Red Onion And Goats' Cheese Tartlets
What is really great about these tartlets is that they are very simple yet versatile. They can be eaten warm or cold and if you really love goats' cheese, no one is going to judge you if you want to add more to the recipe. These red onion and goats' cheese tartlets may be simple but they are also packed with flavour and nothing can really beat a red onion and goats' cheese combination.
In this post:
What's the difference between caramelised and fried onions?
Onions naturally contain sugar and when they are cooked the heat brings out these sugars. Caramelising happens when you cook the onions for an extended period of time, the longer they are cooked the sweeter they get, resulting in sweet and intensely flavourful onions. You want to caramelise onions if you are eating them as they are like a garnish or in an onion tart etc.
Frying, or browning, onions is a much faster process which brings out the flavour of the onions but doesn't cook them long enough for them to become sweet. You want to brown onions if you are making stews or sauces, for example— when you want to bring out the flavour of the onions but don't need the added sweetness.
Why do red onions sometimes turn a blue/green colour?
Red onions, and many other red foods like cabbage and cherries, are high in a pigment called anthocyanins. When these pigments are cooked, the colour of these foods can be intensified by using an acid like lemon juice etc. However, when they are cooked with an alkaline like vinegar, they can turn a blue/green colour. It is a harmless reaction and red onions that have turned a blue/green colour are perfectly safe to eat.
Can I make red onion and goats cheese tartlets in advance?
Of course— each individual part of the tart can be made in advance or they can be stored in the fridge in their final forms. It all depends on how far in advance you want to make the tartlets. If you want to make them a day before you want to eat them then you can keep the fully finished tartlets in the fridge and then just place them in the grill to warm up when needed. If, however, you want to be prepared more than a day in advance, I would recommend keeping the filling separate until needed. Store the pastry cases in a cool, dry place in an airtight container and the filling in the fridge. Assemble when needed.
The key to caramelising onions
Patience. That is the only tip I can give you really— and this recipe of course. To caramelise onions really well you need to cook them low and slow— that is on a low heat for a long time, stirring only occasionally. The longer you cook them, the sweeter and more intense your onions will be but a good time frame to stick to is between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how many onions you are trying to caramalise.
Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tartlets (extended)
+1 hour refrigeration
For the Pastry
Making the pastry
For the pastry, rub the butter and flour together with the tips of your fingers until you get a breadcrumb texture.
Tip: shake the bowl from side to side. Any lumps left in the mix will rise to the top. Keep mixing until there are more lumps. This technique helps make sure that there are no large lumps of butter left in the bowl.
Add the egg and bring the pastry together— you may need to add more flour if the pastry is sticky, it all depends on the size of your eggs. Turn the pastry on to a well-floured surface and knead it until it comes together into a smooth ball.
Rolling and cutting the pastry
Roll the pastry out to 1/2cm thickness. Using an 78mm diameter cutter, cut out 12 discs. Keep re-rolling the dough as needed. Press the discs of pastry in to a muffin tin and then place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Blind baking the pastry
Preheat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan. Remove the pastry from the fridge and use small pieces of baking parchment to line the inside of each pastry cup— it will make it easier if you scrunch up the baking parchment a couple of times. Fill each lined pastry cup with baking beads and then bake for 15-18 minutes until they are lightly golden in colour. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool before removing the bake beads and baking parchment.
Note: If you don't own any baking beads, you can use rice or dried pulses
For the Caramelised Red Onion
4 Red onions
1 tbsp Lemon juice
2 tsp Runny honey
1 tsp Salt
Pinch of Black pepper
60g Goats' cheese
Making the caramelised red onion
Peel and finely slice the onions.
Place a frying pan on a low heat. When it is warm add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the onions and fry for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and honey and fry the onions for a further 15-20 minutes until they are a dark brown and very soft. Stir in the salt and pepper and then remove from the heat.
Assembling the red onion and goats cheese tartlets
Evenly distribute the onion filling between the baked pastry cases. Cut the goats' cheese into small cubes and arrange over the onion filling.
You can either eat the tarts then and there or you can place the under the grill for 5 minutes to melt the goats' cheese. Either way, they are delicious! Garnish as desired.