Best Leftover Turkey Tarts

If Cindy's ever made you one of her leftover turkey sandwiches, you know that she loves to hide a big spoonful of leftover cranberry sauce in the middle somewhere! This tart is a stellar reincarnation of her classic Christmas-leftovers-sandwich. You can't really go wrong with warm, buttery pastry enrobed in caramelized cheese in place of sliced bread, can you? The creamy counterpart of crème fraiche and caramelised onions seals the deal.

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To prepare the Best Leftover Turkey Tarts

Preheat the oven to 220˚C, 200˚C Fan, 400˚F, Gas 7. Place your baking tray in the oven for about 10 minutes in advance to cooking the tarts for extra crispy bases.

Dust your counter with a little bit of flour before unrolling the puff pastry sheets. Cut out circles from each sheet of puff pastry using a sharp knife; you can use the edge of a bowl to help trace; 10cm rounds will give you a tart perfect as a generous starter or a light main course. Alternately, you can make mini tarts to nibble with drinks and use cookie cutters to punch out the bases. Leaving about 1cm of the edge unmarked, prick each puff pastry round with a fork so that the circle of pastry looks like it is decked out in dimples. This will help give your tart a lovely flared edge with a flat base.

Place your prepared rounds of pastry on a sheet of baking parchment the same size as your baking sheet. Spread a happy dollop of crème fraîche in the middle of each puff pastry circle, making sure not to cross over the plain edge. Top with a little sautéed bacon if you have them and a generous amount of caramelised onions. Layer with some thinly sliced turkey and drizzle with some olive oil. Season with a little flakey salt (if using ham, leave out) and pepper and follow with a generous spoonful of cranberry sauce. Finish with your cheese, the more the merrier.

Leaving the tarts on the sheet of parchment, take your preheated baking sheet out of the oven and slide the sheet of parchment and tarts directly onto the hot tray; return to oven and bake on the highest rack for about 15-20 minutes. When they are ready, bases should be a crispy golden brown and the cheese should melt and start to caramelise.  You can crank up the heat another 20 degrees at this stage if they need a boost of heat to finish everything off. Best served immediately with a side salad (endive and green beans with a few toasted pecans is lovely) tossed in a sharp, mustardy vinaigrette.

*A terrific alternative to the crème fraîche is homemade béchamel sauce.

**Tips on caramelising onions (with leeks too, if you have them):
Caramelised onions reduce dramatically once cooked so start by finely slicing at least 3 large onions for 4-6 10cm tarts, but you might as well do more if you have them as they go with everything! Heat a heavy-based saucepan and add a healthy drizzle of olive oil or a few good knobs of butter followed by the onions which should sizzle when they hit the pan. Season with salt and toss on high heat for a couple of minutes to get them going then turn the heat to a low flame. You can add some whole thyme at this stage, if available. Now cook with the lid on, maintaining a low even temperature, for about 30 minutes, stirring every so often to ensure everything is cooking evenly. You are looking for the onions to turn a light golden colour, completely soften, and nearly melt in your mouth at this stage, so adjust the cooking time accordingly! Take off the lid and remove the sprigs of thyme. Increase the temperature to medium-high now to allow the natural sugars to caramelize more deeply. You will need to take more care at this stage, stirring regularly until you reach a deep amber colour and caramelised flavour that makes your taste buds happy.

Ingredients

  • Makes as many tarts as you have leftovers!
  • Store-bought all-butter puff pastry sheets
  • Small tub crème fraîche*
  • Bacon diced and sautéed, optional
  • Caramelised onions**
  • Leftover turkey, thinly sliced (ham works super well too)
  • Leftover cranberry sauce
  • Melting cheese like Gruyère, Emmental or Mozzarella, sliced or grated
  • Flakey salt (Maldon salt is lovely)
  • Freshly ground pepper

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