My foodie friends, if you love entertaining or spoiling your family and friends with something different then these Filo Goat Cheese Tarts are the perfect choice! The crunchy filo pastry perfectly complements the delicate custard, smooth goats cheese and the salty, crispy pancetta!
When result is so dramatic with the flower-like golden filo pastry and the bursts of color from the pancetta and spring/green onions! I can guarantee that when you lay these little crispy pieces of gorgeousness in front of your guests you are sure to get gasps of delight! This can be served as an appetizer or as part of a main meal with a garden salad and either way it will be delicious but a heads up - they might taste as light as air but they are actually quite filling!
To make the preparation easier for you, here's a visual of how your filo should look as you are putting it together:
two sheets of butter-brushed pastry on the base square and two sheets of butter-brushed pastry on the top square to create an "8-pointed star". You can see that once it is in the muffin pan it all looks a bit crazy but that just adds to the fun and drama of the presentation!
If you can't find pancetta you could use lean bacon, smoked ham or prosciutto
If you can't find goats cheese, feta cheese would be a suitable substitute (just make sure it isn't too salty) or you could also use little chunks of a Philadelphia style cream cheese in place of the goats cheese too
If you are in a pinch you can use puff pastry but cook your tarts at 200C/400F for around 20 mins or until cooked through and custard is set. Just be aware you will not get the crunchy, dramatic look of these tarts but you'll still get heaps of great flavors!
Ensure your filo pastry is properly thawed before using BUT DO NOT ALLOW TO DRY OUT. Keep in covered with a clean, damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.
If for whatever reason your pastry is cooking faster than your custard, turn your oven down and keep an eye on it until the custard is cooked through. It is okay for the edges of the pastry to be slightly brown it doesn't not affect the taste and looks quite pretty.
YOU WILL NEED
150g | 2 ounces pancetta
12 sheets filo pastry
4-5 tablespoons melted butter (or as needed to brush on your filo pastry)
200g | 7 ounces goat's cheese chopped into small cubes or crumbled
150ml/ 5 ounces milk
150ml/ 5 ounces sour cream
2 spring/green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and once up to temperature place pancetta on a baking tray and allow to bake for 5 minutes or until crispy. Allow to cool a bit and break into random medium sized pieces and set aside.
Grease or spray your muffin pan lightly with oil and set aside.
On a clean board or silicon mat, lay one sheet of filo pastry and brush with melted butter, then cover with another another sheet of filo pastry and again brush with butter. Cut sheets into 6 equal squares (in thirds across the width and half way across the length worked for me) You will now have 6 squares with a 2-sheet thickness.
Begin to place your pastry squares into each muffin pan and do not worry if the pastry touches, if you want to trim it slightly feel free too with a pair of clean scissors. (I did not, as I like the over the top effect.)
Repeat steps 3 & 4 and fill up the remaining 6 muffin pans so the first layer of pastry is in all 12 pans.
Repeat steps 3, 4 & 5 again but this overlap the pastry in a way that creates a "8-pointed star shape" as pictured above so you will end up with 12 "stars" of pastry with each made up of 4 filo sheets.
Preheat your oven to 180C/375F.
Place a little pancetta in the base of each muffin pan (reserving some for serving).
Evenly distribute the goats cheese between the 12 cases.
In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and whisk until well broken up and then add the milk, sour cream and half the spring/green onions into the custard along with a good crack of pepper and a pinch of salt and whisk well to combine. (The pancetta and goats cheese is already salty so go easy on the salt here.)
Using a small ladle or suitable jug, gently pour the mixture evening between the cases (you might have a little bit left over).
Bake for 15-20 mins or until the custard is cooked through and the filo pastry is golden brown and crisp.
Gently remove from the muffin pans and serve with extra "shards" of remaining pancetta, (I gently pushed them into the custard), and remaining spring/green onions and enjoy!