Phyllo Ham and Bleu Cheese Tarts

 Phyllo Ham and Bleu Cheese Tart

These rich, savory tarts are one of my fondest memories from a recent trip to England. My husband is English, so we go over a couple times a year to visit his family. On our last trip, his cousin Ann (or is she my “cousin-in-law”?) cooked us an amazing dinner. Or, as the Brits would say, it was absolutely brilliant. The tarts were our starter course, and after my husband and I tasted them, raved about them, ate in tiny little bites just to make them last longer, and then graciously (okay, greedily) accepted the last one we had been ogling, Ann was kind enough to share the recipe. For the filling, I loosely converted the UK measurements for the US, but none of it needs to be too exact. They can be made as small, individual tarts, or as one large tart. I did both, and they were delicious either way.

Phyllo Ham and Bleu Cheese Tarts

6 large sheets (12” x 8”) phyllo dough
1 T olive oil
2 eggs
8-10 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C chopped prosciutto or ham
4-6 green onions (½ C chopped)
2 C packed baby spinach
3 oz crumbled bleu cheese (plus 1-2 oz extra for topping, if desired)
3 T toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 1 large tart (8 inch pie/tart pan) or 6 individual tartlets (use mini tart pans or a six-cavity mini pie/tart pan).

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan over medium heat until lightly browned; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the softened cream cheese until combined. Add the ham, green onions, spinach and bleu cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Trim the phyllo sheets so each piece is just slightly larger than the size of tart being made. (For a six-cavity tart pan, I cut the sheets roughly into fourths.) Layer each cavity (or one large tin) with 6 sheets of filo pastry, overlapping the sides and rotating each sheet about 30 degrees from the last, so the corners fan out from each other. Brush (or spray) each layer individually with a little olive oil to prevent the dough from drying out. Pour the ham mixture into the layered phyllo and top with pine nuts and, if using, extra bleu cheese crumbles.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the phyllo is lightly browned. (If making ahead of time to serve later, cut the baking time short a little so the phyllo won’t burn when reheating. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven.)

Let sit for 10 minutes or so before removing the tart(s) from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from here.

Step by Step Details

This recipe can be made either as one large tart (which I did the first time I made it) or six smaller, individual tarts (which I did the second time). I prefer the smaller tarts, but will have photos of both. The tarts can be made with regular ham or prosciutto; I prefer prosciutto, so that’s what I used.

Phyllo Ham and Blue Cheese Tart Tart 003

Toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan over medium heat until lightly browned. I usually toast up an entire pan’s worth and store the extras.

Toasting pine nuts

Chop the green onions and ham, and in a medium bowl, beat the eggs.

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Add the softened cream cheese to the beaten eggs.

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Stir until well combined. Add the ham, green onions, spinach and bleu cheese.  Mix well; season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Don’t open the phyllo until right before using, as it tends to dry out. Have the olive oil poured into a small bowl and a pastry brush ready to go once you do.

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Trim the phyllo sheets so each piece is just slightly larger than the size of tart being made. For one large tart, just use the regular sized sheets and trim the excess later. For a six-cavity mini pie/tart pan, I cut the sheets in half (left) and then in half again (right).

Phyllo Ham and Blue Cheese Tart 057

Layer the pie pan (or each cavity of a six-tart sheet) with 6 sheets of filo pastry, rotating each sheet about 30 degrees from the last so the corners overlap and fan out. Make sure to brush (or spray) each layer individually with a little of the olive oil to prevent the phyllo from drying out.

Here’s my first layer of phyllo in the six-tart pan. I’m not much of a pastry chef, but it made sense to me to alternate the directions of the phyllo for each tart so as not to overlap with its neighbor.

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Don’t forget to spray each layer or brush with olive oil. I love my Misto oil sprayer for this step.

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Pour the ham mixture into the phyllo and top with pine nuts and, if desired, some extra bleu cheese crumbles.

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If making one large tart, you may want to trim any excess dough with kitchen shears.  The first time I made it, I left so much dough hanging over the side that I couldn’t even remove the pan from the oven without it all breaking off. I had to take the entire oven rack out, with the pan still on it, and it still made a flaky mess.

 

Ann's Phyllo Blue Cheese Tart 045

Bake for 30 minutes or until the phyllo is lightly browned. (If making ahead of time to serve later, cut the baking time short a little so the phyllo won’t burn when reheating. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven.)

Ann's Phyllo Blue Cheese Tart 069

 

Let sit for 10 minutes or so before removing the tart(s) from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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These tarts make a great lunch/brunch item, starter for a meal, or late night snack with a nice red wine. Enjoy!

Ann's Phyllo Blue Cheese Tart

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4 thoughts on “Phyllo Ham and Bleu Cheese Tarts

  1. These pictures are amazing! I will try this over the week-end and report back. Although I don’t have a fancy mist sprayer…what else do you recommend? I think my tarts will be a late night snack with red wine.

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