Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I have a packet of store-bought puff pastry in the back of my freezer. But I haven't gotten around to using it for anything (although from all the Donna Hay Fast, Fresh and Simple episodes I've gone through, I could easily have made two or three dinners out of it). Instead, I'm sharing with you a post about this tart, in which I tell you to dust your rolling pin and make your own pastry. Now, before you go 'this woman is bonkers' and slowly inch your mouse towards that 'X' at the top corner, hear me out. This won't take you two days. At most a few hours, you can even take a nap in between.
Rough puff pastry, as I first discovered many moons ago while flipping through (yes, you know this is coming) an issue of the Australian Gourmet Traveller in the plane, is what you may call a short cut version of the evil puff. It doesn't require as much military precision and time. As a trade off, it also doesn't rise to as many layers and ethereal softness as its grander cousin but don't turn your nose up and away yet. It does come out all buttery and flaky, still worth the few fold-rest-fold business it calls for. At least when you make your own pastry, you know real butter went into it, and a good one should you wish (I know it's January but no, I'm not apologizing for butter - this is, after all, Life is Great).
I've adapted the recipe to use that bunch of French shallots I found during another one of my fresh-produce-eyeing escapades. The red wine vinegar, thyme and oil mixture was heavenly, I wouldn't mind doubling the quantity to dress the tart as it was served. This rough puff recipe is laced with Parmesan. I wasn't exactly sure that would've affected the outcome of the puff, which I thought could be improved. I must have played with it a tad too long with the pastry cutter. If I've learned anything from my pastry adventures in the past, in this weather, things have to be done lightning fast. If you have a day to spare and space on your bench, give this a go, I promise your those dark, caramelized onions will not disappoint.
Roast Onion Shallot Tart [Printer Friendly Version]
Adapted barely from the August 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller
Cooking Time Prep time 1 hour 30 mins, cook 50 mins (plus resting, cooling)
Notes: To adapt to our tropical weather, I've adjusted the pastry resting time to 30 minutes between each fold. Use any onions you have, although red onions caramelizes better when roasted. For more details on rough puff pastry, GT has a dedicated recipe page.
- 60 milliliters/¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons thyme
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- salt to taste
- 4 large red onions, thinly sliced horizontally
- 8 French shallots, thinly sliced horizontally
- Egg wash for brushing
- 60 grams goat’s curd
Parmesan rough puff pastry:
- 225 grams plain flour
- salt to taste
- 40 grams finely grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoons each finely chopped thyme and oregano
- 225 grams cold butter, coarsely chopped
- 100 milliliters iced water
For parmesan rough puff pastry, sift flour and a pinch of salt onto a work surface, add parmesan and herbs, mix to combine. Add butter, cutting it through flour mixture with a pastry scraper until roughly mixed. Make a well in the centre, add 100ml iced water, mix with pastry scraper until a dough just forms. Bring together with the heel of your hand to form a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest, about 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to form a 1.5cm-thick rectangle, fold shortest ends together to meet in the centre, then fold in half again to form a book fold. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate to rest, about 30 minutes, repeat twice. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until required. Dough will keep refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 3 months.
When ready to bake the tart, preheat oven to 180°C with a wire rack in the middle. Combine oil, vinegar, thyme and lemon zest in a small bowl, season to taste. Place onion slices in a single layer on baking trays lined with baking paper, keeping slices intact (don’t separate them into rings). Drizzle over half the oil mixture and roast until very tender and lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Let stand to cool to room temperature.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick, cut out a 25cm-diameter circle. Place the dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper, refrigerate to rest, about 30 minutes. Score a 1cm border partway through the pastry, prick inside border with a fork, brush the edges with egg wash. Spread goat’s curd within border, arrange the roasted onions on top, bake until pastry is risen, golden and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Drizzle over remaining oil mixture and serve hot with a green leafy salad.
Life Is Great explores the incredible world of food and cooking. We hope to share with you our most delicious moments and inspirations.
“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”
Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
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