What Is a Tartlet?

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Tartlets are small tarts. They look like a pie without the crust on top, with a pastry crust and many types of fillings. Now available around the world, today's tartlet has a history that is centuries old and includes some of the most respected origins of western cuisine.

History

  • Tarts and tartlets originated in medieval times, when pies were also first invented. During this time, they were primarily filled with meat and contained sweet and savory elements. The word "tart" first appeared in the cookbook "Forme of Cury," which was published in 1390 by the Master Chefs of King Richard II. Tartlets were named soon afterward.

Types

  • Tartlets were first made in England, where they also appeared in print for the first time, but they have featured in other cuisines as well. The French also have a long history of making tarts and tartlets, which they refer to as tourtes. Tourtes were mentioned in France as early as 1651, in La Varenne's "Cuisiner Francaise."

Fillings

  • Tartlets can be filled with virtually any combination of foodstuffs, and they can be sweet or savory. Combinations of spinach, feta and tomato, chicken and rosemary, or strawberry with creme fraiche have all been used as fillings for tartlets.

Pastry

  • Tartlets can be made from a variety of doughs. Some of these are shortcrust pastry, galette dough and puff pastry. If you do not have a tartlet recipe on hand, look up recipes for tarts and galettes, and follow their dough recipe for guidance.

How to Serve

  • Tartlets are great at a party, where they can be served as hors d'oeuvres, set out on a plate or carried around by catering staff. Because of their small size, savory tartlets can be used as an appetizer, served on a bed of well-dressed greens to add a touch of class. Sweet tartlets are also an excellent dessert, and can be served one on a plate for a small sweet bite, or with a variety of three types of tartlet for a more decadent alternative.

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