Monday, 1 June 2015

caramelised onion & camembert tartlets - for the slow cook

Let me tell you a cheese story. It begins with a girl who wants to make something delicious. To be precise, to bake something delicious. The girl goes to the supermarket and picks up one of her favourite cheeses and is all out of inspiration. She thought about bread, very briefly but everything in the tiny supermarket was pre-packaged and ready sliced, with not a hidden bakery in sight. So the girl decided to walk around the aisles searching for something special to go with her cheese. And suddenly she came across a packet which held golden bits of balsamic vinegar and caramelised onion slices. Okay, you get the story. Immediate inspiration from a packet of crisps to make something with the same flavours, but much, much more flavourful. 

Lately I’ve been craving savoury food – which is rare in my sweet world, and fancied something tangy, so I picked up some camembert whilst out shopping for dessert ingredients. I do love cheese and bread but I knew a cheese and pickle sandwich just wouldn’t cut it. I wanted to make a savoury snack that wouldn’t take too long and arrived at my parents armed with ingredients and ideas. I promised afternoon tea treats, which were met with a few pairs of rolling eyes. ‘Just call it dinner,’ one sibling flippantly remarked and I almost took offence. It was fair enough. 

I am the slowest cook in the world. It’s a running joke in my family that when I say lunch, I mean dinner. Afternoon tea somehow segues into evening tea and breakfast becomes lunch. It’s not always so bad. I have narrowly missed starving anyone and one thing my guests do know for certain is that they WILL be fed. I just can’t guarantee sooner rather than later. Besides I don't believe in the rushed, throweverythingin and hopeforthebest school of cooking. I know, I know not everyone has the time. So make them on the weekend. Problem solved. Some things are just worth waiting for wouldn't you agree?

These tarts are so easy to make I urge you not to use shop bought pastry and make your own. I was just slightly tempted to use puff pastry but wanted something with a little bite to it. Besides puff pastry would have been too buttery with the rich creaminess of the Camembert

Don't you think these little things are absolute beauties? The crisp pastry, the savoury sweet onions, topped off with gooey cheese...I'll stop there.  I can tell you they tasted divine and much better than those crisps! I literally ate two and didn't even see the rest being polished off.

Well, here’s to hoping I make some more soon. J

Ingredients (makes 12)
For the pastry
180g plain flour
80g chilled cubed butter
Cold water - about 50ml

For the caramelised onion
Three medium onions
4 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs brown sugar 
1 level tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
250g Camembert chopped to 12 chunks rind on side taken off
1/2 tsp mixed herbes de provence

Preheat oven to 190c or 180c (fan) /gas mark 5

Halve and slice the onions and add to a pan with heated olive oil and sautee for a few minutes with salt and pepper

Add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and herbs and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are caramelised and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour and the chilled butter and rub into the butter in with fingertips until breadcrumb like in texture.

Add cold water a little at a time to just bring the mixture together being careful not to overmix.
On a lightly floured surface gently roll the dough to about 1cm thickness and cut into 12 equal oblongs.

Line a muffin tray with the pastry and prick the pastry gently with a fork and bake for 7-10 minutes until almost cooked but not browned and keep in the tray.

Place about 2tsp of the cooled caramelised onion mixture into the pastry shells and top with a piece of camembert with an extra sprinkling of herbs if desired and cook for 5 minutes until the pastry is golden and the cheese melted. 


Shuhena said...

Mmmmm delicious! : )

Dina Begum said...

Glad you enjoyed it Shuhena! :)