Pancetta, Onion and Gruyère Tartlets

These Pancetta, Onion and Gruyère Tartlets are loaded with cheese, caramelised onions and large chunks of smoked pancetta. They are perfectly portable for picnics, ideal appetisers for entertaining and work well as a really casual or dressed up affair. There is also a gluten-free adaptation below.

Tartlets on a board balanced on a picnic box with plates and picnicware
Tartlets? Tartlets? Tartlets? The word has lost all meaning…

…is what I hear every time I hear or read the word tartlet.

Tartlets on a board balanced on a picnic box with plates and picnicware

I made these tartlets for my Mum’s birthday lunch this week. It was a bit of a kickbollockscramble to get the lunch together on time as I have severe pregnancy brain. The night before we had gone out to the theatre as a pre-birthday celebration and my sister innocently asked me what we were having for lunch the next day. The champagne lunch that I had offered to throw for us all weeks before and had an extremely sufficient timeframe to work with. My organisational skills haven’t been on top form recently and my memory is like emmental. In fact I think the amount of time I have been spending thinking about my new cake stall and new cake recipes seems to have pushed everything else out of my mind.

Tartlets on a board balanced on a picnic box with plates and picnicware

It’s just as well I bought my Mum afternoon tea for two at The Langham for a birthday present as the fact it was cake related meant she actually received a present from me. So when my sister asked what we were having for lunch the next day I thought about it and realised that I hadn’t actually prepared anything or even had constructed a vague plan for lunch. So when I got home that night I thought about Mum’s favourite foods and how I could throw them together in a quick and calm manner before everyone descended at 12.30pm the next day.

Tartlets on a board with a knife balanced on a picnic box with plates and picnicware

A sort of quiche was the first thing I thought about as she loves a good homemade eggy pastry, as do I, especially if loaded with cheese, caramelised onions and large chunks of smoked pancetta. I decided upon miniature versions as well as not only are they quicker to cook but it meant I could also fill the table up with other little bits and bobs like my Cashew Chicken Satay, a wild rice salad sprinkled with Walnut Dukkah and freshly baked madeleines served with strawberries macerated in sugar and Chantilly cream.

I think I amazed myself most of all when I was in Waitrose at 9.30am buying the ingredients and then everything was on the table at 12.45pm along with glasses bubbling over with champagne. I was covered in flour, without a scrap of make-up but the house was tidy, the table was set and the food was delicious.

Tartlets on a board with a knife balanced on a picnic box with plates and picnicware

If you make these Pancetta, Onion and Gruyère Tartlets then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Pancetta, Onion and Gruyère Tartlets

These Pancetta, Onion and Gruyère Tartlets are loaded with cheese, caramelised onions and large chunks of smoked pancetta.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: British
Servings: 18 tartlets
Calories: 192kcal


Pastry *for gluten-free pastry see below

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 125 g cold butter sliced thinly
  • 1 egg
  • 35 ml cold water
  • Filling
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 100 g pancetta or bacon lardons
  • 1 large red onion peeled and diced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 200 g crème fraiche
  • 115 g gruyère
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper


  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the salt into the flour then tip in the butter. Rub between your fingertips until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg and cold water and bring together with your hands to form a smooth dough which shouldn’t be sticky. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
  • In a medium sized saucepan heat the olive oil then add the pancetta and onions and cook on a low to medium heat for about 15 minutes until the pancetta has begun to crisp up and the onions have caramelised. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
  • Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about 3mm thickness and cut out into 4 inch rounds
  • Press the pastry circles lightly into a 12 hole and 6 hole muffin tin and place back into the fridge for a further half hour.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the crème fraiche. Add the gruyère, nutmeg and salt and pepper and mix until fully combined then stir in the bacon and onions.
  • Pour the filling evenly into the pastry cases then place in the oven.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C, then turn the heat down to 160°C and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Remove the tartlets from the oven and leave in the tins for about 5 minutes to settle then lift out to finish cooling on a wire rack.


*For the Gluten-Free Pastry
80 g rice flour
25 g oat flour
45 g buckwheat flour
30 g cornflour
15 g tapioca starch
15 g ground chia seeds
½ teaspoon sea salt
115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
1 egg medium, lightly beaten
2-4 tablespoons iced water
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour for rolling out
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, chia seeds and salt.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour in between your fingertips so it resembles very rough breadcrumbs then stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
  3. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and start to bring the dough together with a pastry scraper. It should start to form quite quickly.
  4. Tip the dough onto the work surface and quickly bring the ball into a round ball with your hands. You don’t really need to work the pastry as there’s no gluten to activate. The pastry should still be a little sticky.
  5. Wrap the pastry ball in greaseproof paper and flatten it slightly.
  6. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. Then continue as per the rest of the recipe above.
gluten-free pastry adapted from Alanna Taylor-Tobin's Alternative Baker


Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 0.9mg


I have used this KitchenCraft MasterClass 12-Hole Non-Stick Cupcake Tray/Baking Pan, 35 x 27 cm for as long as I have been baking. It’s durable, easy to clean and useful for so many things. Obviously it’s sold as a muffin/cupcake tin, but I also use it for my yorkshire puddings and these tartlets.

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Chocolate and Gingerbread Five-Spice Tarts

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

In my mind it’s definitely worth starting to think about our festive menus roundabout now, especially if you are going to be inundated with work commitments, parties to attend and then slotting in dates with friends and family. November and December are most people’s very busy months and there is nothing wrong with getting ahead. Of course it helps that I’ve started listening to my Christmas playlist again on Spotify this week so I’m already well involved with the season. At Sainsburys earlier in the week I also couldn’t help but start throwing into my trolley the odd packet of Carr’s Table Biscuits (they always sell out in December) and then the Cheese Footballs that my mum loves to snack on Christmas Day. I remember this is the sort of behaviour that I used to admonish my grandmother for doing; buying birthday cards six months early and making sure she had all her Chrismas Day trifle ingredients by Halloween. Now, I’ve found myself following in her tradition. It’s a dangerous road though, as I’ve already eaten the Cheese Footballs, so they are going to have to go back on the shopping list for a start.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

I’ll never regret planning my menus early though and these tarts will definitely feature somewhere in the mix. I have wanted to do something with chocolate and five-spice for a while. Would it be ice cream? Would it be truffles? Or even cookies? I couldn’t quite decide and then I made some gingerbread biscuits last week for my cake stall and produced far more dough than I needed. It sat in the fridge for a couple of days as I couldn’t quite be bothered to make anymore biscuits.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

Suddenly out of nowhere I decided to mould the dough into tart shells, and blind bake them. Before I knew it I was concocting some chocolate ganache infused with five-spice and pouring it into my tart shells. The five-spice powder complements the ginger in the tart shell so perfectly. It’s a lovely warming chocolate tart, perfect for this time of year and since the chocolate filling is a no-bake recipe then it really is so simple to put together.

I was thinking how lovely this would be to serve as a dessert with a dollop of crème fraiche over the festive season and like any good dessert it can happily be made a day or so in advance with minimal effort which means you can focus your last minute panicking for events happening out of the kitchen.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

Chocolate Gingerbread Five-Spice Tarts

Makes 8

350g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed
125g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoon treacle
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
200ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon chinese five-spice powder
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease 8 x 8cm round tart tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mix with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the sugar and mix well.
  5. Warm the golden syrup and treacle slightly in a saucepan to make it runny and easier to use then pour into the rest of the ingredients with the eggs.
  6. Bring the dough together with your hands until it is a nice smooth ball.
  7. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
  8. Roll the dough out to 2-3mm thickness and line the dough into your tart tins. Fill the tart shells with baking beans then place in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking beans and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Then remove from the oven leave for 15 minutes before removing from the tins and leaving to cool.
  10. For the filling heat the whipping cream with the muscovado sugar and five-spice powder until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute so it doesn’t scorch the chocolate.
  11. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir together until all the chocolate has melted and formed a thick ganache with the cream.
  12. Spoon the ganache into the tart shells and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours until the chocolate ganache has set.
  13. Decorate with gold leaf and bring up to room temperature to serve.