feta tapenade tarte soleil Recipes

feta tapenade tarte soleil

Fully preoccupied with coming up with fun new shapes for my favorite cookie a few weeks ago, I went deep into a YouTube cooking show rabbit hole and emerged somewhere in France, where a twisted pastry that goes by the name tarte soleil stopped me in my tracks, and zipped itself right to the top of the Must! Cook! Now! list.


make the red pesto-tapenade-ish filling
roll out

It looks like it would take tweezer-level pastry cheffing to pull off, or at least some advanced mathematics. You’d imagine that this recipe would begin with a bracket of instructions labelled “Day One:” and you’d close the tab immediately. But you, like me, be forgetting that most French home cooking is remarkably simple (intentionally leaving the souffles and quenelles for the white tablecloth-ed establishments) and if you can find puffed pastry worth eating in the freezer case and leave it in the fridge overnight, you could be bringing this to a party an hour later. Trust me, I leave everything to the last minute and still got this out of the oven and digitally recorded with available light before the sun set at approximately 3:22 p.m. yesterday.

cut into a circle
spread the filling
dab with water at edges to seal
cutting the rays
twist, twist, twist
brush with egg wash
feta, cream cheese, lemon juice, olive oil

Which is the other reason this, to me, is the fitting-est thing to make this week as it’s both great party food (you get to grab those radiant beams by the crunchy ends and sweep them through a bowl of whipped lemony feta before chomping down, yess) and an upbeat celebration of the sun itself, which as of last week’s solstice, we’re finally going to see more of again as we tilt towards the light.

yoink!
dipped in whipped feta

One year ago: Roasted Grape and Olive Crostini
Two years ago: Gingerbread Snacking Cake and Rum Campari Punch
Three years ago: Fromage Fort
Four years ago: Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs
Five years ago: Crescent Jam and Cheese Cookies and Milk Punch
Six years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata and Pear Bread
Seven years ago: Braised Beef Short Ribs
Eight years ago: A Blue Cheese Iceberg Wedge and Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles
Nine years ago: Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars and Oven Ribs, Even Better
1.5 Years Ago: Cherry Almond Dutch Baby
2.5 Years Ago: Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw and Peach and Pecan Sandy Crumble
3.5 Years Ago: Triple Berry Buttermilk Bundt and Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime and Mint
4.5 Years Ago: Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes

Feta Tapenade Tarte Soleil
Inspired by a whole bunch of YouTube videos; the feta dip is from Ina Garten

I texted a picture of this to a friend yesterday and she said her husband “thought it was chocolate was getting in the car to come over” which seems like a good time to note the obvious: you could fill your puffed pastry sheets with anything you desire, so long as it’s spreadable and not too runny. On the savory end, I made a pesto-tapenade-ish blend of sundried tomatoes (because the 80s are back), kalamata olives, oregano and garlic and a dip of whipped feta that you could not possibly go wrong with. For a more subtle flavor, basil pesto or another garlic-herb paste, plus or minus some sharp cheese, this walnut pesto or pretty much anything else you can dream up would likely work well here too. Should you want to make a sweet version, perhaps jam, Nutella, melted chocolate, almond or another nut paste, and a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar or chopped nuts (with or without a puddle of dark chocolate ganache to dip it in) might be fun places to start.

My puffed pastry packages were 1 pound each; my usual favorite brand (DuFour) comes in 14-ounce packages; if yours, too, are smaller, you’ll probably only get a 10 to 11-inch round out of it and might have a tablespoon or two of filling leftover. Btw, I added 1 tablespoon parsley leaves to my filling for color, but as is barely noticeable and added little flavor, you can absolutely skip it.

Filling
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves; thyme and rosemary would work too
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil or reserved oil from tomatoes, plus more to loosen if needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

Assembly
2 packages puffed pastry (leave in fridge overnight to thaw)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seeds to sprinkle (optional)

Dip
6 ounces feta, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese, cold is fine
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarse or kosher salt, to taste (changed from 1/2 teaspoon, which could be overkill if your feta is very salty)
Freshly ground black pepper

Make the filling: Blend ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped and spreadable. Mixture will be thick. You can thin it with more olive oil if needed, but no need to make this thin like a sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble the tart: Roll first package puffed pastry flat on a large piece of parchment paper or reusable baking mat into a 12-inch circle; use a 12-inch round plate or bowl to mark the size for a clean cut. Repeat with second dough, setting one aside in the fridge until needed.

Place first round on a parchment- or nonstick mat-lined baking sheet. Spread with filling to all but 1-inch from edge. Dab edges with water and place second round on top. Set a small glass upside down in the middle. Being careful not to cut through parchment paper or baking mat, cut away from glass (i.e. not through center) in quarters, or at the 3-, 6-, 9- and 12 o’clock marks. Cut through each quarter again, making 8 strips, and again, making 16 strips, and one last time so that you have 32 “rays” of pastry emanating from the center. If at any point in the cutting the pastry feels annoyingly soft and hard to cut, just pop the tray in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it back up.

Remove glass. Place finger near center of each ray (where it is most likely to break off prematurely) and gently twist each strand a few times. Beat egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; brush it over pastry and sprinkle with seeds, if desired.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown all over.

Meanwhile, make whipped feta dip: Blend all filling ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Place in bowl for dipping.

Remove tart from oven, let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a serving platter. Tear off rays of sun, dip in whipped feta; repeat as needed.

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177 comments on feta tapenade tarte soleil

  1. Hi Deb! This looks so great! I’m wondering about making this ahead of time. Can it be assembled and stored before being baked? Or would it be best to bake it ahead of time and then stored? Maybe a quick trip to the oven to re-warm it?

    1. Kristen — The latter. I’d bake it and gently rewarm it before serving. It’s also just fine at room temperature, just maybe a little more dynamic/nuanced in flavor when warm.

  2. That’s absolutely extraordinary! Thank you for demystifying puff pastry. I can’t wait to try this for New Year’s Eve! Thank so much. I owe a lot of my new found love of kitchen creating to you Deb, your readers and everything that is Smitten Kitchen. Thank you for making my world more delicious! Happy New Year!

  3. I love this. It reminds me of something I saw on the Great British Baking Show (which is the most utterly enjoyable, charming, good-hearted reality competition I’ve ever seen).

  4. Deb – and if you do make it in advance as you suggested, should it be stored at room temperature, covered, or in the fridge until re-warming? Looks AMAZING!

  5. Looks amazing and I cant help feeling that this would be badass with a sweet nutty filling and finished off with a honey suryp (not too much) to make a baclava-inspired (calm down, I said ‘inspired’, not actual baclava) wheel of happiness.

    My brain is also playing with some sort of chestnut remonce filling with a dark bitter chocolate dipping sauce.

    Either way – will be making both savoury and sweet versions of this and take all the credit :-D

  6. So is the circle in the center after all the rays are pulled off some kind of party prize or cook’s treat? This looks so delicious, easy, and FUN!

  7. This is beautiful! And has me thinking about the pull apart rugelach recipe you posted over Chanukah. I made it with dried cherries and it was a massive hit with the chocolate bits. Seems like this could be a contender for another shape for pull apart rugelach too! Maybe smaller rounds so the wedges are shorter. So many ideas!

  8. I make a sweet pastry all the time, which is very similar. My family calls it poinsettia coffee cake. I make a danish-type pastry dough and layer in a filling (brown sugar and butter with walnuts, or a delicious cream cheese and orange filling my sister developed) then twist. Its always a hit, and easy for everyone to pull of a twist of their own to enjoy. I’ll have to try this savory option…

  9. Wow, I had to save this right away for this not only looks pretty awesome but combines two of my favourite ingredients: feta and olives. Wonderful recipe, thanks for sharing!

  10. Deb – this is beautiful and the dip would be great with veggies on its on. Love this! Also may I also add that I love getting your newsletter, I was sick for the holiday and your newsletter was a nice treat and made me smile. I love receiving it
    Also I checked with my Jewish husband and he never heard or has had latkes that were run through a blender. I wish my motherinlaw was alive, Rozzies reaction would be priceless we are a shred and squeeze all the water out of the potatoes family.
    May this year bring much love, peace and happiness to you and your beautiful family.

  11. Your “rabbit holes” are our best luck! This is FABULOUS looking, and seems do-able. Two of your wonderful hallmarks. Thank you for making my New Years Eve something to anticipate, rather than dread ( I’m not getting any younger…)and I concur about the Newsletter. It is just the right length and I have found several great recipes from the archives which I might have otherwise missed. The “Surprise Me” key is my favorite. That was/is absolute genius.

  12. Oh, this is so gorgeous. I want to have already made this to celebrate the winter solstice. Since I can’t travel through time, I’ll have to settle for celebrating the new year.

  13. Ooohhh!! Looks amazing. I’ll make this for the girls for my daughters birthday party tomorrow with Nutella. Do you think the egg wash would work with the sweetness or should a brushing of butter be better?

  14. Sorry – love your site, don’t comment but could not pass the ref to equinox. It’s a solstice, not an equinox. Equinox – equal times of sun and dark. Solstice – least or most light.

  15. Just in time for a special party! Thanks!

    Plus, I’m thinking of a chocolate one with some finely minced nuts, served warm along with individual bowls of ice cream. Yum!

  16. Amazing that something that looks so complicated turns out to be fairly straight forward. I can only bet that you were happy and relieved that it turned out so well. Thanks for sharing your masterpiece! Happy New Year!

  17. Thank you for the other filling suggestions! Olives are the one thing I really don’t like, and it makes me so sad. I may just have to put this together for NYE!

  18. Equinox, solstice — Right! Now fixed. (Related: I should sleep more.)

    DuFour — I forgot to mention that it’s really quite expensive (small batch, best ingredients, all that). It tastes, to me, otherworldly but that doesn’t mean if you have another brand you’ve been using and are content with, you shouldn’t use that here. There are many other strong flavors to carry this.

    To make this ahead — I’d go ahead and bake it and then perhaps gently rewarm it before serving. It’s also fine at room temperature.

    Round baking dish — This is actually a cast-iron pizza pan (!) I bought eons ago from Lodge; always forget I have it. (Because it’s shoved under a piece of furniture in the living room, if we’re being honest.) You can find it on Amazon.

  19. Hi Deb- is halving this an option? We are celebrating a small New Years with just our family and this looks like it will make a lot! Should I attempt smaller circles from 1 sheet of puff pastry?

  20. Looks amazing! And I was just thinking what to make new year’s eve… Problem solved! And it’s always good to see pictures of your beautiful kids too :)

  21. This will be awesome to make later this week. I am definitely making half a recipe because though your photos look gorgeous, it would be too much for two people. Especially with soup!

  22. This looks like a savory version of King Arthur’s Cinnamon Star Bread that I have had earmarked for a couple of weeks. By earmarked, I mean the page is turned down in their catalog. :) You must check it out.

  23. I thought this was chocolate too – it is beautiful! Please do consider making a round two and giving us ideas for making it sweet. Thank you – I love this!!

  24. I’ve seen variations of this all over Facebook lately; most recently with Nutella in the middle!

    Yours, however, is by far the prettiest and easiest. The others I’ve seen do start with making dough. I much prefer puff pastry!

  25. I saw the King Arthur Flour Cinnamon Star Bread, too. (The recipe is available online as well as in the catalog.)

    The adjacent segments are twisted in opposite directions; the counter-rotating twists give it a slightly different, in my opinion ‘fancier’, look. But you would have to be sure to cut an even number of segments and always do the same number of twists to make it work.

  26. I’d love to make this tomorrow night–but don’t have puff pastry currently in the freezer. Do you think it could thaw throughout the day? Alternatively, what do you suggest using if thawed puff pastry is unavailable? Thinking pie dough possibly…

  27. Bread and spread. What’s not to like.

    It looks really bright (golden) cheery and inviting. I love the dusting of salt and parsley.

    It’s like the most “adult” pretzel.

    Cheers to you and yours.

    GK

  28. Stunning!
    And can also be vegan if you use tofu for the dip, and vegan puff pastry (my Lidl puff pastry is vegan!)
    Happy 2016 Smitten!

  29. Gorgeous! I am a fan of DuFour as well, pretty much the only commercially available puff pastry made with butter not shortening. It is so beautiful, adding this to my NY’s Eve menu. Thanks!

  30. I’m actually in New York City to watch the ball drop but now can’t wait to get back to Toronto to make this and all the awesome variations. I’m thinking this will be perfect for the Super Bowl. Thanks and Happy New Years!

  31. Deb, I must tell you I read every one of your posts for the writing along, even if I’m not interested in making the dish — and that’s said as a novelist-in-training! Yours is absolutely the best food (and living) blog there is. Happy New Year! (And I didn’t even notice the “equinox” reference, even though I’m a pedant too. ;-)

  32. Love having another recipe to use puff pastry. It is such a great product. This looks like it will be fun to make and present to guest. Boy, are they in for a treat. Thank you so much.

  33. Deb, this looks amazing! I’m pretty sure this twisting technique is going to meet the recipe for your beer, mustard and cheese pullapart bread. I hope the two will live happily ever after at my house :)

  34. I would love to make this for a NYE party, but the hostess doesn’t like cheese (Crazy, I know). Any suggestions for an alternative dip? I am not remotely creative in the kitchen; I merely follow (generally, your) great recipes.

  35. Two questions: I don’t like olives, but I do love sun dried tomatoes. I nsomething like a chicken recipe, I sub capers in for the olives, but I think that would be too briny here? Any suggestions about what else I could combine with the tomatoes?

    I have a pizza stone, but it doesn’t have a lip. Could I use that as my baking pan?

    Thanks!

  36. Wowzer!
    Problem: olive allergy. :-/
    Question: can u suggest alternative filling(s) that would have the same impact in this awesome looking dish???
    Pleeeease?

  37. Trader Joe’s has a really nice puff pastry which they usually stock around the holidays. It is made with butter and costs a lot less than DuFour. I stock up when appears in their freezer case.
    The tart looks divine.

  38. This is visually stunning! And in addition to sounding great as written, it looks so customizable! BTW, for anyone living near a Wegman’s Supermarket, their private label brand of puff pastry is also all butter, just like Dufour, but it’s less expensive. It’s great quality and I suspect it might even be made by Dufour. The end results are indistinguishable.

  39. Hi Deb,

    Very impressive/pretty!

    Btw, I just read a beautiful new book by author/poet Susan
    Musgrave – A Taste of Haida Gwaii, Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World. She references you and your cookbook a couple of times – “Deb’s astoundingly awesome recipes.” Nice!

    I hope to visit Haida Gwaii one day (my brother and sister in law said it was an amazing place). I do manage yearly trips to NYC.

    You cookbook is well stocked and displayed in Canadian bookstores.

    Cheers from the Canadian Prairies,
    Trevor

  40. Deb, I just made a Christmas tree with pesto filling using the same method. It came from a French website and showed up on my Facebook page two weeks ago. It was a great hit at Christmas. Here’s the site: http://www.demotivateur.fr/food
    Looking forward to making this one and the dip sounds great.

  41. NYTimes published a quick and easy puff pastry recipe by Samantha Senviratne that is sensational. I made the pastry dough and tried to make Danish. My filling and fashioning flopped but this is my go to dough from now on.
    Making your recipe for New Years.
    Happy New Year everybody

  42. Just wondering if you’re planning any website updates in the future? For what it’s worth, I’ve been dreaming of nested comments (not sure that’s what they’re called, basically having your reply right under the question, indented) for years… I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes to read through your replies before making a dish, to scout for any additional helpful tips. But with the question and the reply separated, I have to scroll down to your reply, then scroll back up and try to find the original question, which is quite time-consuming. Anyways, just a suggestion in case you’re keeping a list of wishes :)

  43. I saw your post yesterday and immediately went out and bought puffed pastry. The only puffed pastry at my grocery store was Pepperidge Farms. It comes with two squares of pastry per package, but each package is a net weight of 1 lb. Do I combine the two to make two pounds of pastry? That seems a little complicated. Does your package only come with one pound square? Maybe I’ll just try using one package. I’m making this for a NYE party tomorrow night. Can’t wait!

  44. So, I saw this posted yesterday and I just had to make it. I was introduced to puff pastry by Ina Garten recipes and have become comfortable using it (not easy stuff to work with but if you know to keep it cool it’s great stuff, right?!). Anyway, I made this yesterday and it was fantastic. Nothing left and that was only myself and my husband eating it! Ha! The dip is great too! Thank you for getting me out of my cooking funk! I’ve needed something inspiring to get me back in the kitchen (it’s been a few weeks…).

  45. Dorie Greenspan has something similar with the “tasty thing sandwiched between puff pastry” but she used a strong grainy mustard, and I’ve done a psuedo-French onion version with caramelized onions, grated gruyere, and a little thyme. This looks much prettier (and easier) though! And seconding the TJ’s puff pasrty!

  46. Do you think this could assembled and then frozen? Then could you bake for a little longer directly from the freezer? Because, if so, that would AH-MAZING!

  47. For those who want to try their hand at making puff pastry, the Fanny Farmer cookbook has a recipe for a simplified version that, IMHO, results in a product that is the equal of “real” puff pastry and MUCH cheaper than DuFour.

  48. Literally salivating here.. I actually whimpered a little when I saw the photos – totally pinned to my Must Make list, and plan on making this the moment I’m back in a country with feta and puff pastry and other such wonders in its grocery stores. So beautiful, creative, and mouth-watering – kudos!

  49. I was just at my local grocery store in Baltimore, and waiting at the puff pastry shelf for another shopper getting puff pastry with olives and feta in his basket!

  50. The only all butter puff pastry I can get here in Japan is 20cm x 20cm square. Roughly 8 in x 8 in. But there are 3 sheets in each pack. Should I use all 3 sheets for one layer?? I could most likely roll that out to a really larger size…. This tarte soleil is something I want to try

  51. EA is funny–“whimpered when I saw the photos.” Are you telling me I have to have a party? Anybody over the age of around 10 months would plotz and swoon. Deb, you have reached a whole new level with this one. Would you consider working up some variations such as the one described by Christina, with amounts and any altered instructions? I’m probably not alone in hating olives. Meanwhile I’ll just stare at the picture of yours.

  52. Whaooooo ,this looks so good and so yummy ! Do you think it will work out only with the olives or can I substitute the sundried tomatoes with anything else ? Or do 1/2 a cup of olives and only 1/3 cup of sundried tomatoes ?
    Thanks

  53. I am always in search of a good idea to break out the -good butter- homemade puff pastry! I am glad I’ve found it on your site, again! Aah, the apple mosaic tart…
    This looks very nostalgic and I love your words! Especially; “…(where it is most likely to break off prematurely) and gently twist..”

  54. Brilliant! Of course I had to set to work on a dessert variation: I used rich a yeasted sour cream dough, filled with “homemade nutella”- toasted almonds pureed with chocolate, confectioner’s sugar, butter and a splash of frangelico. One last thing- I made this with three layers of dough and two layers of filling. It is breathtaking! thanks for the inspiration :)

  55. One other person was also confused about this …. the Pepperidge Farms package contains two sheets. You roll them together to form just one of the layers, right? Then two more sheets combined for the second layer? Just want to confirm. Looks beautiful and can’t wait to try it. Thanks.

  56. I’m using homemade puff pastry. I’m wondering how thin each layer should be? My tarte may end up being larger than 12 inches — I want to use all of the dough.

  57. Let me add another voice to the choir. . .your tarte soleil is absolutely gorgeous. I just may have to revise tomorrow’s birthday menu to include it (this would be my preference for the birthday cake). Thank you, and have a most wonderful New Year.

  58. Stephanie & Susan … what did you decide? I have two packages of Pep Farm thawing … not sure whether to somehow combine the two squares and still make one tart with two boxes or make two smaller tarts … decisions … decisions????

  59. Making this now…beware of the salt in the dip! Adding extra salt makes it way too salty, thanks to the already salty feta. Otherwise, I hope I can make this as beautiful as Deb’s!

  60. My tarte is in the oven and it is very beautiful, but I have a question. A one pound box of puff pastry has two packages in it. Is one meant to use these two packages (ie. one pound of puff pastry) or two boxes of puff pastry (ie. 2 pounds…) I did the latter and my tarte is beautiful but taking much more than 30 minutes to cook through. Thanks.

  61. I just made this with the Pepp Farms puff pastry. I just used one box and rolled the sheets out singly–one for top and one for bottom. I haven’t tasted it yet as its for tonights big New Years Eve party, but it does look like Deb’s picture :) (and smells divine!)’

  62. I think I may have overfilled it slightly. It’s pretty, but I could have used less filling.
    BUT…the dip alone is worth the price of admission! It’s like savory ice cream. I am going to make this again for another party in a few weeks & take more care. Thanks Deb!

  63. I just made this… But with some changes. For the filling, I used the walnut pesto recipe you recommended as an alternative, except I subbed toasted almonds for the walnuts. I only had one Pepperidge Farm brand package of puff pastry, so my final size was about half that of yours. Since mine already came rolled out into rectangles, I just used that shape instead of rolling it out into a circle. I still cut it into the recommended 32 rays and twisted. I just pulled it out of the oven for a party tonight, and it looks perfect!! I am not sure if I will have the time to also make the dip, we’ll see, but I will report back on the taste later!

  64. Fun! I used one box of Pepperidge Farm. Rolled each sheet to a 10×10 square. I was going to cut a 10″ circle but I hated the thought of wasting the corners so I made a square version instead. I did 24 “rays” instead of 32 since the size is a bit smaller. My filling is carmelized onions with Swiss cheese and thyme. It looks and tastes great!

  65. Accidentally bought sundried tomato bruschetta instead of sundried tomatoes. It was too sweet, so doctored it up with a ton more of garlic, walnuts, tahini, parsley. I also made a pesto with spinach, tahini, parsely, lime, walnust so will do half tomato, half spinach for seasonal colors.

  66. Made it! Used one box of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, and had enough left over dough and filling to make a nice hand-pie for the husband (so he’ll keep his fingers of the tart until time to serve it!) Added more garlic because that’s what we like. Looks amazing! Good thing I got an extra package of puff pastry, so I can experiment with a 2nd one. Thanks Deb.

  67. Yeah this totally rocked. Totally easy to throw together last minute and make it look like you slaved over something. I had a pepperidge farm brand but only wanted to test out the recipe on the family (of four) so took one sheet, cut it in half. To get it to roll into an even circle, I took each of those halves and folded them to make a square shape then rolled it out and traced out a circle with a plate. For the filling, I used a cinnamon sugar-butter mix. The end result was a mini version that was gobbled up immediately. Totally awesome! So many potential variations. Thank you thank you!

  68. Thanks to you, our New Year’s Eve Tarte Soleil is assembled and happily baking away in the oven. Your recipe, the instructions (thank you for every helpful detail), the photos, this time of year and the thought of bringing this splendid dish to a cocktail party tonight at a friend’s house tipped me over the edge from forever Deb blog lurker and catapulted me into Just Do It Now Grandma. I have been a Smitten Kitchen reader for a long, long time, I read your blog the way a child would read a treasured author’s next book, but this is my first roll up my sleeves and do it moment. As the grandmother of a 2 year old, I rarely have time to bake (says she to the mother of a young boy and an infant oy vey), but beloved grandson is at his other grandparent’s house for the holidays, so I dove right into this recipe. It’s GORGEOUS! It’s going to be delicious, I just know it!

    Note: I used a 1 pound box of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry because it comes with two individual 1/2 pound square sheets of pastry. Rolling each sheet out seemed to work pretty well for me in assembling the beautiful tart. I used the scraps of leftover pastry to try out different fillings – pesto, artichoke tapenade. I am sure it would be delicious just plain, but your original filling is so sunny, I think it’s perfect. I also sharpened a knife to make perfect cuts – having a good sharp knife and a big cookie sheet for baking it helps.

    And, since this is my first (and maybe only) post, let me thank you now, thank you for all your writing, your endearing, humble sense of humor and your warm sense of the human condition. Because of you, we are a community of better people. You are a treasure, a gift to all of us. May you have the Happiest of New Years, and peace, health and joy be with you and your family.

  69. Adding a second note that the salt in the dip for all but the least salty feta is possibly entirely unnecessary — I ended up adding extra cream cheese to account for how salty it was.

    I’m also curious about whether baking the tarte in a rimless dish, like your pizza maker, allows for more even browning. Mine, baked in a standard sheet pan, was browned on the tallest surfaces but remained a little pale (though still delicious) in crevices.

    Making it again tomorrow for a party, actually — going to try baking it on an upside-down baking sheet!

  70. Love this recipe and a definite keeper! I brought it to a New Year’s party. I didn’t realize the party was catered (caviar, lamb, sushi, the works) and this dish was a huge hit. I was shy to bring it (new neighbors), but everyone loved it. They were stunned at the presentation and asked if I was a chef. I said, “No. I found this recipe on my favorite Web site and I can follow directions.” I’ve never worked with puff pastry and found the cutting and twisting a challenge for me. In the end it all worked out and the result was stunning. I omitted the garlic and sesame seeds because I didn’t have it on hand. I would have taken the extra dip home, but then I watched some guy TRIPPLE DIP! It was that good! Another keeper Deb!

  71. Made this last night for my NYE party-followed recipe exactly. Everyone was impressed not only with presentation, but the taste was fab! Gonna make another today for the next gathering….hmmm, should I try a sweet version?

  72. I made this for our small New Year’s Eve party. It was delicious and more than one person was surprised that I actually made it myself–it really looks like something from a specialty bakery. Love the feta dip too! I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  73. Made these this morning!! A few notes: I agree 100% about the dip being too salty- I, too, had to cut it with much more creat cheese and olive oil to make it palatable. That being said it is to DIE for. I made these (one as written, the second with a spinach/artichoke filling) on two round pizza stones covered in parchment at 375, having worked with puff pastry before it didn’t brown properly at 350. My only other note is that the oil in the sundried tomato version began to seep out as opposed to the spinach one which had far less oil so I will probably eliminate the added oil in the tomato version next time. All that said they are beautiful and delicious!!!!

  74. I just made something similar for my family’s Christmas dinner, but I used a quick dough with milk and sour cream. I made it two days ahead and it was SO dry. Should have used puff pastry!

  75. I made this last night and it was delicious but didn’t look nearly as nice as the photo which was disappointing. My puff pastry puffed too much, especially at the ends and the filling seeped out of the edges and it just looked a bit messy. I will make it again and try to pinch the ends together more. I also read every comment before I started but then forgot the warnings about the salt in the whipped feta when I made it so the dip was a little salty. All that said it was very tasty, my guests loved it and I will definitely make it again.

  76. This was wonderful and really very easy! I used scissors to make the cuts and it worked like a breeze – lots of dip left over so I guess I’ll have to make another one ;)

  77. I made this for New Year’s Day and it was a huge hit! The family has already informed me that they expect I will make this for every get-together. My sun-dried tomatoes weren’t packed in oil and we didn’t miss the extra oil. A little left-over grated Parmesan I had on hand made its way into the tapenade and was a tasty addition. The dip was to die for and we used the extra for raw veggies. This is the BEST new recipe I’ve tried in the last year. Thanks, Deb!

  78. Thanks for another great recipe. I made this to take to a friends house in Mallorca. It looks great, was easy to do and it went down so well…local Mallorcans are very biased to like anything olive based anyway. Apart from the hilarious and nearly fatal moment when the fresh baked cirque de soleil fell onto the floor from the back seat of the car, (as apparently I was driving too fast on the back lane, cough)…but it even survived in tact and I swore the husband to secrecy,so ended up a success despite all odds. Here easy to buy 230g puff pastry rounds at supermarkets, about 10 inches across, so made it even easier. Can’t wait to try with a different twist, pesto, or gruyere and parmesan. The dip makes a generous amount, but loved too.

  79. This was super tasty! I made it for some friends to come over and meet my new baby (I developed an intense love for sun-dried tomatoes during pregnancy) and they scraped every last bit off the parchment paper. I sprinkled chopped almonds on top instead, since I didn’t have sesame seeds. I will make this again for sure. Thank you!

  80. Confession #1: The main reason I am super excited to make this recipe is because I want to eat most of it myself. Confession #2: For years I’ve tried to like both feta cheese and goat cheese, but I just don’t. What would you recommend as a substitute for the feta in this recipe? Deb? Anyone?

  81. Thanks, Deb. When your site was down I was in minor panic mode this past week–such is my reliance on you! HNY to you and all the Perelmans!
    O.k., can I tell you I’ve been waiting for you to audition a home-made puff pastry? Ridiculous of course to ask of a mother of small children…so ignore this please.
    Final two things–just a thanks to you; you’ve made my life more gracious with your recipes and kitchen wisdom;
    –a friend of mine just got engaged and turned to me for cooking advice. I told her to start reading your blog! That’s how I earned my reputation as a great cook.

  82. OMG I just went down the exact same rabbit hole looking at these things online. Neither myself nor my mother had heard of tarte soleil before! I will be making this pronto.

  83. Genuis! Tomorrow is Epiphany, which in France is celebrated with a Galette des rois – a puff pastry tart filled with frangipane and small trinket hidden inside. I’m thinking a happy marriage of the two might be in order :)

  84. I will so make this next time we have company – can’t wait. Thanks for the recipe.

    Your kids are absolutely beautiful!

  85. Apologies for the comment delay; fell very far behind with the weekend downtime and still catching up.

    Re, if your package has two sheets — I suppose different brands are packed differently but my 1 pound boxes had 1 package in each; I hadn’t even realized there were other ways! You could roll them together into something larger, or make two half-sized tarts.

    Re, the salt in the whipped feta — I can see (now) how this would be a problem. I used a pretty creamy, mild Bulgarian feta that’s our favorite but forgot that most other fetas are more salty. Will make a note; apologies to anyone who found it inedible. (And here I thought Ina, whose recipe that is, was infallible!)

    BS — Mine was perhaps 1/8-1/4-inch thick, i.e. a normal thin thickness.

    Pretzel version — I’m pretty much dead at the thought of this, no matter how hackneyed that phrase is. I can’t believe my brain didn’t go there. Someone people make it and tell us about it?

    If you haven’t defrosted your puffed pastry — I’d leave it out for 15 to 20 at room temperature and then gently roll it, just a little at a time, avoiding cracks. I haven’t done this with puffed pastry, but I have with too-cold cookie dough and the like and hope it would work.

    Browning — It could be the baking pan, or you might just give it a few minutes extra. The color largely will come from the egg wash; without it, it will taste the same but it will be hard to get glossy and bronzed without overbaking it.

    Trevor — No way! Thanks for the heads up.

  86. Hi Deb, this looks great!

    I’m not a huge fan of olives but everything about this recipe calls to me. Any suggestions/ideas for an olive alternative/substitute?

  87. Deb, I made this for NYE and it was probably one of my favorite recipes of yours that was quick, easy, tasty, and stunning! I used 1.5 pounds total (3 half-pound sheets)– TJ’s puff pastry comes in a 1lb box containing two sheets, so I rolled 1.5 sheets together to get it just big enough for a 12 in circle. I used crumbled feta rather than block feta, and while I’m normally incredibly sensitive to salt levels, I found it salty but not overly so. Not sure if this is because other block fetas are in a bit of brine? Anyway, thanks for the awesome recipe!

  88. I made this for our NYE party and it was beautiful and delicious. So quick and easy, too. I used Pepperidge Farms puff pastry and used the two sheets inside a box to make one tart. The sheets unroll out of the box to about 11 inches, so I just rolled them a smidge and didn’t worry about the exact dimensions. The possibilities for filling this are endless and it was fun to pull off and eat.

  89. This is so spectacular! I plan on making this for my coworkers for a special pick-me-up in February – once they are less stringent about their New Year’s healthy eating plans ;) Is that bad of me? Too bad. They will totally appreciate this :)

  90. I can’t wait to make this as listed with your delicious ingredients, but I did make as a dessert. I used several rugelach recipes to develop a chocolate walnut filling (no cream cheese). It was so beautiful and delicious. Every bit gone! Thank you.

  91. @Margaret, comment 140 – would you mind sharing the chocolate/walnut filling recipe? I’m not good at coming up with the right proportions for ingredients and that filling is the kind I would want to use. :)

  92. Magnificent!

    As for the advanced mathematics, it’s a bonus that none are required to make the tart, especially given the cogent and clear instructions. However, the resulting pattern in the photo of the finished product reminded me not so much of the sun, but rather the seed head in a sunflower. As it happens, the pattern in the seed head follows the Fibonacci sequence, as do many other patterns in nature.

    At the URL I have given (not my website) click on the Seed heads link to see how this applies to the sunflower – and how the pattern is reflected in the tart.

  93. Hi Deb, thanks for the advice re: making it in advance. I’ve never made anything like this so can you please advise whether it would be ok to warm up 24 hours later?
    Thanks,
    Rach

  94. I just made this to bring to a dinner party as the hostess asked me to bring an appetizer….I almost feel like a show off arriving with this beauty!
    As for those who can’t get DuFour ( I was too lazy to drive to Whole Foods). I used 3 sheets of Pepperidge Farm…1/1/2 for each piece and it worked out just fine, made a generous 12″ tarte and no seams were visible. Next time I’ll only use one sheet for each piece if there are 6 people or less.

  95. I made a sweet version of this today. So easy and looked so fantastic!! Thank you so much for the inspiration.
    The puff pastry I bought was in smaller sheets, so I made three layers (for the Australians, I used normal puff pastry sheets and cut the corners off to make it round).
    For the filling I mixed together cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, a little ground ginger, honey and a couple of spoons of butter. Will try this again using a nut mix as well (like baklava)!!
    It was fantastic for a picnic I went to. It did want to burn on the bottom so I turned the temperature down a little (the melted butter/sugar mix came out a little).

  96. Spectacular! I doubted your “it’s easy” remarks, but you were spot on! I made this exactly by the instructions and it came out fantastic! I’ve made at least 40 recipes of your site and this one goes in my favorites (along with red kidney bean curry and spiced up brownies). The dip was still too salty, so I cut it with about 1/2 cup sour cream. Perfect!

  97. This sounds like it’d be great with muhammara (pomegranate molasses/roasted red pepper/walnut paste). That’s actually what I thought the brick-red pesto spread was at first!!

    Dipped in labneh or drizzled with tahini … mmmmm.

  98. This is beautiful! I had to try it as soon as possible and it tasted amazing! The bottom was a bit soggy though, and the tips of the twists were also a bit soft. Should I perhaps leave in the oven a bit longer? I would very much appreciate any tips for crunchier puff pastry.

    Also, just to say thank you so much for your blog! I really enjoy reading your posts and always learn new tips. I have developed a new-found love for cooking through the recipes you post. Thank you!

  99. This spectacular creation immediately caught my eye and I have shared the recipe with many friends already. I made it for our holiday block party and it was a huge success. Deb, your recommendations regarding preparation are dead on. It makes an absolutely spectacular presentation and I can’t wait to vary the fillings and dipping sauce. Thank you so much for a blue ribbon recipe I’m sure I’ll use until I take my last bite! ;)

  100. Great recipe! I made this and froze after twisting. I brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds before baking. It was perfect!

  101. OMG, the Pepperidge Farms pastry is too small!
    (Rolled it out)
    Oh Heavens, I have to keep popping it back in the freezer!
    Oh darn! some of the joins are splitting!
    Son of a gun, what was I thinking!
    Oh.
    It’s amazing!
    Oh.
    I pulled it off – okay, you promised it could be done easilt and ready in an hour.
    Oh, my Book Club is going to go nuts over this.
    Thanks, Deb.

  102. I made this for our annual joint men’s/women’s book club and it was spectacular! I have to say I have had some bad experiences with puff pastry in the past and when I discovered that my pastry had two packages in the one pound box, I began thinking about what I would bring once this failed. I used just the one pound of pastry and rolled each half into a 12 inch circle with no problem. Everything The result was indeed beautiful in both taste and appearance. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

  103. I haven’t read all the comments, so if someone has already linked this, my apologies for redundancy. But after I read the post, I thought of this recipe I saw several months ago. Have you seen this? Have you tried it? I have the butter to do so, but haven’t made the effort yet. Thought it might surpass the defour brand and save you some money. (That stuff is pricey!) Anyway, just thought I’d link it in case someone else hasnt.
    http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/cakes-tarts/rough-puff-quick-easy-puff-pastry-recipe/

  104. I made two of these last night for a party and everyone went NUTS! I don’t think a single person left without asking how on earth I had done the twists. Minds. Blown. :) And to think it requires no work at all (one of the versions I made was with store-bought pesto, so practically no preparation involved!). Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  105. After making more than 100 SK recipes over the last quasi-decade and being consistently delighted with the results, I confess that I found this one a bit underwhelming. It is gorgeous and was incredibly impressive coming out of the oven for a party over the weekend, but I thought it was a little blah in flavor. I used the DuFour puff pastry, knowing the endeavor was going to be spendy. But I thought the taste to cost ratio was not worth it. Perhaps I’m cheap. However, I want to go swimming in a vat of the dip and never climb out.

  106. I’m confused on the puff pastry. My packages are 17 oz each but contain two dough “slabs.” Am I supposed to use two slabs for the bottom (pressing them together) & two for the top? Or just one for each? If I do just one for each, I will have only used 17 oz in all, which is only 1/2 of what you call for.

    Thanks so much

  107. This is the easiest recipe ever with the best presentation. We made a large one with our pesto and from the scraps I managed a small one with a chocolate-nut mixture (finely ground). They were both so fun and easy to make and really yummy. Thanks!

  108. I made this for a circle supper potluck last night– 8 of us devoured every scrap! I did have a little feta dip left over. I plan to make another batch of the filling this week to use with the scraps of puff pasty– perhaps just a rectangle, spread with the filling and rolled up jelly-roll style then cut in slices? I’m sure I can find a use for any left over tapenade!

  109. Julie – I used the leftover whipped feta as a delicious dip for sliced pears, apples and chips. I also think it would be delicious in scrambled eggs or an omelet, or spread on toast by itself or as a sandwich layer with greens?

  110. This looks awesome! Do you think I could bake it with the cheese already inside? Any suggestions on which cheese to go for (maybe the deep in a different version) or how to modify it easily? Thanks for another great recipe!

  111. Deb, when I made mine, the ‘rays’ of the sun stuck together, and I had to cut them with a knife after baking. I have some theories on why this happened, could pick the ‘most likely culprit’?
    1. I used a pesto+gouda paste. Could the cheese have melted into one another?
    2. Did I maybe not twist the rays often enough?
    3. I prepped the whole thing the night before, took it out in the morning and left it for an hour, egg washed it, then baked it. Was that it?
    4. I had some egg wash left, should I have used it all?

    It tasted great and I got loads of compliments on it, so thank you for yet another fab recipe!

    1. Munich — It could have been any of the above! I had a few stick a little, but I didn’t have a lot of cheese in mine so it wasn’t hard to pull them apart. Maybe one or two I used a thin knife.

  112. Yonit — I think so, the biggest concern would be a greater tendency to either leak or stick the rays together. Would taste wonderful, though.

  113. Making this tomorrow for a dinner party at my home in Haida Gwaii! Susan Musgrave’s cookbook really is a thing of beauty. Come visit us any time :)

  114. Deb, I’m missing something – what are the green leaves in the food processor and sprinkled over the finished product? Fresh oregano? I’m fixing to make this for the weekend and just want to make sure I have everything. First time using Dafour, which made this a pricey appetizer, but it’s the mister’s birthday, so I figured it was only right to splurge!

  115. Leah — Definitely a splurge! But it’s so good. I mentioned in the headnotes “I added 1 tablespoon parsley leaves to my filling for color, but as is barely noticeable and added little flavor, you can absolutely skip it.” I.e. you’ll be fine without it.

  116. I have made my own puff pastry, and tomorrow am making this beauty! I tried to read all the comments but may have missed an answer to this question – has anyone tried making this and then freezing it raw, and baking from frozen the following morning? If so, any tips? I will share how I get on, will freeze overnight and bake Sun morning for a big party, can’t wait to see how it comes out :-)

  117. Update – it was SO easy to prep this in advance, freeze raw, then add the egg wash and bake the following day. It still only took 30 mins from frozen at about 190c. What a great idea, everyone loved it, thanks Deb :-)

  118. I have made this several times. It always gets a great reception. Is easy to do (although not fast) and looks great. I haven’t tried any variations on the filling yet. I have assembled it the day before, left it in the fridge and cooked just before needing to serve.