Festive Starter for Thanksgiving 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you might want to have a few easy and make-ahead appetizer recipes, like these adorable Masala Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets, up your sleeve before pulling out the centerpiece of your dinner spread! A couple of festive starters along with a delightful holiday drink is the best way to kick off your family feast. 

Masala Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets

Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets

As you might have read through this blog, I host the big family Thanksgiving dinner every year and I love to serve appetizers that are simple to prepare ahead of time, that highlight the season’s bounty and that are sure to have everyone in my big family feeling impressed, grateful and of course, satisfied! One such appetizer that has worked very well and is on repeat for the last few Thanksgiving dinners is these Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets, with a little Indian touch!

Masala Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets

Garam Masala Roasted Butternut Squash Filling

The Indian touch to these beauties comes from the garam masala, the quintessential Indian spice mix, that is added when roasting the butternut squash filling for the tartlets. The warming blend of spices, like the cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper, etc. that are the essence of every garam masala formula that you can find out there, elevates the roasted squash to a whole new level and also pairs extremely well with the goat cheese topping over these pastries. 

Masala Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets

Easy Recipe with Puff Pastry

I simply roast the butternut squash and leeks a couple of days ahead of the big dinner. With store-bought puff pastry, they come together fairly quickly. You can cut squares of puff pastry and spoon the topping in the center and bake in the oven. Alternatively, if you have some extra time, you can take an additional step or two by giving the pastry square a couple of incisions and folding the edges over to create a festive, diamond-shaped design (or get creative and make your own design). Whatever shape you choose, I promise you, it is going to be a crowd-pleaser and a hit at your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) get-together!

Masala Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets
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Masala Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Tartlets


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Makes 9

Description

A quick and easy recipe for an elegant and festive appetizer made with puff pastry, filled with masala-roasted butternut squash, and topped with goat cheese.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm/Trader Joe’s), thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Garam Masala Roasted Butternut Squash with Leeks, for filling
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • 45 sprigs of cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped, for garnishing

Instructions

  • Prepare the Garam Masala Roasted Butternut Squash with Leeks filling. 
  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
  • Cut the puff pastry sheet into 9 equal squares.
  • Taking one of the squares, fold one of the edges to the opposite edge. Leaving a ¼-inch border, cut about ¾ of the way from the bottom of the triangle to the tip on both sides, making sure the cuts do not touch. Unfold the square.
  • Taking the top flap, fold it toward the 2 cuts near the bottom.
  • Take the bottom flap and fold it toward the top edge.
  • Press the corners gently to ensure they are stuck to the base.
  • Spoon the filling in the middle.
  • Top with crumbled goat cheese.
  • With the help of a spatula, transfer the prepared pastry onto an nonstick aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Similarly prepare the rest of the pastries and line them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch around each pastry to allow for expansion during baking.
  • Do not over crowd. Bake it in multiple batches, if needed.
  • Bake for 15–20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.

Keywords: Baking Recipes, Store-bought Shortcuts, Puff Pastry Recipes

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Prepare the Garam Masala Roasted Butternut Squash with Leeks filling. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Cut the puff pastry sheet into 9 equal squares. Taking one of the squares, fold one of the edges to the opposite edge. Leaving a ¼-inch border, cut about ¾ of the way from the bottom of the triangle to the tip on both sides, making sure the cuts do not touch. Unfold the square.

Step: 2

Taking the top flap, fold it toward the 2 cuts near the bottom.

Step: 3

Take the bottom flap and fold it toward the top edge.

Step: 4

Press the corners gently to ensure they are stuck to the base.

Step: 5

Spoon the filling in the middle.

Step: 6

Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Step: 7

With the help of a spatula, transfer the prepared pastry onto an nonstick aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Similarly prepare the rest of the pastries and line them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch around each pastry to allow for expansion during baking. Do not over crowd. Bake it in multiple batches, if needed.

Step: 8

Bake for 15–20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.

Step: 9

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Make the Filling ahead of Time

You can prepare the Garam Masala Roasted Butternut Squash with Leeks filling ahead of time, up to 3 days in advance.

Freezing Hack

You can prepare the puff pastry tartlets ahead of time and freeze them individually for about 2 hours before you can stack them up in a freezer safe bag. They will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. To bake, place the frozen puff pastry tartlets on a baking sheet, top with the filling and bake per the recipe.

Recipe Variations

You can use any other filing of your choice to make the tartlets like meat kheema or mushroom kheema or make a filling that you like – spinach and feta cheese, corn and cheese, etc.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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