My inspiration for this recipe comes from a Delia Smith cookery show that I watched years ago. I still vividly recollect her precise instructions which included a step by step process for getting the ingredients ready, the kind of baking sheet you must use so it doesn’t flop or bend in the heat, the importance of dusting the worktop and rolling pin etc.
The great thing about this recipe is that there is no limit to the kind of toppings you can use, both sweet and savoury. The caramelised onions go really well with the tangy goat’s cheese and my new discovery, sweet tomkins (plum tomatoes that look like little pumpkins). By all means use regular plum tomatoes or any other tomatoes that you can get your hands on. I have made these earlier with just fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes for an equally interesting variation, so feel free to mix and match your favourite ingredients. You can serve a couple of these with a salad for a light summer lunch or make mini bite sized ones as an entre for a main meal or for a kid’s birthday party.
- Puff Pastry – 1 block, refrigerated or homemade
- Plum Cherry Tomkins – 10-15
- Fresh Goat’s Cheese – 2 logs
- Melted Butter – 20 grams
- Plain Flour – For dusting
For caramelised onions
- Red Onions – 6-7, medium sized
- Butter – 50 grams, softened
- Dried Oregano – ½ teaspoon
- Brown Sugar – 1 teaspoon
- Ground Red Chilli – ½ teaspoon
For salad and dressing
- Rocket Leaves
- Olive Oil – ½ cup
- Lemon Juice – Juice of two lemons
- Crushed Black Peppercorns – ½ teaspoon
- Salt to season
The first step for this recipe is to make the caramelised onions. You can use store bought one if you prefer but I found them too ‘chutney-like’ in consistency and therefore prefer making itself for a more robust texture.
Peel and slice the onions and place these in a pan with the softened butter. Add the oregano, ground chilli, sugar and salt and keep stirring on a low heat till the onions soften and caramelise to a dark brown colour. You can avoid the chilli but it adds a nice little kick to the onions and helps to cut through the sweetness. This should take about 30-45 minutes depending on the quantity. Once done, switch off the heat and leave to cool in the pan till you are ready to use it.
For the tartlets, I used a ready to roll puff pastry block from the store – you can use either the refrigerated or the frozen version which are so good, convenient and foolproof. Cut the blocks into equal cubes ( I got about 9 -10 ) with a sharp floured knife and roll them out to about 3 mm in thickness into 4 inch circles or use a cookie cutter to get perfect even sized discs. Make sure your surface and rolling pin are both well-dusted with some plain flour.
Pre-heat the oven to 220 C or gas mark 7. Using a pastry brush, spread some melted butter on the top of the pastry circle and prick the centre with a fork, leaving ¼ inch border around the edge. Place a spoon of the cooled caramelised onions in the centre of the pastry discs. Next thinly slice the plum tomatoes and place about 6 slices on top of the onion and top with crumbled goat’s cheese. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Place these on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until the pastry rises, turns golden and the cheese in bubbling.
To prepare the salad, simply whisk together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and dress the rocket leaves and chopped tomatoes and serve alongside the warm tarts.
- Make sure the pastry dough is kept cold at all time and using a light hand to roll them to ensure an even rise and lovely layers. If you are using frozen pastry, follow the instructions on the pack, which may involve thawing or keep it out for about 20 minutes before you are ready to roll.
- For the caramelised onions, you can prepare the caramelised onions in advance and store them in the refrigerator to use anytime. If you want to make a little extra, just double the quantity of the ingredient and use them to prepare sandwiches and wraps with a bit of cheddar, salad leaves for a quick lunch or snack.