Cooler by The Minute – Sweet Potato Tartelettes
I have always had a soft spot for layered dishes, its beautiful when the many elements of a dish can build on one another harmoniously. Traditional french desserts often employ a layering technique to entice the diner with perfectly executed layers of decadent fillings, providing not only flavor, but textural contrast to each bite. Rustic savory tarts and lasagnas are even better in my mind, the home-made element of this layering creates slight anomalies in the spread of ingredients and makes each bite slightly unique. Allowing the diner to experience different combinations and quantities of flavors in unison, and to quest for their perfect bite.
This sweet potato tart, inspired by a recipe found in Yatam Ottolenghi’s first cookbook titled “Ottolenghi” fits squarely into that quirky, imperfect category that I so love. There really are just so many things to love about this dish. The hominess of sweet potatoes contrasts beautifully with the refined puff pastry. I use store bought pastry from Trader Joes which is really almost as good as store bought pastry gets, it is only a hair less superb than the ultra supreme DuFour Pastry which Whole Foods carries, but costs only a third of the price. I stock up on TJ’s puff pastry so that I have it on hand when I need to pull off something impressive looking for a party in a hurry.
Now, if I am being perfectly honest, I don’t think that I could call this dish “healthy” but as far as fancy looking party appetizers are concerned, they aren’t all that bad either. The sweet potatoes themselves are actually quite good for you, they are great sources of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a number of B vitamins. Pumpkin seeds, often called pepitas, are also on the healthy side of the fence in this dish. The small seeds, which typically come from a pumpkin or other small gourd, are great sources of manganese, magnesium, and iron. Not too shabby for a decadently delicious appetizer.
Sweet Potato Tartelettes – Inspired by Yatam Ottolenghi
2 Nicely Proportioned Sweet Potatoes – See Note Below
1 Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry (Or Homemade, If You Really Want to Make the Rest of Us Look Bad)
1 Egg Slightly Beaten
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1/2 A Jalapeno Pepper, Minced
2 TBSP Pumpkin Seeds
A Small Piece of Hard Goats’ or Sheeps’ Milk Cheese Such as Manchego for Grating
2-3 TBSP Chopped Cilantro
3 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TSP Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper
For this recipe you want to select two fairly evenly shaped sweet potatoes, about 2 inches wide by 5 inches long. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats scrub each potato under water with a potato scrubber. Lay the potatoes flat on a cutting board. Puncture each on the side that rests facing up several times with a knife. Place in a baking dish and roast in the oven until quite soft and sweet smelling, about an hour.Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a rack.
If using frozen pastry dough (highly recommended) remove the dough from the freezer and lay a single sheet out on a cutting board. Cut your pastry dough into 2 inch by 4 inch rectangles. Whisk an egg with a little bit of water and brush lightly on pastry. Allow it to dry for 2 minutes before spreading a light layer of sour cream onto each pastry, keeping a centimeter or so rim clean around the edges.
Place a few slices of sweet potato on each slice. Top with a slight sprinkling of chopped chilis, followed by a pinch or two of salt and a few grinds of pepper. On top of this layer the pumpkin seeds and a fine grating of cheese.
Bake in the oven until golden, about 20 minutes.
While the tarts bake mix together the garlic, cilantro, oil, and lime juice in a bowl, add a small pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
Check to make sure the bottoms are cooked and crisp, not clear and soggy. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before drizzling some of dressing mixture (there should be a light drizzle, be careful not to drench them.) These can be served hot or cooled slightly to just above room temp.