I just love these tiny little Caprese salad Phyllo tartlets. They are just a mouthful, and are the perfect size canape for cocktail parties. Try and make them as small as possible , so that you can pop the whole tartlet in your mouth at once.
Phyllo pastry is perfect for savoury treats, and yes I know everyone shrieks at the amount of butter you have to use on them, but with these caprese salad tartlets I used olive oil instead. Olive oil is healthier, and the pastry browns perfectly every time.
The trick to making perfect crisp phyllo tarts is in the preparation. Heat your oven to 375F and make sure your phyllo pastry has defrosted. To prepare it open the package and roll out the phyllo onto a baking tray or countertop. Cover with wax wrap and then cover with a folded kitchen towel to weigh it down and by doing this the pastry will remain soft and pliable and will not dry out. It is very fragile, and you are going to get breaks in it when you peel the sheets off, but don’t worry about it, because this is the nature of phyllo. I like to cut the pastry into the sizes of the tarts that I am going to make , it makes the pastry more manageable and leads to less breaking.
Once your layers of pastry are cut into the correct size, start layering them with one layer pastry, brushed with olive oil, then the next. I do 4 layers for each tart. Spray the mini muffin pans with cooking spray – use a nice olive oil one if you have, or spray and cook. Press the pastry into the pan and the edges will be raised above the pan. Repeat this until the tray is full or you have made the required amount.
Bake in the oven for 5-10mins depending on the size of your tarts, keep watching so that they don’t over brown. Once cooked, cool them on a wire rack covered with paper towel to absorb any extra oil. When cool, you can keep them in an airtight container for a few days until ready to use, or can be used straight away.
I like to season the pastry cases at this stage with some salt and cracked black pepper. Slice cherry tomatoes in half or smaller, and place in the tarts with pieces of torn baby Bocconcini or Mozzarella and tender basil leaves. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction (store bought) and you are ready to party. I do need to warn you that you will have to make lots of these, as they are guaranteed to be a hit.