These tarts are a rendition of the recipe Tarte Aux Herbes. Although I added Fontina cheese and lessoned the amount of herbs, all of the other ingredients pretty much stayed true to the recipe.. except for my dough, I used the leftover basil laced pastry dough from my Terrine and it was perfectly perfumed for these Herb Tarts! My family loved these herb and cheesy custard tarts and they were quite satisfying for a Sunday brunch.
Basil Laced Pastry Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 basil leaves clean and dried julienned
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons ice water
5 tablespoons cream or half and half
Add julienned basil to flour. Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Stir together cold water and cream.
Drizzle 5 to 6 Tbsp ice cold liquids evenly over mixture. Gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn't hold together, add more liquid, 1/2 Tbsp at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough. Turn out onto a work surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one. Press into a ball, then flatten into 2 (5-inch) disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, as least 1 hour.
Tart Filling Ingredients
2 Tablespoons shallots (sauteed)
2/3 cup half and half
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
1/2 cup fresh chopped Basil and Thyme
Fresh Ground Pepper
Beat the eggs, add the half and half and continue to beat. Add sauteed shallots. Mix well. Add shredded cheese, continue to mix and add herbs. Stir till well blended. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Making The Tarts
Press 2 teaspoonfuls of pastry dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of each prepared mini tart tin. Pierce tartlet dough's all over with fork. This can be done ahead 1 day. Cover and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake until crusts are cooked but not colored around 10 minutes. Dough will puff up a bit but will go back into place when filled. Turn down oven to 375°F, fill with basil, Fontina custard and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes till custard is baked through and golden on top.
Transfer to rack and cool 10 minutes. Carefully loosen from tins and pop out. Transfer to serving platter and enjoy!
Ciao and Hugs!