These pretty little tartlets are best made in early autumn during the grape harvest. Creamy mascarpone cheese is flavored with vanilla and lemon zest, then smeared over buttery puff pastry and topped off with sugared roasted grapes. Roasting the grapes gives them a lovely mellow flavor. This recipe is easily doubled for a crowd.
Roasted Grape Tartlets
1 1/2 lb. (750 g) seedless red grapes
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. sugar
1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 cup (9 oz./280 g) mascarpone cheese
Finely grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Whole milk or heavy cream, if needed
Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C). Have ready 2 rimmed baking sheets.
Spread the grapes on 1 baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the grapes begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Toss the hot grapes with the 2 tsp. sugar. Let cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Line the other baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12-by-14-inch (30-by-35-cm) rectangle. Trim the edges evenly and cut the large rectangle into 6 equal rectangles. Using a fork, prick the pastry all over. Place the rectangles on the prepared baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the mascarpone, lemon zest, the 3 Tbs. sugar, the vanilla and 1/4 tsp. salt; the mixture should be spreadable (if not, stir in a small amount of milk or cream). Dollop about 2 Tbs. of the mascarpone mixture into the center of each pastry rectangle, spreading it almost to the edges.
Bake the pastry rectangles until the pastry is crisp and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pastry to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Place the pastry rectangles on plates and top with the roasted grapes, dividing evenly. Serve immediately. Makes 6 tartlets.