I’m not ashamed to admit that there was a time in my life when the fanciest thing I’d ever eaten (or made for that matter) was Beef Wellington. I used to think that this was what really wealthy people ate on very special occasions. I’m still convinced that they do, and because of this, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this retro dish. In the past, I’ve reinvented it into a cheeseburger combination that came straight out of my mind from a dream. This time around, I’m turning this popular main dish into an irresistible appetizer. If you thought serving beef wellington as a main course was fancy, well wait until you serve it at your next cocktail party as an hors d’oeuvre. People will be asking you for the recipe left to right and I’m totally okay with you passing it off as your own. Go ahead and take the credit. I don’t care as long as you make the recipe and give it a try soon. After all, what are friends for?
Let’s start with the beef, since these are beef wellington tarts after all. I’m using a boneless beef short-rib for this but you can use beef tenderloin steaks as well. Cut the beef into bit sized pieces. Then season liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
**Tip: If you’re having trouble cutting the beef, try placing it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before dicing. It’ll make cutting a lot easier!**
Cook the beef in a large skillet, with a bit of olive oil, until browned and slightly crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
**Note: There is enough beef to snack on a bite or two once it’s cooked. I’m not going to say that I did this myself but I’m also not going to say that I didn’t.**
Add the shallots and garlic to the same skillet and cooked until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season lightly with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Cook until the mushrooms are browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure to stir often so that they brown evenly.
**Note: The mushrooms might take a while to brown evenly, especially if your skillet isn’t big enough. Don’t give up hope. The more you stir the more it’ll help the moisture evaporate, which will then help your mushrooms brown!**
Add the beef back into the skillet, and then stir in the sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and fresh parsley. Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
**Note: You really want the mixture to cool down completely because if you try to add the hot or warm filling onto the cold puff pastry dough, you might prevent the dough from puffing properly. And we want that flakiness that puff pastry is known for.**
Working with one piece of thawed puff pastry at a time, roll out slightly on a lightly floured work surface and then cut each sheet into 9 rectangular pieces. You want them similar in size to help you form them into tarts. Place half of the rectangles on two baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or foil. Then brush the edges with egg wash. Fill with about a tablespoon or two of the cooled filling.
**Tip: I’m using two boxes of store-bought puff pastry for this. Each box will yield you 18 pieces of dough (9 from each sheet of dough). One box for the bottom and one box for the tops!**
Roll out the rest of the puff pastry and cut in the same manner as the first. Then place the tops over the filling. Using a fork, crimp and seal the edges of each tart to ensure that the filling doesn’t escape during baking.
Brush the tops with egg wash—this helps the puff pastry get golden brown—and then make a small “X” on top of each tart with a very sharp pairing knife. This allows steam to escape during baking and again, allows the pastry to puff up and rise and get flaky.
Sprinkle the tops of the tarts with freshly cracked black pepper and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven until golden brown and puffed up, about 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
**Tip: If you want to make these ahead of time and would like to freeze them, you can fill and crimp each tart and then lay out on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Then transfer to a freezer food storage bag and freeze completely. Keep there for up to 3 months. Then, just thaw what you need to bake the night before in the fridge. Bake as directed in the recipe!**
While the tarts bake, let’s make the horseradish cream sauce. I feel like any appetizer such as this, really needs a sauce for serving, and since beef goes so well with horseradish, this seems like the perfect sauce to serve the tarts with.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayo, horseradish, salt, pepper and chives until well combined. Give it a taste and add more salt, pepper, or horseradish as needed.
**Tip: This can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It also makes a great spread for roast beef sandwiches!**
Once the tarts have baked, serve warm with the horseradish sauce. Garnish them with either fresh chives or fresh thyme, or a combination of both. This is both for taste and for added color, since they’re so brown!
If you want to make them smaller snacks or bite-sized appetizers, you can cut the puff pastry into small pieces. You’d also have to cut the filling beef and veggies into smaller pieces as well to accommodate the smaller tarts!
I like to make both salmon and chicken wellington as well, and so I don’t see why those two wouldn’t be great in these tarts as well. Feel free to swap out chicken breast or salmon filets instead of the beef in the recipe!
I hope you make a batch or two of these Beef Wellington Tarts for your next dinner gathering or cocktail party, or just to keep in the freezer for the next time you’re in need of a speedy hors d’oeuvre! They’re a great crowd pleaser and easy to make thanks to store-bought puff pastry. Just don’t forget the horseradish cream sauce on the side! It really compliments the tarts just right!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless beef short ribs, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1¼ cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ⅓ cup sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 2 packages frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon minced chives, plus more for garnish
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Set a large skillet over medium-high heat with the oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot, add the beef and cook, stirring often, until it has browned and is crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate or bowl, set aside.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the hot skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms have browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the beef back in and the thyme, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated completely. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, working with one box of puff pastry at a time, unfold each pastry sheet and roll out slightly to remove the creases. Cut each into thirds and then cut each sheet into 9 rectangles similar in size, you should end up with 18 pieces per box of puff pastry (9 per sheet). Place the rectangles on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer. Brush the edges of each with egg wash and then place about a tablespoon or two of filling in the center of each.
- Roll out the second box of puff pastry in the same manner and cut into 18 pieces as well. Place a second piece of pastry on top of the filling and then crimp the edges with a fork. Brush each with egg wash and then make a small "x" on top of each with a sharp pairing knife. Sprinkle the top with cracked black pepper and bake until golden brown and puffed up, about 20 to 22 minutes.
- In the meantime, to make the sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl until evenly incorporated. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt, pepper or horseradish as needed. Can be kept in the fridge until ready to use, up to 3 days in advance.
- Serve the tarts warm with the horseradish cream sauce and garnish with fresh thyme or chives. Enjoy!