Polenta tartlets with Piccolo tomato, goat's cheese and chives

Whip up a batch of Danny Kingston's Piccolo tomato tartlets for a simple yet delicious canapé. A crispy polenta and Parmesan pastry holds the tomato, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce jam, while a little tangy goat's cheese and chopped chives sprinkled over before serving adds a touch of freshness.

First published in 2018

Canapés should be quick and easy to do. Given that they are served to provide little entertaining bites before a main event, the last thing you want to do is faff about. Yet here I am, about to instruct you to blanch and peel tomatoes. Possibly one of the fiddliest jobs you can do in the kitchen, up there with picking tiny bits of white meat from crabs' legs and whittling down artichokes to near insignificance, just to get at their hearts.

The good news is that for this recipe, you will be using Piccolo tomatoes. Small, round and juicy, they only really need to be steeped in boiled water for a minute. The neatest trick is to then just nick the skin with the tip of a knife, and gently squeeze. The Piccolo will leap out of its jacket.

There is also a touch of the Bloody Mary when it comes to making these tartlets, as celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco go into the mix. You could even add a nip of vodka to the mix, but make sure you stay focused while crumbling the goats' cheese and chopping the chives at the end. Get that out of the way and then the party can really get started.






  • 100g of polenta
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 100g of Parmesan, grated
  • 40g of butter, chilled, cubed
  • 150ml of buttermilk

To serve


  • Food processor
  • Rolling pin
  • 12 hole muffin tin 2
  • Pastry cutter


Begin by making the filling for the tartlets. Place the tomatoes into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 1–2 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Nick the skin with a knife and squeeze – they should easily pop out whole. Roughly chop the tomatoes and reserve to one side
In a saucepan set over a medium heat, warm a splash of oil. Add the shallot and celery, lower the heat and sweat until soft and translucent, for approximately 10–15 minutes
Turn up the heat a touch and add the chopped tomatoes, followed by the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Season with the celery salt, black pepper and sugar. Leave to reduce and thicken, stirring occasionally, until you are left with a jam-like consistency
Next prepare the tartlet cases. Preheat an oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
In a food processor, combine the polenta, flour and Parmesan and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse to create a thick crumb. Finally add the buttermilk, pulsing until you form a rough pasty – make sure not to over-mix as this will make the pastry tough. This can also be done by rubbing together the butter and flours by hand
  • 40g of butter, chilled, cubed
  • 100g of polenta
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 100g of Parmesan, grated
  • 150ml of buttermilk
Bring the pastry into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes
Grease 2 small cupcake tins. Dust your work counter with polenta and roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Using a pastry cutter that is slightly larger than the circumference of the holes in your tin, cut out discs of the pastry and place them over the holes
Gently press down and form a small lip to contain the filling. Prick the base of each tartlet with a fork and bake for 8 minutes, until the pastry is light and golden
Allow to cool, then add about 2 teaspoons of the tomato jam into each tartlet. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes. The pastry should become slightly darker and the jam should set slightly
Once done, allow to slightly cool and gently ease the tartlets out. Place onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature
To serve, crumble over some goat's cheese and top with a sprinkling of finely chopped chives

Danny is a food adventurer, home grower, supper club host and writer of the entertaining and quirky epicurean blog, Food Urchin.

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