Gluten Free Tartlets filled with Hot Smoked Salmon and Whipped Cream Cheese are perfect as an appetizer, canapés and for parties. Easy to hold in the hand, they make a deliciously fresh and flavoursome finger food.
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First published 30th December 2014… Updated 28th December 2022
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Perfect for parties… Gluten Free Tartlets with Hot Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
These Gluten Free Tartlets with hot smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese are one of my favourite gluten free appetizers. Easy to hold in the hand and small enough to eat in one or two bites, they are a perfect offering for parties, buffets and gatherings. The mini canapé tart cases create a crisp basket to carry a little lightly whipped cream cheese and a ‘meaty’ bite of ‘Hot’ Smoked Salmon.
The fresh creaminess of the cheese and smokiness of the fish are paired with a tiny sprig of dill, some black pepper and optional lemon. The slight hint of aniseed earthiness from the dill freshens the palate… And the grind of black pepper and drizzle of lemon waken the taste buds, cutting through the natural oiliness of the salmon.
Pop these Salmon Tartlets on a tray at a party and they’ll be gone in a flash… And I can promise that it won’t just be the Coeliacs and gluten avoiders that devour them.
Appetizers and canapés for gluten free eaters and Coeliacs
If you are Coeliac, you will know that finding good, safe gluten free appetizers and canapés is no mean feat. So it’s always a good thing to have a few easy recipes up your sleeve. But while gluten free tartlets (whether filled with salmon and cream cheese or something else) are ideal, we also have a few other options at Gluten Free Alchemist…
- Cheese-Stuffed Mini Peppers and Chillies
- Sun-Dried Tomato, Walnut & Parmesan Puff Pastry Swirls
- Gluten Free Blinis
- Mini Toad in the Hole
- Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
- Puff Pastry Party Bites
- Toast Appetizers (Party Bruschetta)
- Gluten Free Breadsticks with Caramelised Onion Hummus
- Gluten free Mini Quiche of several varieties
- Zucchini Roll Ups (Courgette Sushi)
What’s the best gluten free pastry for making salmon tartlets?
There’s no right or wrong pastry for making gluten free tartlets. The most important thing is that the pastry dough is flexible enough to mould into mini tart tins, cooks crisp, doesn’t crumble on lifting (an unfortunate characteristic of many gluten free pastries) and can be blind-baked. The last point is important, because the pastry for these gluten free tartlets is filled with cold cream cheese and smoked salmon.
I recommend using a good, trustworthy recipe. I use my very versatile gluten free shortcrust pastry recipe which handles well and can stand up to various additions and flavour options (sweet or savoury). For these particular gluten free tartlets, I mostly use it plain, although occasionally, I add a little finely grated Parmesan Cheese (about 35g) to the mix. This offers a delightfully savoury, alternative cheesy backdrop that totally complements the salmon and whipped cream cheese.
Although (for obvious reasons) I use gluten free pastry to make my tartlets… The recipe works just as well with standard wheat pastry. There is nothing clever about the filling that makes the recipe for ‘gluten free people only’.
Do I have to use Hot Smoked Salmon to make these tartlets?
I love using Hot Smoked Salmon to fill gluten free tartlets… It has an incredible smoky flavour, yet is robust in texture and makes a change from standard sliced smoked salmon.
Confusing though it is, Hot Smoked Salmon (which usually comes as chunky fillets found in the chiller aisle) is not generally hot when it is eaten. Its name comes from the way it is smoked… at a higher temperature. This gives it a smokier taste and a more ‘cooked’ appearance. Its depth of flavour and darker hue is beautifully inviting and quite eye-catching sat on top of smoothly whipped cream cheese.
But of course, this is just my take on gluten free salmon tartlets… And yes, it’s fine to use cold salmon of any other type… Be it the typically sliced smoked salmon or alternative unsmoked fillets that have been cooked (baked, fried or poached) and allowed to cool.
Variations on a theme Gluten Free Tartlets served your way…
When making savoury gluten free tartlets however, there are many other options as well. The mini tart cases are just the carrier for the filling. So feel free to make them your way. A few filling possibilities are:
- Cream cheese with cold ham, or anything else
- Homemade Houmous
- Egg mayonnaise and cress (and maybe a little slice of bacon, sausage or a meaty fried mushroom)
- Basil Pesto with a cube of cold chicken
- Zucchini Roll Ups (courgette sushi)
- Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts (maybe halved and sat on a small piece of halloumi or bacon) with a dash of lemon…
- Feta with tomato or olive and oregano
- Authentic Guacamole and a small strip of bacon
- Brie or Camembert paired with sun dried tomato, pear or apple
- Baba Ganoush topped with a coriander leaf
- Baked into Mini Quiches
- With fig and Prosciutto
The permutations and variations are honestly endless!
Why whip the cream cheese when making Salmon Tartlets?
Although in theory, you can just spoon cream cheese as it comes into the mini tart cases, I would absolutely recommend that you whip it first. In fact… I go one stage further and whip mine with a spoon of crème fraîche as well. Why? Because it makes the cream cheese smoother, lighter and the ideal texture for off-setting the richness of the hot smoked salmon. In short… Your gluten free tartlets will be more delicious and less ‘weighty’ on the palate.
Making gluten free tartlets… Tips for perfect pastry cases
Making gluten free tartlets is as easy as pie! If you are not used to pastry making, the fact that mini tarts use smaller pieces of pastry makes them an ideal place to start getting a feel for gluten free pastry. But whether you are a novice or a fully-honed pastry baker, a few tips are always worth knowing…
- Don’t overwork the pastry dough. This starts with not over-kneading (particularly important with gluten free pastry)… Once the pastry has been brought together into a dough ball and allowed to hydrate, it is ready to use.
- For gluten free tartlets… Roll and cut from smaller pieces of pastry dough to avoid the off-cuts being brought back together and re-rolled too many times… And to limit the risk of over-drying.
- Use mini tart tins (canapé moulds) that allow for bite-size tartlets… It’s even better if the tin comes with a wooden ‘tamper’ that fits the holes. I use a Masterclass Non-Stick Mini Tart Tray.
- Cut out circles using a round cookie cutter (plain or fluted) that fits the tartlet moulds snuggly (and without coming above the top). This will make your gluten free tartlets neater and the pastry easier to handle. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, use a carefully-sized rim of a glass.
- Place each rolled dough circle flat and central over the top of the hole in the mould and use either a pastry tamper, the end of a small rolling pin or your fingers to gently ease the pastry into the tin. Smooth any bumps, but try to avoid ‘stretching’ the dough out of shape.
Blind-baking Mini Tartlet Cases
Regardless of the filling, your mini tartlet cases will need to be blind-baked and cooled. When making large tarts, it is always advisable to blind-bake the case filled with baking beans. However, for mini tarts, this is not necessary.
Before you bake tartlet cases however, it is still important to chill them in the fridge for half hour or so… Then use a fork to prick a few holes in the base of each (this will help stop the pastry rising and lifting when baking), and pop in the oven until golden.
Getting ahead… Can I make Gluten Free Tartlets with salmon and cream cheese in advance?
Yes. Gluten Free Tartlets are perfect for making ahead… But it is worth working in stages and with separate elements to allow the baked pastry to cool and for the filling to be as fresh and as tantalising as possible. This is my best advice…
- Make and bake the pastry cases up to a week ahead and store them in an airtight container (at room temperature) until ready to fill.
- Whip the cream cheese and crème fraîche up to a day in advance and store (chilled) in an airtight container or a covered bowl in the fridge. Give it a stir before filling the tartlets, to loosen.
- Cut the salmon only when ready to eat (on the day of serving). That way it won’t become dry in appearance. Fill your gluten free tartlet cases with a teaspoon of whipped cream cheese and top with a chunk of salmon, a small sprig of dill and a grind of black pepper.
Ready to make Gluten Free Tartlets with smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese?
The recipe for my Gluten Free Tartlets with smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese is just below (scroll a little further)… I’ve included the recipe I use for the pastry. If you are new to pastry making, I would suggest heading over to the original Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry Recipe post, as it includes a step-by-step guide to help you.
If you make my gluten free tartlets (whatever you fill them with) do let me know. I love hearing how and where my recipes are used when they leave my kitchen and land in yours! You can leave a comment at the bottom of the post, e-mail me or message me via social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest).
For lots more savoury pastry and pie inspiration, we have a yummy dedicated index for Gluten Free Pastry Recipes… And for everything else, the main Gluten Free Recipe Index is the best place to start.
All shared with my love, for free
Gluten Free Tartlets with Hot Smoked Salmon and Whipped Cream Cheese
- flat table knife
- pastry blender optional
- sharp knife
Shortcrust Pastry (with optional cheese)
- 220 g gluten free flour blend I use GFA rice free Blend B – See NOTES
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp fine sea salt (for savoury pastry) OR 1 tbsp icing sugar (for sweet pastry)
- 55 g unsalted butter cold and very small-cubed (or dairy free block alternative)
- 55 g lard/Trex cold and very small-cubed
- 35 g Parmesan cheese finely grated – Optional
- 1 large egg UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 2 tbsp very cold water (up to 2½ if more needed)
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Filling
- 250 g Philadelphia cream cheese approx
- 3 tbsp crème fraîche
- 270 g hot smoked salmon 3 fillets – approx
- a couple of sprigs of fresh dill
- freshly ground black pepper
- lemon (optional)
Shortcrust Pastry Dough
- Weigh the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a large bowl and mix together until evenly combined.
- Add the butter and lard/Trex (both cut into very small cubes) to the bowl.
- Rub the fat the into the flour mixture using finger tips or a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add and stir through the finely grated Parmesan cheese (if using).
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tbsp of very cold water and then pour into the crumb mixture.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the crumb mixture using a table knife until it begins to clump together.
- At this stage, set the dough aside (at room temperature unless in a very warm room/climate, in which case, refrigerate) to rest for 10 to 20 minutes. This will enable the dough to fully absorb the liquid.
- Once 'rested', start to bring the dough together with hands. If the dough feels very dry, add a little more very cold water (a tiny bit at a time) and work it into the dough with the knife. If it feels very sticky, add a tiny sprinkle more flour and work through with hands.
- Bring the mixture together and press into a ball.
- If not using immediately, wrap and refrigerate. And when ready to use, take from the fridge, bring to room temperature and knead very lightly to enable it to become 'rollable'.
Making the tartlet cases and blind-baking
- Dust the work surface (or a large sheet of baking paper) and the rolling pin with corn starch/gluten free flour.
- Cut off about a quarter of the pastry dough ready to roll and wrap the rest in baking paper of cling film to prevent it drying out.
- Roll the pastry dough to a thickness of about 3 to 4 mm.
- Using either a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass the right size for the tartlet moulds, cut rounds and carefully ease them into the mould holes by hand or with the help of a pastry tamper.
- Continue this process until you have about 24 tartlet moulds or the pastry has been used.
- Place the tartlet tin in the fridge for half an hour to chill before baking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5.
- Prick the base of each tartlet case with a fork 2 to 3 times.
- Blind bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry cases are golden and dried.
- Once baked, remove the cases from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tins.
Filling the tartlets
- Whisk the cream cheese with the crème fraîche until light and smooth.
- Cut the hot smoked salmon into small bite-sized pieces.
- Spoon about a teaspoon of cream cheese filling into each tartlet case.
- Top with a piece of salmon.
- Sprinkle with a grind of black pepper and a small sprig of fresh dill.
- Serve with optional lemon on the side as preferred.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 24 hours.
© 2019-2024 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist