My inspiration for these little tarts came from the “Earth Plate lady” at Marrickville Organic Farmers Markets. In addition to her famous organic art-on-a-plate ‘Earth Plates’, she also makes a variety of little nibbles (perfect for market meandering snacking), one of which is a little caramelised onion and tomato tart, which she sweetens with grated apple. So yum. She uses gluten-free pastry and doesn’t add cheese so they are also dairy-free making them versatile to alter if you have allergies/intolerances.

My version of these little guys are so easy because all you need is a sheet of shortcrust and really any type of cheese. The other ingredients are only limited by your imagination (or what’s in your cupboard/fridge), and they’re great sweet or savoury, meaty or vegetarian. I haven’t been specific with exact quantities for the toppings, as I think this one is best when they’re made with the cook’s creativity!

1 sheet of ready-rolled short crust pastry makes 25 mini tarts . Partially thaw the pastry and if you’re going down the pesto/cream cheese/ some other kind of spread route, spread this evenly over the whole sheet, then cut the sheet with a sharp knife into 25 squares (5×5). Place squares on a tray lined with baking paper then you can be as creative as you want with the toppings – as this recipe involves pastry and cheese, and the emphasis here is ‘quick and easy’, you can keep the other flavours pretty simple. Here are some suggested combos (as pictured):

1. basil pesto + halved cherry tomatoes + bocconcini

2. caramelised red onion + feta + thyme

3. mix some cream cheese, blue cheese, walnuts & honey + diced apples + chives

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the lot then whack in the over at 180C for about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and pastry is golden and crispy. Ideally these are best eaten straight from the oven, but are also great to make ahead of time and served at room temp, or warmed/crisped up in the oven for 5-10 mins before serving.