There are other ways of showing love besides giving sweets! This Teddy Bear Taco Tart is a perfect example of that, make your loved ones a delicious dinner show them what they mean to you.
The other day one of my readers made the observation that I am a perfectionist – oh, so true. If you ask my parents they’d tell you that I came out of the womb that way. This recipe post will demonstrate just how much care I take in getting my recipes perfect so that you can replicate them in your own kitchen.
This project started out simple enough; I was going to make a recipe I had suggested a few weeks ago, a puff pastry tart decorated to look like a teddy bear, much like the football shaped tart I made for the Super Bowl. I wanted it family friendly and savory, so I planned to make a simple taco meat and cheese filled tart.
On Friday I thawed my puff pastry and cooked the taco meat, but ended up having to abandon my project to take care of something that afternoon. By Saturday I was in bed sick with the flu, so my tart had to wait. Monday afternoon, feeling better, I began work in the kitchen. I forgot that I left my puff pastry in the refrigerator over the weekend and was surprised when I went to unfold it that it was totally stuck together. So I grabbed a rolling pin and rolled it out then cut it into a bear shape, but the dough was too elastic and it wouldn’t hold it’s shape perfectly. Then I picked it up and placed it on my baking sheet and it stretched out even more. I baked it, and just wasn’t happy with how long and skinny the bear looked. Not wanting to waste this crust, I topped it with some pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni and fed it to my husband. He didn’t complain:) He even said, “this looks like a teddy bear, I don’t know why you had to make another one.”
O.K. so let’s try this again. I thawed a frozen sheet of puff pastry, it unfolded nicely. I set it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, so I wouldn’t have to pick it up and move it once cut. Then I set my bear template on top and cut out around it. I tried to lift the template, but it was stuck. I slowly peeled it off the bear, losing some dough, but it looked alright. The long strips I cut to make the rim around the bear, however, were so stuck to the parchment paper that they tore when I tried to move them. I couldn’t bake this puff pastry bear with all of that excess dough stuck to the parchment as it would have burned, setting off my overly sensitive smoke alarm, so I had to move the bear to a new piece of parchment after all. I don’t know how, but it held it’s shape pretty well during the move. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any strips to make the rim. I decided to just dock the inner dough with a fork leaving a 1/2″ border around the bear, slid it into the oven and crossed my fingers hoping the edges would rise up higher than the middle.
Nope, didn’t work. It had a great teddy bear shape but without a rim, the tart wouldn’t keep all that taco meat in place. At this point, I was a bit frustrated and tired and just wanted to go back to bed, but I couldn’t let this crust go to waste and decided to turn it into a dessert for my hubby. I slathered the crust with some Nutella and was going to call it a day, but it looked so good that I ended up adding marshmallow ears, paws and a snout and a chocolate covered raisin nose, candy eyes, and a gumdrop heart. Wow, it was so cute. I quickly snapped a few pictures in my now very dark room, gave it to my husband, and went up to bed. Sometimes good things come out of bad, and although this tart was adorable, it just wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It would have to wait another day.
You know the saying the third time is the charm? Well, in this case it was true. This afternoon everything went right in my kitchen; I floured my parchment paper and the top of the puff pastry so nothing stuck, I cut out a perfect bear, added a nice rim, baked it to a beautiful golden brown and topped it with cheese and taco meat. I decorated it with cheese, olives, and a red pepper heart. I snapped some pictures and sat and enjoyed some of this yummy tart topped with some tomatoes and sour cream. This teddy bear tart is exactly what I envisioned when I began this process and even though I hit a few bumps along the way, I ended up with a perfectly cute and tasty tart that I think your family will love.
Now that I’ve worked out all of the details, you should have no problem creating your own Teddy Bear Tart at home.
Teddy Bear Taco Tart (serves 4)
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to the instructions on the box
egg wash (mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water) or use milk or cream
3/4 cup blended shredded Mexican cheese
2 cups cooked taco meat
2-3 slices of white cheese
2 black olives
1 slice of red pepper or tomato
teddy bear template (download it here)
rolling pin (or fondant roller)
knife and/or a pastry wheel
optional: small oval cutter and a #12 round pastry tip to cut decorations
Print and cut out the teddy bear template. Lightly dust a piece of parchment paper with flour. Unfold the thawed sheet of puff pastry and set it on the parchment paper. Pinch together the seams, if necessary. Lightly dust the top of the puff pastry with flour. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out so that it is 11″ long. Set the teddy bear template over one side of the pastry. Use a knife to cut out the teddy bear shape
Cut four 1/4″ wide strips from the remaining dough. (The three I originally cut wasn’t quite enough.)
Brush egg wash, milk, or cream all over the teddy bear. Lay the strips along the edge of the teddy bear pinching the seams together where necessary. Cut off any excess dough.
Lift up the sheet of parchment paper and set the teddy bear on the baking sheet. Use a fork to prick holes all over the dough not including the border. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees while dough is chilling. Bake dough for 15-18 minutes until deep golden brown.
While the teddy bear tart crust is baking, create the decorations. Cut one large oval from a slice of cheese to be the bear’s snout and two small ovals for the paws and six tiny circles for the toes (I used a knife, a small oval cookie cutter, and a #12 round pastry tip.) Cut two circles then cut a third off of each for the ears. Cut the black olives in half lengthwise and set one, flat side down, on the large cheese oval to make a nose. Cut two small ovals out of the other olives to make eyes. Cut one slice of red pepper or tomato into a heart shape using a cookie cutter or knife.
Remove baked pastry crust from oven and carefully top with cheese then taco meat. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until heated through. Note: I know it looks like I added feta cheese, but that is actually Monterey Jack cheese. I just crumbled up the scraps after making my decorations (pictured above) then added some cheddar to go along with it.
Immediately remove from oven and move onto a serving platter or cutting board using a large spatula, an oven spatula, or pizza peel. Add the eyes, ears, paws, and snout. Serve hot along with sour cream, tomatoes, and if you like, jalapenos and guacamole.Update: I just had to share this picture sent to me by Jo and Sue. They made boy and girl bears. So cute!!!
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Supplies I used to create this recipe are available on Amazon.com.