the oven from time to time to check on progress.

Scatter reserved mozzarella and lemon zest over and serve warm.


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