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Warm Crab Tartlets

A Matter of Perspective~

Some things never change.  I love crabmeat; I have always loved crabmeat.

When I was a little girl, I thought The Red Lobster was the fanciest restaurant on the planet. I mean, only a truly elegant restaurant would offer grown-ups special bibs so their clothes wouldn’t get dirty!

Every chance I got, I would plead with my parents to go there. Birthdays were a given. I would gaze in wonder at the lobsters swimming in thier tank, waiting to become someone’s dinner. I wasn’t interested in eating something that was so ALIVE only moments before it arrived on my plate; I wanted my dinner dead long before I got it!

I always ordered the same thing, snow crab legs and an extra basket of garlic cheese biscuits.  Then would tremble with excitement at the thought of my heaping plate of claws and the extra tools with which to eat them.

Well a lot has changed since then. One, I have discovered that the Red Lobster is NOT the fanciest restaurant on the planet, and that plastic bibs and shell pliers do not equal high-class.  I have also realized it is much better to eat food that is veryrecently dead. (…take a moment to JUDGE me if you so desire.) *smile*Yet, I’m still gaga over crabmeat, and believe it to be one of the most sweet, tender, succulent proteins around!

Crab “fancies up” just about everything it graces. Even lowly party dip with crackers is taken to new heights by the addition of crab.These little tarts are a wonderful small meal, first-course, or party dish with understated elegance. Buttery pastry filled with glorious lump crabmeat, tarragon and spice–no shelling necessary!

Consider this for your New Year’s Eve party!

Warm Crab Tartlets

Yield: 10 servings

Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 ¾ cup flour ½ teaspoon salt ¾ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes 4-6 Tbs. ice cold water 2/3 cup heavy cream 2 eggs 8 oz. cooked, drained crabmeat 1 ½ Tb. fresh chopped Tarragon 1 small shallot, grated ¼ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper


For the crust: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add the cold butter and pulse until the bits of butter are the size of peas. Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between, until the dough comes together. It will be a bit lumpy. Shape the dough into a rectangle, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the dough on a floured work surface and roll out to a 8 X 20 inch rectangle. Trim the rough edges. Then cut down the center lengthwise. Cut each strip into 5 pieces creating 10- 4 inch squares of dough.Fold each square and place them into muffin tins. Press the centers down to the bottom and press the folds into the sides. Prick the bottoms of the shells several times with a fork. Bake the shells for 15 minutes. Then cool a little. In the meantime, combine the cream and eggs in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until smooth. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Scoop the crab mixture into each shell evenly.

Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!

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65 Responses to “Warm Crab Tartlets”

  1. She's Cookin'posted December 27, 2010 at 5:43 am

    I want one or two or three! Crab is my all time favorite, too and I used to eat at Red Lobster as often as I could when I was in college (my hometown did not have one) – I loved the crab stuffed shrimp. You made your dough, too. So delicious!


  2. Katerinaposted December 27, 2010 at 6:30 am

    First time I tried crab meat was in the US and i loved it ever since. These little treats are great idea for a party.


  3. Cherineposted December 27, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I love crab meat too. Those tartlets look really tempting!


  4. denise@ quickies on the dinner tableposted December 27, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Hey Sommer – hope you had a beautiful Christmas! These tarts look lovely! I've never done anything dainty and poncy with crab before – just chillied or curried crab or boiled and eaten caveman(woman?) like with some buttery, lemony dip LOL

    Maybe I will do this for New Year's after all!!


  5. Lea Annposted December 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I agree, crab is pretty special. We used to have a restaurant here that served all you could eat legs for Sunday brunch. I ate them like a starved wild animal. These tarts look wonderful and I'm saving the recipe.


  6. Kateposted December 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I'm with you on the crab meat. Wish we could have it weekly!! Those tarts look fantastic. Now the best part is that we have a seafood feast on New Year's Eve. Just the two of us and seafood and a bottle of Prosecco. These may just have to show up :-)


  7. Maryposted December 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    These really look luscious and I need recipes for warm appetizers. This has just moved to my must try list. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary


  8. Lori Lynnposted December 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I love the free-form shape of your tartlets. Very pretty. Oh I bet this would be perfect on New Year's especially with some bubbly!
    Happy Holidays Sommer!


  9. My Kitchen in the Rockiesposted December 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I also like crab and the tartlets would be a hit at my New Years Eve party. Recipe will be bookmarked. Thanks for sharing!


  10. Dinners and Dreamsposted December 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Sommer, these crab tartlets look very accessible with this easy recipe. Hope you had a great holiday!



  11. claireposted December 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I am also gaga over crab meat… These look precious!

    I am going to a party about 3 hours away… do you think the filling would travel okay, if i made the pastry and baked when I arrived?


  12. Evan @swEEtsposted December 27, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Well we'll be skiing for New Years but you best bet that these will be making an appearance at some dinner party we'll have! I LOVE crab.. and I used to love Red Lobster too :) Their biscuits are soo good.


  13. Emily Zposted December 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Your tartlets look delicious. If we were hosting a New Year's party, I would totally make these. But we're not. So I will have to bookmark them for a later day! Your Red Lobster story was cute. :)


  14. Sommer Jposted December 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    This looks absolutely divine! I loooooove crab meat, too, and used to think Red Lobster was class. Then I visited home and was sadly disappointed. I love this creative recipe!! Will have to try this out in 2011 for sure! Nice to meet you fellow Sommer J ;-)


  15. sara @ CaffeInaposted December 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    my hubby is sitting next to me saying "oooh that looks good!" and he is so right! I love that you use crab meat in tartlettes…I love savory tartlettes and these look so chic!


  16. Mother Rimmyposted December 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Lovely appetizer. I love the combination of crab and fresh tarragon!


  17. Angie's Recipesposted December 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Those tartlets make great party finger food. I love the addition of fresh tarragon.


  18. NANA Scrivposted December 27, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    This is so funny because I recently blogged about Red Lobster not being what it use to be:
    But I love crab too. The best place I've ever visited for crab is the Crab Shanty in Ellicot City, MD. I could eat there daily if I lived close by. I will definitely make your warm crab tartlets. Love your blog.


  19. Torviewtorontoposted December 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    flavourful tarts looks fabulous


  20. Tiffanyposted December 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I attempted some crab cakes a few weeks ago, total disaster, but I love crab, I think I will try these tartlets, thank you for sharing!


  21. Claudiaposted December 27, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Yes, love crab for New Years. Always. I love the rustic look of these and really they're not hard- and would certainly win hearts in my home.


  22. Prerna@IndianSimmerposted December 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    OMG, crab's my recent favorite! I mean I've recently fallen in love with it and 'm not sure why I never tasted it before. This recipe looks great. I was looking for one such tried n tested crab recipe that doesn't scare me, to try!
    P.S: I too used to think until recently that Red Lobster is the fanciest restaurant :-)


  23. Jennifurlaposted December 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Me too! LOL, that and Olive Garden. These look to die for.


  24. Stellaposted December 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    You're so cute, Sommer! I used to love Red Lobster too, and I still love crab meat: snow and blue being my favorites. In fact, this type of meat is what I eat when I cheat. Ooh, that rhymed (smile).
    These crab tartlets look wonderful by the way, and I'm sure they're better than what most restaurants would serve up these days;-)


  25. Roxanposted December 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Ha ha, I thought that red lobster was high class too, along with black angus! These crab tartlets look delicious! I will have to make them for my next get together. My husband will love them…


  26. Cake Duchessposted December 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Red Lobster was so fancy for me too!lol. These look amazing and I can't wait ton try your tasty recipe.


  27. Winelady Cooksposted December 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Seems that crab meat is a perfect appetizer food. Your recipe looks fantastic. I'll have to give it a try this upcoming weekend.

    Happy Holidays!
    Thanks for sharing,


  28. The Mom Chefposted December 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Oh Sommer, those look fantastic. I love crab too. I'd probably finish off the whole pan by myself!


  29. Kitaposted December 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Yes. Please.

    These look and sound great. Ill have to make them soon!


  30. Gourmet Gadget Galposted December 27, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Seriously Sommer – ME TOO about the Red Lobster as a child!! I was just telling Paul about how that was "the" place to go for birthdays when I was little and the height of sophistication with a Shirley Temple cocktail. Great post! Doesn't it make you wonder what our babies will think looking back? The recipe looks perfect for New Years Eve.


  31. All That's Left Are The Crumbsposted December 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I love crab too, especially crab cakes. These crab tarts look great and I might just have to make them for New Year's Eve.


  32. Katie@Cozydeliciousposted December 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    These look awesome! Perfect party food! Would it be terrible to cheat and use store-bought pie crust? Oooh, or maybe wonton wrappers would be fun pressed into the tins in place of flaky dough – they would crisp up at the edges and make a crab rangoon sort of thingy.


  33. Carolynposted December 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    When I was a kid, going to Swiss Chalet (a roasted chicken chain restaurant in Canada) was beyond exciting. But it's laughable now! Your crab tartlets are gorgeous, though. I am so saving this recipe!


  34. Kristenposted December 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Yum! I was the same way when I was little, thinking that Red Lobster was fancier than it was. Seafood was always a treat, so Red Lobster had to be something special! Your tarts sound amazing.


  35. Lizzyposted December 28, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Oh, YUM! I adore crab as well…these look like fabulous appetizers!


  36. Reeniposted December 28, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I was laughing while reading because my Mom loves Red Lobster – she's easy to please! These tartlets look insanely good – I'll take these over Red Lobster anytime


  37. Julie M.posted December 28, 2010 at 1:54 am

    I love crab! these look delicious Sommer. Red Lobster used to be a favorite of mine when I was a kid too.


  38. Jeanposted December 28, 2010 at 2:27 am

    You can't go wrong with crab in my book, especially when they're in season. Love the idea of the tartlets!


  39. Chocolate Frecklesposted December 28, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I love crab! these are gorgeous!!!


  40. Eileenposted December 28, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Your crab tarlets are beautiful. I really wished I liked seafood :( Isn't if funny how we see thing so differently as adults.


  41. Diethood.composted December 28, 2010 at 3:41 am

    LOL! I also thought that Red Lobster was as fancy as they come – then I grew up! :) Your tartlets sound sooo good!


  42. baking.serendipityposted December 28, 2010 at 3:52 am

    These would make a great New Years Eve appetizer! I love why you thought Red Lobster was a fancy restaurant when you were a kid-too cute! I hope you had a great Christmas and are still enjoying the holiday season :)


  43. Trixposted December 28, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Well, as a Maryland girl, I can absolutely relate to your feelings on crab meat! I thought Bonanza steak restaurant was the fanciest place on the planet, lol!! Yes, much had changed … but these crab cups look fab.


  44. thelonelyradish.composted December 28, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Crab does not get used enough! It's not any more expensive then a good steak, or organic chicken for that matter. Lobster gets all the glory, and often crab has all the flavor. You rarely can go wrong with a good tartlette, but you can only go right if their is crab in them. Hope you are having a great holiday!


  45. Gitteposted December 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

    That's excatly what I was thinking, these would be perfect for New Years Eve. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Wishing you and your family and very Happy New Year!


  46. Indie.Teaposted December 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Awww, those look SO good! And elegant, and tasty, and very presentable. They make me wish that the boy wasn't so severely allergic to crustaceans, or I'd hop over and make those tomorrow!


  47. The Food Houndposted December 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Very elegant and DECADENT!! I love crab, too!! Goes so well with cream and pastry :) But wait… anything goes well with cream and pastry… :)


  48. apiciusapprenticeposted December 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    These look delicious! And I sympathize with the Red Lobster comment ;) I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas, Sommer!


  49. Rosa's Yummy Yumsposted December 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Terrific! Those tartlets must be very tasty and so enjoyable!

    Happy New Year!




  50. lauraposted December 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    These are so pretty, Sommer! I also loved the snow crab legs at RL – we always went when we visited my g-pa's in AL and I actually miss going there when we visit now (no longer a tradition and I haven't been in years). Who knows what is in those biscuits, and they are greasy, but somewhat addictive if fresh. ( :


  51. sweetlifeposted December 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    happy holidays, sommer
    I love your story I always thought the same, how funny when we realize we can achieve better at home, how funny about two months ago, down the street they opened a new red lobster, it was SOOOOO BUSY, i laughed each time I passed by..



  52. Peggyposted December 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    This sounds like a perfect appetizer for a dinner party! I definitely would have a hard time keeping my hands off of them!


  53. Lawyer Loves Lunchposted December 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I agree- Red Lobster may not be fancy but it sure is delicious! Although these little tarts could give RL a run for their money. I'm going to try them out this weekend :)


  54. Monetposted December 28, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    This post made me laugh…and crave crabmeat. I used to think the same thing about Red Lobster. I do still love those biscuits! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. Here's to a great week with lots of good eats and laughter!


  55. Rickposted December 29, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Crab is soooooo good.


  56. shamanaccountposted December 29, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Thats soooo deliciously looking! Perfect for this cold weather! Yay! Love this one. Bookmarked!


  57. 5 Star Foodieposted December 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Your warm crab tartlets sound so delicious, perfect appetizers for sure!


  58. Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Parisposted December 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I loved the way you wrote this, and the crab cakes!!
    Happy New Year!!


  59. A Canadian Foodieposted December 29, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    What a beautiful read and recipe. I appreciate the tutorial as it helped me understand your process so clearly.


  60. briarroseposted December 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    So precious. An excellent appetizer for any party. Mini food is just so appealing. ;)


  61. Magic of Spiceposted December 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    These tarts are gorgeous and most definitely perfect for a New Years celebration :)


  62. Sprinkled with Flourposted January 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    My first comment was, "oooooh, crab." These would be a perfect party appetizer, and I love the flavors here, especially the tarragon:)


  63. Hyosun Roposted January 4, 2011 at 2:25 am

    These little ones look beautiful and delicious. I am saving the recipe for my next party.


  64. Tasty Eats At Homeposted January 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I too thought Red Lobster was the greatest place ever. It was the fancy seafood place my dad would take my mom for birthdays and anniversaries – so it must be amazing, right? I also loved the biscuits. And while I can't say I ever ate crab there, it is one of my favorite things from the sea. While I love it simply steamed, these also look spectacular. Hope you had a great holiday.


  65. Christine (CookTheStory)posted January 7, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    We didn’t eat out often when I was young, but when we did, if crab was on the menu, I always ordered it too. Your tarts look delicious.


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