Do you enjoy the flavor of tomatoes? I do! Do you enjoy quick and easy starter recipes? I do! These Tomato Puffs are delicious and simple to make. With just 4 ingredients; puff pastry, basil pesto, tomatoes and olive oil. You can have a starter ready in no time and one that is sure to be enjoyed by your friends and family.
My fondest childhood memories include the beautiful gardens of my grandfathers. Each year they’d set aside plots of soil near 20’ x 25’, or there about. I’d wonder around rows of peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, egg plant, and tomatoes, just naming a few varieties. I loved nothing better than a vine ripened tomato with a dash of salt. It’s no surprise I had to give this recipe, Tiny Tomato Tarts, by Food Networks star, Ree Drummond a try.
I lined a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. On my work surface, I placed my pastry mat, two cuts of parchment paper, rolling pin, and 2 ½” round cookie cutter. Remove the puff pastry from its wrapper, unfold it and place it between two, lightly floured, sheets of parchment paper. With a heavy rolling pin light pressure will flatten the puff pastry.
PASTRY CUT OUT
The folds of the puff pastry flattened but, the sheet was divided into three equal sections created by the folds and packaging of the puff pastry. I used my 2 ½” round cookie cutter cutting 16 pastry rounds. Setting each pastry round onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
PIERCE THE PASTRY ROUNDS
After placing and evenly spacing out the pastry rounds on the baking sheet, use a fork to pierce them. Because of this, mine resembled saltine crackers after I was finished.
After opening my little jar of Basil Pesto my kitchen was filled with it’s delicious aroma. Using a kitchen spoon I placed a dollop of pesto onto each pastry round. I turned the spoon over and spread the pesto evenly onto each pastry round. Don’t forget to spread the pesto near the edge of each round.
ADDING THE TOMATO SLICES
For the most part, my little Roma tomatoes were beautiful, perfectly sized and that deep red shade that indicates they are ripe. I sliced the tomatoes into ¼” slices, approximately. While the tomatoes lay on my cutting board I drizzled them with olive oil, using my hands I distributed the oil over the tomato slices. Don’t forget to, turned them over and repeated the process.
SEASONING THE TOMATOES
I deviated from the recipe and seasoned my tomatoes. Just saying, I love seasoned tomatoes! I liberally sprinkled salt and pepper over one side, turning the tomatoes and repeating the process. You could add other seasonings; garlic powder, seasoning salt or others of your choice. Just have to say, by this point, I was nibbling on one of these tomato slices.
PLACING THE TOMATOES
Full disclosure, before using my cookie cutter to cut out my pastry rounds I measured the cookie cutter for fit. This time, my 2 ½” cookie cutter was perfect. I simply held a tomato and slid them into the cutters until one was larger than my tomatoes. Not rocket science, just easy.
I carefully placed a tomato slice onto each pastry round, centering them as I moved along.
TIME TO BAKE
I’d already preheated my oven to 400 degrees F. Because of this, I placed my tray of tomato yumminess onto a lowered top oven rack and baked for 15 minutes. I judged my Tomato Puffs done when the puff pastry was a lovely golden color.
These Tomato Puffs looked delicious and smelled devine. I allowed them to cool and dived into one of the puffs. All of the ingredients combined perfectly and the flavors of these puffs were delicious. Are you ready to give these a try?
SETTING THE SCENE FOR A FLATLAY
As I considered table coverings, I was drawn to neutral tones. I set aside three options and decided on a burlap. The coarse burlap fibers were intertwined with a broad white scrolling embroidery pattern. I’m not sure why but, it’s rows of repeating patterns somehow reminded me of my grandfather’s gardens.
I choose several different white plates, serving trays and salad plates. The large round tray was a dinner plate with a star burst pattern accented with golden strips. Its lines moving inward towards the circular arrangement of tomato puffs. Because of this, my eye was sent back to the ‘winner’ display of tomato puffs.
I plated the tomato puffs on a salad plate. It’s rim having a delicate raised polka dot pattern. I arranged the puffs off center and accented them with a sprig of basil.
My final plate was a lovely oval tray with a scrolling edge and similar to the pattern of the tablecloth. My little tray is actually part of a butter dish set. On that, I placed a tomato puff, small white bowl with sliced tomatoes and a sprig of basil.
My flatware is golden to pick up the accents of gold framing the round tray. I folden a white napkin and slipped in a small spray of flowers. Also, using more flowers throughout the set.
I spread the tablecloth over my table using my hands to smooth out any folds or creases and deciding on a diagonal layout. I fussed over the placement of my platings, flatware and napkin, making adjustments until I was satisfied with the flat layout. I added two sprays of flowers to anchor the round tray and send you visually back into the set.
This is a three light setup. A large octabox, with a boom, projecting from the back and over the flat lay set. I immediately noticed glare on the white plating. To correct the glare I place 4 scrimms; one over and 3 more to each side and back of the set. I added two angled sidelights; one to the left/back and another to the right/back. White foam core was randomly placed to bounce and add fill lighting.
My camera is a Nikon D800 and the tripod is RRS. I used my Nikkor 24-70mm, f2.8 for the flat lay shots and a 105mm, f2.8 for the angled shots. I tethered my camera to my computer using Control my Nikon. A color checker was used to help with white balance.
Once my lighting was defined and set refined I then focused on the photography. I customarily use f8-16 for my flat lay shots. I favor the overall clarity I can achieve.
For angled shots I’ll open up my f-stop as I love the focus drop-off and how it isolates my “winner” food. This does require adjustments to my lighting and a lowering of settings.
I transfer my images to Lightroom and will make minor adjustments, as needed. From there I complete my edits in Photoshop.
I was pleased with the results of my efforts. The warmth of the table covering, the cool tones of the whites all combined to emphasize the beauty of the Tomato Puffs. The Tomato Puffs are delicious.
This starter is simple and delicious! The puff pastry is crispy and flaky, spread with basil pesto with hints of fresh garlic and topped with a slice of seasoned tomato. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments area below.