Warm Apple and Brie Tartlets Recipe
Makes 24 tartlets
Note: Instead of using an actual tartlet pan, we chose to use a muffin tin, since most people have the latter but not the former. It is important to get your dough as thin as possible, or else the crust flavor can overwhelm the delicate apple. Just work with your dough in small batches, and it should maintain its shape long enough for you to successfully roll it out and transfer it into the muffin tin.
Grease 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare the Basic Pie Crust dough recipe twice, being sure to divide and refrigerate the dough in 4 disks instead of 2.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Working with one disk of dough at a time, flour a piece of waxed paper and place the dough disk in the center of the waxed paper. Lightly flour the top of the disk and cover with another piece of waxed paper. Using the waxed paper keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and makes it much easier to work with. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible (shoot for 1/8-inch thickness). Using a 2 1/2-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut out disks of dough and gently transfer them to the bottom of the muffin cups. Gently press the dough down so that it fits snugly in the bottom of the tin and comes up the side enough to make a slight lip.
Repeat this process until you have dough in 24 muffin cups. Discard any extra dough.
Next, you need to blind-bake the tartlets. Place small pieces of parchment paper in the bottom of each cup so that it covers the crust. Fill each cup with a few dried beans, which will act as pie weights for each tartlet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let cool completely, and then carefully remove the beans, the parchment and the tartlet shells from the tin. Alternatively, you can leave the shells in the muffin tin. Set the tartlet shells aside until you are ready to fill them.
While the tartlet shells are baking, make your caramelized onion concoction. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, mustard and brown sugar and begin to sauté. You'll need to stir them often to prevent burning and to help the caramelizing process. (Be aware that the whole caramelizing process can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes total, depending on the size of your onions.)
Once the onions have been sautéing for about 15 minutes and are on the way to browning, add the apples, thyme, garlic powder and salt and black pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate and continue cooking until the onions are completely caramelized, deep golden-brown but not burned, roughly another 5 to 10 minutes longer. If your onions finish cooking before the tartlet shells are cool, remove them from the heat and set them aside. Once you are ready to assemble, take your Brie out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature. This makes it a bit more malleable to work with when pressing down into the tartlet shells.
Once the tartlet shells have cooled and the onion mixture is cooked, slice your Brie into 24 equal-size pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
If you have removed your tartlet shells from the muffin tin, lay them out on a large, ungreased and unlined baking sheet. Alternatively, you can assemble the tartlets inside the tin and remove the finished product carefully with a fork or small spatula. We differ here in our preferred methods: Jilly prefers to assemble in the tin and then remove; and Jessie prefers to assemble on the baking sheet. Either way will work.
Using your fingers, gently press one Brie slice into each tartlet crust so that it fills the bottom as evenly and thinly as possible. Use your fingers to gently press down and smooth out the Brie slice as much as you can.
Then fill each tartlet with approximately 1 teaspoonful of the onion mixture.
Once all the tartlets have been filled, bake them on the ungreased, unlined baking sheet or in the tins for 3 to 5 minutes, so the cheese can melt and the tartlets and filling can warm through.
Remove the tartlets from the oven and let cool briefly, 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with some freshly chopped chives, if desired, and serve warm.
From The Lagasse Girls' Big Flavor, Bold Taste—and No Gluten!: 100 Gluten-Free Recipes from EJ's Fried Chicken to Momma's Strawberry Shortcake (Da Capo Lifelong Books) by Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse Swanson.