This year, we’re celebrating New Year’s Eve at home with family. No noisy crowds, expensive drinks and glittery outfits. Instead, we’ll play cards and games to win “white elephant” gifts, listen to holiday music, and maybe watch a classic movie like It’s a Wonderful Life or a Hitchcock thriller. We also love good food and everyone brings something festive and delicious to share. This year, I plan to make a Blue Cheese Appetizer Tart. Colorful, elegant, and distinctive – seems like a great way to start the new year!
It’s really not much work considering how beautiful it looks and serves. Start by making the crust with only two ingredients plus ice water. I like to get all the crust ingredients and utensils out and ready first. For the ice water, I just fill a juice glass with ice and fill it up with water. It will be nice and ice cold when I need it.
The first step is cutting in the butter. Simply toss the cut-up butter into the bowl and use the pastry cutter to cut it into smaller and smaller pieces until they’re the size of large crumbs or small peas. Use a knife to scrape the butter off the cutter when it accumulates.
Next, add the ice water and stir with a fork. Start with 4 tablespoons, adding the 5th only if necessary.
The pastry mixture is done when you can squish it into a ball with your hands.
Now roll the dough out on a board, flipping it and re-flouring the surface a few times until you get a circle with a 12” diameter. This is a nice thick pastry, so it’s easy to handle.
Simply lift the crust off the board, supporting it with your hands and gently ease it into the tart pan. Press the dough gently into the bottom and the sides of the pan.
Since the edge of the pan is rather sharp (but not dangerously so!), just use it like a cutter and press off any excess dough. If any edges are too short, just patch in some extra dough using the scraps.
I love that the pan makes such a pretty edge!
Now, prick the crust all over with a fork so it doesn’t bubble up during baking.
I took an extra precaution by using my pie weights – a strand of metal beads that weigh down the crust – atop a piece of parchment paper. The parchment is nice because when the crust is finished, I can just lift the very hot weights off with the paper and set them aside to cool.
The baked tart shell will be only lightly browned at this point. Set it on a rack to cool.
Next, make the blue cheese filling. Use a blue cheese you really like since the flavor definitely comes through. Begin by mixing the softened cream cheese and crumbled blue cheese. I bought my cheese already crumbled which worked well. You end up with a creamy yet lumpy mixture.
Next, is the whipping cream, egg and pepper – I suggest mixing them in a measuring cup and stirring them together with a fork.
Then, simply pour the mixture into the side of the mixing bowl with the blue cheese mixture.
Mix for another couple of minutes, scraping once or twice, and you’ll now have something much creamier but still a little lumpy because of the delicious blue cheese crumbles.
Smooth this mixture into the baked tart shell with a spatula.
Next, add the toppings. Chop the roasted red peppers and parsley, and put the pine nuts in a small frying pan to toast them lightly. To toast the nuts, simply cook them on medium-low, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 3-5 minutes until they start to smell deliciously fragrant. They don’t change color much, so just go with the scent. If you notice they are browning, remove them from the heat right away. Remember, they’ll have a little more time to toast in the oven.
Let the nuts cool and sprinkle the red pepper and parsley onto the tart. Then, add the nuts. Beautiful!
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set. It will appear dry (but still a bit glossy) and if you shake the pan lightly it won’t jiggle. Let it cool, then pop the base of the tart pan out of its rim. I like to set my tart on a cake plate – it’s fun and it shows off the pretty edges of the tart.
This tart is amazing and impressive for parties. It’s colorful, and it slices and serves perfectly. A blue cheese lover’s paradise!
Try this wonderful Blue Cheese Appetizer Tart for your New Year’s Eve party. It also travels well, so it’s a great recipe to bring to a gathering. Let me know if you make it and what you think – I’d love to hear from you.
Check back in a few days when Mallory makes Cherries Jubilee, another fun recipe for New Year’s Eve or any special occasion.
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz®Blog.