Some of you may know I also write a wee feature on the Otago Daily Times website. It is a student cooking blog filled with ways to pull oneself out of the spag bol mince rut.
I have been looking through my folder of recipes I have written about and think that some of them really should be shared here. My goal for this blog is to have two sections, one for baking and sweet treats and the other for the less sweet. However at the moment it seems all I can do is lump them together into one. Why am I so challenged when it comes to this?
When I first made this tart it was one of the first times I had used my food processor to make pastry. It was a dream to make and my mind was blown at how great the result was. Funnily enough when I made this my flatmate actually complained. But quite frankly I did not give a shit what he thought because he had no idea what he was talking about. This tart was delicious. The other day I went on to make small individual tarts for Dan and Alex's lunch.
What I hate about making pastry is that you always have to let it rest. Which is not ideal if you are in a spontaneous and impatient baking mood, or in a rush to cook dinner. So what proactive young (and probably greedy) Sophie does in this situation is make up the pastry (sweet or savoury), line the tart tins with it, wrap them up tight with glad wrap and then freeze the pastry tin and all until the time comes in which a pastry craving needs to be urgently satisfied. So currently my freezer is packed with sweet and savoury pastry cases waiting to be filled at any given moment.
You can use a food processor or your hands to make the pastry. If using a food processor, just pulse the chopped butter into the dry mixture plus parmesan and once a sandy consistency is reached pulse in the egg and cold water until the dough comes together. When using your hands, just rub the butter into the dry mixture then make a well for the egg and water and stir it in until the dough comes together.
Caramelised Onion and Feta Tarts
Serves 4-6 in a 25cm flan tin or 6 x 10cm tart tins
Very loosely adapted from the book Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans
For the pastry:
75g butter, slightly softened
1 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
30g finely grated parmesan or tasty if that’s all you’ve got
1 teaspoon salt
a good grinding of pepper
1 small egg
2 tablespoons cold water
For the caramelised onions:
500g brown onions (about 8 small ones or 5 large ones)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the rest of the tart:
125g feta (half a packet)
1 cup grated cheese (edam, tasty, your choice)
a splash of milk (as in maybe 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste
all of the caramelised onions
To make the pastry:
In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a fine, crumby texture. Mix in the grated cheese, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. The alternative is to pulse in a food processor until the same result is achieved.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and the water.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour the egg into it. Mix together to form a soft dough. If using a food processor, pulse the wet ingredients into the dry mix until the dough comes together.
Form the dough into a disc shape, wrap in glad wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour. It can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Once the dough has rested, heat the microwave for 10 seconds to softened it a little. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured bench. Take your metal (don’t use ceramic) tart tin and lightly spray it with cooking spray, or grease it using some oil and your fingers.
Roll the pastry out so it measures the diameter of the tart tin plus enough to cover the sides (ie diameter + height + height).
Carefully drape the pastry over the tart tin and gently press the pastry into it using your fingers. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges. Return the pastry case to the freezer while you get everything else ready.
To make the caramelised onions:
Thinly slice all the onions. Place them in a saucepan along with the vinegar and sugar. Cook them on a high heat stirring frequently, once they soften, turn the heat down and let them simmer away until all the liquid has been reduced and they are nice dark brown. This should take around half an hour.
To assemble the tart:
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Place a baking tray in the oven as well to heat it up. You will place the tart on this to make sure the bottom crisps up.
Scatter the grated cheese on the base of the tart. Follow with the caramelised onions and feta cheese.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the top of the onions and feta until it reaches 2mm below the edge of the tart. If it spills over the edge you are not going to have a fun time removing the tart from the tin.
Carefully transfer the tart to the baking tray then return the baking tray with the tart tin on top to the oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until the pastry browns up and the egg becomes firm to the touch. If making small tarts, these will take approximately 25 minutes on bake.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before attempting to remove from the tin. Serve with a nice light salad and a good dolloping of onion marmalade if you have some!
If you have any left over pastry from the off cuts, try making a mini tart for your lunch the next day! You could use a muffin tray if you don’t have a small tin. Use about 2 eggs for it.