Summer is often the time for parties and get-togethers and deciding on food can be tricky and fun at the same time. First do you pick a theme/cuisine type or a range of your favorites? Then there’s deciding how much food – do you go all-out and eg fire up the grill for a big feast, or maybe opt for more snack-type foods to nibble on? If you decide on the latter, these puff pastry appetizers are perfect as they are so easy to make but both look and taste great, and are suitable for vegetarians too. I made these with leftover pastry, but you can of course use a larger amount and multiply up the recipe to suit your crowd.
The idea for these came from the fact I’d recently made a pie and had leftover puff pasty which I didn’t know quite what to do with. I don’t know about anyone else, but I do sometimes find I make something with puff pastry and have some offcuts leftover that I kind of feel I should do something with, but am often not sure what. The awkward-shaped pieces and smaller quantities just don’t jump out with an idea. I will wrap the pastry up and put it in the fridge but don’t always get round to using it soon enough. This last time, though, I was more inspired and made these puff pastry appetizers which were perfect. They were hard to eat just one or two, I could probably have done with having more leftovers. Or other things to go with it. Either way, I am pretty sure I will make them again and resolve all of that.
How they’re made
They are incredibly simple to make and take no time at all. You can soften the vegetables in advance, if you like, and then put everything together right as you are going to cook them (it might work to make them up fully ahead, cover and refrigerate, but I wonder if the vegetables might over-soften the pastry. If you try let me know!). It’s worth baking them not too long before you are going to serve them as I think they are best warm and they lose their crispiness if left too long, as with most puff pastry things.
Forming them is really easy, you just cut roughly square pieces of pastry and top each with some vegetable mixture, cheese and then bring the corners together in the middle. Then bake until lightly brown and enjoy. As I say, I struggled to stop at just one or two so these went very quickly, it was as well I waited to try them until after I took the photos! While I used leek and tomato, I’m sure other vegetables would go equally well with the goats cheese, so do feel free to experiment.
I’d definitely recommend adding these to your party food ideas over the coming months, whether for a fourth of July party or anything else, as these are really tasty and your guests are bound to think these were more work than they are which is always a bonus. And they are definitely on my list for next time I have some leftover puff pastry, whether I have a party as an excuse or not.
Leek and goats cheese puff pastry bites
- 1/3 sheet puff pastry rolled out slightly and smaller pieces 'joined' as you roll
- 1 tbsp olive oil approx
- 1/2 leek halved lengthways and sliced
- 1/2 tomato cut into fairly small dice
- 1/4 tsp thyme approx
- 1 oz goats cheese approx, best from a round, cut into as many pieces as you cut the pastry
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- Roll out pastry slightly and cut into roughly square pieces about 1 1/2-2in across - I got around 9 - and lay pieces on a lightly-oiled baking sheet.
- Heat a little oil in a small frying pan and gently cook the leek for a few minutes until softening. Add the tomato and thyme and cook a minute more then remove from the heat.
- Put a spoonful of the leek-tomato mixture in the centre of each square of pasty and then put a piece of goats cheese on top of each.
- Fold the corners of the pastry together and join, using a little water to help as needed, so you make small parcels that are still slightly open (see pictures above).
- Bake for approx 15-20min until lightly golden.