For Christmas a dear friend gave me a new cookbook.
The following recipe from this cookbook was pure delight for two recent events.
It is a bit involved, but so worth it and would be perfect
for any tea party too. EnJOY!
Poppy Seed Tarts from Savory Baking by Mary Cech
6 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds (I used 3 Tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted, cold and 1/2 inch cubed butter
2 teaspoons cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put tart pans on baking sheet. Combine poppy seeds, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs; this can also be done by pulsing ingredients in a food processor as well. Stir in the egg and cold water. Put the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, knead it a couple of times, then form it into a flat disc.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll one piece of the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough to fit tartlet pans. (I made one 6 inch tart and 14 small individual tarts from this recipe) Gently press the dough into each pan and trim the pastry flush with the pans edge to create a neat appearance. Roll the other half of the dough and line the remaining tartlet pans. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake until light brown. 12 to 15 minutes Put the tartlets on a cooling rack and let cool before removing the baked crusts from each pan.
For serving spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of Ricotta filling into each shell and top with Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers, Garnish with balsamic julienne roasted peppers. Serve at room temperature or can warm slightly in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Ricotta Filling (or can be used as a dip)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon whole milk
1 Tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds in a small bowl and combine.
Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers
1 pound eggplant (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup chili oil (I used about half and not too spicy)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium red bell pepper and 1 medium yellow bell pepper (can use canned peppers)
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
Preheat grill to medium. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices and put the slices on a baking sheet. Stir the chili oil and the 1/4 cup olive oil together in a small bowl. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil mixture and dust with a little ground cumin and salt.
Place the eggplant and peppers on the grill. Roast the eggplant until soft and well marked by the grill, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill to cool. Roast the peppers until black on all sides, 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the grill and let cool. Peel the black skin off the peppers and then stem, derib, and take out the seeds. Put the eggplant slices, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, half of each of the roasted peppers, garlic, and a little salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chunky, 5 - 10 seconds. (I pulsed a little longer) Remove from the bowl and season with more salt, if desired.
Cut the remaining roasted peppers into julienne strips and toss with the balsamic vinegar. Garnish the eggplant mixture with the julienne balsamic peppers. Store in refrigerator covered for up to 1 week. These julienne strips would be delicious in a tossed salad too.