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Little Cheese Tarts

Tortine di Formaggio

Pasta sfoglia means puff pastry, those magical thin layers of dough that get their flakiness from loads of butter. Anyone who has ever made it knows it takes time. But a respectable alternative is to use good commercially prepared puff pastry for these savory cheese tortine, little cheese tarts.

Ingredients

1 sheet commercially prepared puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

Four to six 3 1/2x3/4 tart shells with removable bottoms

1 cup diced prosciutto

1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

4 large eggs lightly beaten

2 cups half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon salt

grated nutmeg to taste

Directions

Preheat your oven to 425F

Roll the pastry on a lightly floured board to 14 x 14-inch square. Cut out four to six five-inch circles. Line each tart shell with 1 circle of pastry dough. Use scraps to line more shells if enough dough is left.

Divide and sprinkle the prosciutto on the bottom of each tart shell. Divide and sprinkle the cheese over the prosciutto.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, parsley, half-and-half, salt, and nutmeg together. Divide and pour the mixture into the tart shells. Place the tart shells on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or just until the filling sets. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the tarts to a cooling rack.

When cool enough to handle, remove the bottom of the tart shells. Place the tarts on individual dishes and serve with red beet and orange salad (see "recipe box")

This recipe is from Ciao Italia Pronto by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.

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