Photo: Chris Wiles Photgraphy
Red Onion & Goat’s Cheese Tart
Prep: 20 mins.
Cooking: 40 mins.
Course: Lunch/Snack – veggie friendly
Serves: 4-6 (max 4 for main course)
Rating: 2: Easy
Originally ‘invented’ because we had a very good friend (veggie) staying with us in France. Being a veggie in France (and surviving the experience without getting bored by repeatedly being given salad) is not easy, and catering for one who eats neither meat nor fish is a problem; much more of a problem than in the UK. But we did this:
- 1 roll of ready-made puff pastry
- 4 large red onions, peeled & sliced thinly
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped as small as you can (or 4 small, etc)
- 1 large red pepper, chopped/sliced/diced as you wish
- 7, 8 or more good thick slices through a goat’s cheese roll
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- Good squeeze (or approximately one good ‘British Standard Dollop’ – see Tricks’n’Tips) of tomato puree
- Olive oil
- Splash balsamic vinegar
- 1 glass (or 2, or 3…..) red wine
- A beaten (or at least very demoralised) egg
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Large tart tin (300mm) – no comments about big tarts, please…..
- Frying pan
You can do the onion mixture and make&bake the tart base ahead of time; even the previous day, should you wish.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degs C.
- Oil the tart tin, roll out the pastry onto it and press into the corners, making it look pretty. The pastry I used in France fitted the tin beautifully – it was cut into a circle already!
- Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart with lots of holes. You will need to bake the tart for a short time without anything in it (called ‘blind baking’), to ensure that the base is cooked through and it doesn’t end up having a soggy bottom. No-one deserves a soggy bottom!
- So, either using a pastry brush or a tablespoon, spread some of the beaten egg all over the very perforated inside of the bottom of the tart pastry. This will help to stabilise the pastry as it cooks ‘blind’. You could use the baking beans procedure instead (see Tricks’n’Tips).
- Pop the tart into the oven for about 10 mins. It does not need to colour very much at all or the exposed pastry could start to burn when the tart is actually being cooked.
- When the tart base is just showing the slightest signs of colour, remove it from the oven. Keep the oven set to about 180C.
- Put the butter, sliced onion and red pepper into an oiled frying pan over a medium/low heat and gently fry them off for about twenty minutes, avoiding them colouring up too much.
- Keep stirring so that it does not start to become over-coloured (in other words ‘burn’). Keep stirring.
- Put the can of chopped tomatoes into a saucepan on a medium heat. Add a good squeeze or a British Standard Dollop (whatever you consider that is) of tomato puree, a little red wine (as much as you wish – but consider that you’ll need to reduce it down; I use about 2 glasses), the chopped garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Stir over a very low heat to reduce all of this liquidy stuff down so that the resulting concoction is no more liquid than a runny paste.
- Keep stirring the onion mixture. And then do it again. It should be caramelising by now.
- Cut the goat’s cheese log into rounds. Or whatever shape it is (log or square or otherwise), chop it into slices.
- Chuck a big teaspoon of sugar into the onion mixture and stir well, again. And again. It should start to become more golden as you stir it.
- When the tomato mixture has reduced sufficiently…. Now how can I tell you that, eh? Perhaps reduced to about half of the original volume? Yeah, I s’pose. It doesn’t really matter, honest. It should resemble a paste rather than a liquid.
Of course, you can do this ahead of time; even the previous day, should you wish.
- Ok, so pour the toms mix (whether it’s hot or cold) into the base of the tart and spread it about (if it comes out in a solid blob, you’ve over-reduced it…..put some water in) as evenly as you can.
- Now pop the onion mixture (whether it’s hot or cold) on top, and spread it about as evenly as you can.
- Make a few indentations in the onion mixture for the goat’s cheese. You want to put the cheese bits INTO not onto the onion mixture, or the cheese could dry out and you’d finish up with a sort of goat’s cheese biscuit on top!
- Chivvy it all about until it’s about level and looks mighdy purdy…. (looks nice) and then stuff it in that hot oven for a while. Hmmmm….
- Look at it after 20 mins, but as like as not it’ll probably need 40 just don’t let it burn.
- Bring it out and slice it; and gobble it all up! Or serve it with a nice salad.