Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Goat's Cheese & Red Onion Tartlets

I first made these to bring to a picnic at Glyndebourne Opera, and these were the first of the snacks to disappear. They're easy to make, and can be served at room temperature. I made these cupcake size for the picnic, but they can easily be made larger for a stand-alone starter.

Top tip: I'm jealous of anyone that owns baking beans, however, a handy tip for a stand-in is to either prick the bottom of the pastry, or to fill the pastry case with rice grains on top of some grease-proof paper. (Or you can completely cheat and use pre-made pastry cases!)

Serves 12 as a canapé, or 4 as a starter

INGREDIENTS:

Shortcrust Pastry - 450g (roughly)
Goat's Cheese - 1 wheel
Cherry Tomatoes - 2 handfuls
Red Onion - 2 (small)
Thyme
Garlic - 2 cloves
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Balsamic Vinegar - 2 tsp
Caster Sugar - 2 tsp

1. To prepare the pastry cases, use a pastry cutter to cut the rolled out pastry into circles. Obvously, choose the cutter to match the size of your pastry dishes! Grease each dish with butter, and lay the pastry inside. Weigh down the pastry with baking beans (see my Top Tip above). Place in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes, until the pastry casings are lightly golden.

2. Whilst the pastry is cooking, peel and slice the red onions, and halve the cherry tomatoes. Peel the garlic too.

3. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan, and at a low heat add the red onions, cherry tomatoes, crushed garlic and thyme. Quickly stir in the balsamic vinegar and sugar, and allow to the tomatoes and onion to soften and caramelise. When it's all ready, place some of the mix into each pastry case. Next crumble on some goat's cheese - this isn't an exact science, use as much or as little as you want!

4. Place the tartlets back in the oven at 180 again, until the cheese is slightly browned on top.

Serve each tartlet with sprig of thyme for decoration, either warm on a bed of rocket as a starter, or store in a sealed container to bring on picnics.

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