Monday, December 14, 2020

Panela Tarts #BakingBloggers

Panela tarts are melt in the mouth appetizers that are addictive too. These are very easy to make and are tasty. They are the perfect size for an appetizer. The filling can be made ahead too and can be made with store-bought pie crusts too. All these make it a perfect one for a party appetizer. Usually, I don't buy Panela cheese in Costco, since I don't use it that often. Smaller sizes from other stores work for me. But this time, I don't know what was happening....haha....did I go shopping for cheese hungry or stressed out .....hahaha. It is similar to paneer but a little softer when grilled. It is great to use in grilled appetizers and meals. Anyway, when I saw the theme for the BakingBloggers, I decided to use this cheese and that became a huge hit. We loved it so much and ended up making it a couple of times. Since Panela was similar to paneer and softer version too, was able to use it in a few ways. 

Ok. Coming to BakingBloggers...On the second Monday of the month, the participants of the BakingBloggers group share recipes for baked goods,  based on a specific theme for each month. This month's theme is "Baked Holiday Party Appetizers". Sue of Palatable Pastime hosts this event. Thanks, Sue!

I am posting this for both BakingBloggers and Srivalli's Bake-A-Thon 2020. We share recipes for baked food 3 days a week - Monday, Wednesday, Friday - all through the month.


Makes 16-18 tarts

For the filling:

Panela cheese - 1 cup

Corn - 1/3 cup

Spinach - 1.5 cups

Chili flakes - 3/4 tsp

Salt - 1/4 tsp

Cayenne - 1/4 tsp

Garlic - 1/2 tsp, finely chopped

Onion - 1/4 cup, chopped fine

Jalapeno - 1/2 tsp, finely chopped

Aquafaba - 3 tbsp

For the Crust:

All-purpose flour - 1 cup

Butter - 5 tbsp

Salt - 1/2

Cayenne - 1 tsp

Water 1 or 2tbsp


In a bowl, add the ingredients for the crust. Knead like a pastry dough with adding ice-cold water to a smooth dough. Wrap and refrigerate for an hour. It is important to have tiny specks of butter in the crust dough, so when it bakes, the crust will be flaky and buttery.

In the meantime, heat a pan with oil. Add cumin, garlic, and jalapenos. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the corn and spinach. Sauté for 2 minutes and add the salt. chili powder, and flakes. Continue sautéing for a couple more minutes and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, beat the aquafaba to stiff peaks. Add it to the bowl with spinach mixture. Add in the cheese and mix well. Keep aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the pastry dough into a 1/8 inch thick circle. Cut out circles of 4-5 inches. Reroll the remaining dough and make few more circles. Gently insert the cut circles into a sprayed muffin pan. Press gently. Add in the cheese spinach filling. 

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool, and serve.


I wanted to make the spicy crust too. Cayenne in the crust can be reduced or omitted too according to your preference. 

Also, for a less spicy version, adjust the chili flakes and cayenne in the filling too.

If you use eggs, you can add one instead of aquafaba.

Baking Blogger December 2020:

Baked Holiday Party Appetizers

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  1. Having extra cheese around the holidays is never a problem for me. Sometimes I will make a special shopping trip just for cheese!

  2. Those look absolutely fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm adding this to my appetizer must try list. I do love my cheese.

  4. The tarts look so cute. Perfect snack for a winter evening :)

  5. These sound delicious - love all that warm flavor in there!

  6. I have never heard of panela cheese. I'll have to keep my eyes open. These are great little nibbles, perfect for the holidays.

  7. Anything cheesy and formed into tarts is on my must try list. These are so elegant!

  8. I totally get you... trying new cheeses can be overwhelming, but surprising at the same time. Those tarts look amazing...

  9. These tarts look so good and delicious.