Smoked salmon and cream cheese tart: Cool, crunchy, smooth, smoky

We’ve been putting recipes out there for a long time. Our subscription baking newsletter,
The Baking Sheet, specializes in seasonal, tested recipes, many of which come from our readers’ ideas. This recipe has been quietly living on our recipe website for years, but you may not have noticed it, because it didn’t have a photograph to show off it’s pretty face. We’re so dependent on visuals these days, that a recipe without a photo doesn’t stand much of a chance in an electronic environment.

This tart is perfect for August, because it’s served cold, doesn’t require much baking time, and is mighty darned tasty. The cream cheese is a nice touch in the crust; flavorful, easy to handle, and nicely complimented by the dill. Most of the moisture the crust requires comes from the cream cheese, with a little boost from vinegar that makes the crust nice and crisp.

Sold? Let’s make our Smoked salmon and cream cheese tart.

First, all of the crust ingredients except for the vinegar go into the food processor.


Now, pulse until things look crumby.


Add the vinegar with the machine running; the dough will come together.

Press it into a disk and wrap it; give it half an hour in the frige before rolling.

Lightly flour a piece of parchment or wax paper. Now, one of my favorite rolling secrets. I cut a food storage bag up one side and across the bottom, to make one nice big sheet of heavier-duty plastic. This goes on top of the dough, and I roll right over it. Works like a charm.


To move the dough to the tart pan, peel off the plastic, lay it over the top, then peel back the parchment paper you rolled the dough on.


After you have the edges trimmed (save the scrap; more on that later) and crimped, dock the dough. You punch lots of holes in it with a fork, to allow steam to escape and keep the dough from puffing up.


To keep the dough from shrinking when it bakes, there are two things to do. First, chill the dough for half an hour after fitting it into the pan. Second, line the pan with a piece of parchment paper or foil, and fill it with baking weights. These can be dried beans, rice, or steel or ceramic weights. They’ll help the dough hold its shape as you bake it.


After 12 minutes, remove the paper and the weights, and return the crust to the oven for another 14 minutes, until it’s baked all the way through and golden brown. Take it out of the oven and cool it.

The filling is so simple, I didn’t take its picture. Into the machine, buzz buzz smooth, all done.

To assemble, just spread the filling in the cooled crust.


Now to put on the “jewelry”. Slice some small cucumbers and about 4 radishes as thin as you can. Alternate them around the outside edge of the tart.


Boil and peel a hard-boiled egg. Once it’s cool, separate the white from the egg, and put each through a box grater separately.


Sprinkle the whites in a small circle in the center; then the yolk on top.


Slice a few radish slices into half-moons, and place them in the center, like a flower. Voila.

Here’s the bonus bit. I started taking pictures of this dish about halfway through; and realized I needed to make the dough once more to show you. Then I realized that this dough is really perfect for crackers. So I rolled it out, cut it,
Spritzed it with water


Sprinkled it with kosher salt,


And baked it at 400°F for 14 minutes.


So if you’re in the mood for a nice, crispy dill cracker, just do the same with any scraps you have left, and you’ve got an extra treat.

Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.


  1. Mike T.

    Looks yummy! I’ll have to try it soon…

    “We’re so dependent on visuals these days, that a recipe without a photo doesn’t stand much of a chance in an electronic environment.”

    Yes, and THANK YOU for putting the picture on the “Printable Version” of your recipes. I’ve been creating PDFs of your recipes and then copying the images and pasting them on before printing. I don’t have to do that anymore! What will I do with all of the extra time??? 😉

    Extra time? BAKE MORE! So many treats, so little time… 🙂 – PJH

  2. Shannon

    I have just started baking recently, because I thought it would be so hard. Your website gave me confidence and let me tell you, I CAN bake! Every recipe I have used is a hit and so easy to understand. I have made the rustic peach pie, French breads (!!FRENCH BREADS!!) english muffins and so much more. Thank you for helping me realize my potential as a baker. This blog is the BEST find and I tell all my friends.

    And your flours rock too.

    Hey, Shannon – you go, girl! Keep it up – baking is a “lifetime sport,” and one with a “sweet” (or savory) outcome every time… – PJH

  3. breadchick

    Here I was casting about trying to find an elegant but cool dish to take to a “girls only” brunch. I think I’ve just found it! Thanks as usual KAF Test Kitchen for providing the inspiration.

  4. non

    the recipe calls for a pan w/ a removable bottom – it doesnt look like you used one, i take it it’s not necessary unless you want to remove the tart from the pan?
    You are correct we did not use a removable bottom pan. If you used one it would make a nice presentation but it will taste wonderful with either type pan. JD @ The Baker’s Hot Line

  5. Tona mc Kenna

    HI -My comment is not about the previous item( which looks very nice) but about flour.

    I grew up in Ireland ( a long time ago ) and I have visited many times since. Everyone knows about the wonderful brown bread in Ireland. This is America!.. Why is is that the WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR available in Ireland, and England, is not available here. To me, American Whole Wheat is so anemic, likewise baked goods from same. I am not trying to be insulting, I know that Wheat is a huge product in America. Bran is also used in the brown bread. I never see BRAN mentioned in recipes

    Another comment” I do quite a bit of baking. I never used RAPID YEAST until I made a loaf for which there was a recipe, on the back of the bag of WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR The recipe clled for walnuts and I put some dried cranberries in it also. I will NEVER use rapid yeast again. I don’t drink beer, but the bread tasted like
    beer. It was awful.. Sorry!

    Thank you.

    Hi Tona – Have you tried our Irish-style wholemeal flour? It’s our American version of the Irish flour one of our bakers got on a trip to Ballymaloe…

    As for RapidRise yeast, we don’t use that here in the test kitchen, except very rarely, and then only to see how it works against instant yeast (our favorite; and yes, it’s different than RapidRise), and active dry. Give instant a try sometime, I think you’ll like both its flavor and its convenience. Thanks for your input – PJH

  6. Annie

    First of all – this is a great recipe. I made it twice! The first time, I made it exactly as written. I thought it was great, but a few of my “testers” (my family!) thought there was too much filling to crust. So, I decided to try it again – though this time, not in tart form.

    I made the crust into crackers as suggested, leaving them a little thick to hold up to the cream cheese mixture. Then I made the filling into a spread by adding a little more sour cream. I also added extra smoked salmon because we had some and it is good. The result – not as pretty as a tart, but very, very tasty. The crackers were great on their own and the spread was a terrific topper (though we did need to spread it on the crackers with a knife – it didn’t turn into a dip!).

    It was a hit both ways – thanks for the recipe!
    You’re most welcome! It was a “sleeper” in our recipe collection. I’m glad it’s getting a little more attention now! Susan

  7. Corey

    I needed an appetizer for a small dinner party, so I made mini-tarts based on this recipe (halved). I just made tiny tart shells by cutting circles of dough slightly larger than the bottom of a muffin tin and then laying them in the muffin tins carefully and weighing them for the first 8 minutes of baking. I piped the salmon filling with a plastic bag and then placed a thin slice of cucumber on each tart. They looked really cute, tasted awesome, and were very easy to eat and serve because of their size. Thanks for this great recipe!!


    tHANK yOU

    Susan will have to answer your crust question, Florence, but you can buy SAF instant yeast right here at King Arthur. It’s MUCH less expensive than buying packets at the store… PJH

    I’d bake the crust at 400°F. It’s hot enough to make it crisp, but not so hot it’ll get away from you. Susan


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