This is one of the most versatile dishes in the book. These tarts work as a quick snack, starter, or main course (with a salad), and you can vary the fruit, cheese, nuts, and herbs to suit your taste or what you have in the kitchen already – just keep the quantities roughly the same. Pears, Stilton and walnuts/figs, ricotta and almonds/peaches, Gorgonzola and pecans – try experimenting to make these your own. I see these as a savory recipe, but they so wonderfully bridge the savory-sweet divide that you could easily add more honey and serve them as a dessert, or even instead of a cheese course.
320g ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
300g soft goat’s cheese log, sliced into 1cm rounds
3 teaspoons thyme or lemon thyme leaves, or 1 heaped teaspoon dried thyme
30g hazelnuts, finely chopped
4 apples or pears, cored and cut lengthways into 5mm slices
5 teaspoons runny honey
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
Lay the pastry out on a worktop. Cut it into 12 equal squares (about 8 x 8cm). Using a sharp knife, lightly score a border around each square, about 1.5cm in from the edges, without cutting completely through the pastry. Lightly brush the borders of the squares with a beaten egg.
Place the pastry squares on the prepared baking sheets, with at least 5cm between each square.
Lay the goat’s cheese slices over the pastry squares, avoiding the borders. The squares don’t have to be completely covered in cheese, but you probably want about 3–4 slices per pastry square – enough to not leave any big gaps. Scatter half the thyme and half the hazelnuts over the cheese.
Place the apple or pear slices in a bowl with 3 teaspoons of the honey and toss well.
Lay the apple or pear slices over the top of the cheese – 2–4 slices per pastry square, depending on the size of your fruit.
Sprinkle the remaining thyme leaves and hazelnuts over the pastries, trying to keep them off the borders. Drizzle the pastries with the remaining honey.
Bake the tarts for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and turned golden, the cheese is bubbling and the fruit is starting to become golden and burnished. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.