Friday, December 26, 2008

Caramelised onion and goats' cheese tarts

After all my nasty comments about vegetarians, I made amends by doing this for my non-meat-eating niece, Hattie. This is the kind of thing which, if you're in the wrong mood, feels fiddly to make, but if you're in the right mood is very therapeutic: making the dough, rolling and cutting the pastry, filling the pie. It's all very Blue Peter-ish, and here are some I made earlier:



Ingredients
The pastry
75g butter
175g plain flour
50g finely grated mature cheddar
1/2 teaspoon English mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
cold water
1 egg

The filling
1kg red onions
50g butter
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
100g soft rind goats' cheese
handful of chopped sage leaves, plus 8 whole leaves
olive oil

Equipment
8 fluted mini quiche tins, about 10 cm diameter

Method

The pastry
  1. Bring the butter to room temperature, chop into small pieces, and rub into the flour until it has the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the cheese, mustard and paprika and enough water (probably no more than a couple of tablespoons) until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
  3. Grease the tins, remove the dough from the fridge, roll out as thin as possible, and cut into rounds which are a few centimetres larger than the diameter of the tins, and line.
  4. Prick the bases of the tart cases, and bake for 15 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 160oC.
  5. Carefully remove the pastry from the tins, and cool on a wire rack.

The filling
  1. Peel the onions, slice them very finely, and cook them slowly in the butter, with the vinegar and chopped sage until the mixture has reduced down and is slightly 'sticky'. (At a minimum heat, this should take about an hour.) Allow to cool.

The tarts
  1. Brush each tart case with the beaten egg, and bake for 5 minutes.
  2. Fill each tart with plenty of onion mixture.
  3. Remove the rind from the goats' cheese, slice into rounds, and place one round on the top of each tart.
  4. Dip each of the sage leaves in olive oil and place on top of the tarts.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 160oC.
Food for friends
This is another Delia Smith recipe. I tend to be a bit lazy about using cookery books during the year, but at Christmas I like to acquire a few new recipes. This comes from Chapter Seven of her Vegetarian Collection, which is titled "Food for friends". What kind of food do you cook for people who aren't your friends?

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