Yield: 20 small tarts
Why not serve these savory heart-smart tarts to your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? They are simple, special, quick and delicious, and they only look and taste like you labored for hours.
When I realized that Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, I began brainstorming brunch ideas for my vegan column, “The Veggie Table,” in The Virginian-Pilot. For it, I ultimately decided on unforgettable Red Velvet Pancakes. (I’ve posted a teaser with a photo, but will post the recipe as soon as it appears in the Pilot, as per my agreement with them.)
But these little morsels were one of my ideas and they are scrumptious. So if you prefer a savory to a semi-sweet breakfast, then I encourage you to whip up a platter of these heart tarts and serve them with a side of fruit for a very beautiful and satisfying start to the day.
The flecks of red bell pepper make them especially fitting for any of the “red” holidays, so you might cut the pastry out in the shape of stars and make tarts for a Christmas breakfast or brunch. But simple squares or circles would make them suitable for any day of the year.
Though they are especially fitting in the morning, they would also make delicious hors d’oeuvres on an afternoon or evening buffet.
1 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (removed from box and thawed 40 minutes on counter)
Vegan “Sausage” and Red Pepper Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of a large red bell pepper, finely diced
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
8 ounces tempeh (I used the “garden” variety–no pun intended–with flecks of vegetables)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Amino Acids
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 “squirt” of lemon juice
1 “squirt” of Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (white would also work)
4 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk (plain would also work)
coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil to shimmering. Add bell pepper and saute for about a minute or two until it starts to soften. Add garlic and saute another couple of minutes or until garlic softens and just barely begins to develop golden color. Crumble tempeh into skillet, stir well and add next 8 ingredients, sauteing and stirring until tempeh is uniform in color, fennel seeds release fragrance, and mixture is warmed through. Sprinkle with flour and immediately add milk, cooking and stirring until flour no longer tastes raw and mixture begins to bind together. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, and remove from heat.
Cut puff pastry into 20 hearts, 10 per sheet and place on a lightly oiled or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Using a spoon or small scoop, place approximately 2 teaspoons of filling into the center of each heart. Bake on the center oven rack for approximately 16-17 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot, warm or room temperature.