Perfection for Ladies Who Lunch.
Somethings are just meant to go together. Salt and vinegar, strawberries and cream, cheese and crackers, wine and oh, everything…. And caramelized onion and goat’s cheese. The sweet, savoury, melty onions against the creamy, saltiness of the cheese. YUM! This is a firm favourite for lunch time get togethers, perfect with a salad, and also can be either cut up thinly or made into mini tarts for a party. So this week when I was hosting a reunion of some work friends from the distant past (please note the absence of the word “old”), this Caramelized Onion and Goat’s Cheese Tart seemed the perfect thing. Light enough for lunch, and hearty enough for the little bit of Autumn that has crept into the mornings and late afternoons. And most importantly perhaps, perfection with a crisp white wine that was needed to celebrate seeing each other after so long.
The caramelized onions are your first step and can be done quite a way in advance (even the day before) of assembling the tart. Thinly slice three red onions, pop into a pan with some butter and cook over a medium low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, until the onion start to collapse and just develop some colour. Add in some brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook stir until thick and glossy – about another 5 minutes. The smell will be heavenly! Set aside to cool in pan while you start on the pastry (or you can cool completely and refrigerate if you are making way ahead)
I made my easy short crust (find recipe here) but added some caraway seeds just to be a bit fancy. If you have your own favourite pastry recipe, please use it, or you can buy shortcrust pastry and follow the instructions on the packaging. (Just my opinion, but avoid those shortcrust pastry cases in the freezer section – they are too thick and heavy for this delicate flavoured tart).
Spread the onion mixture evenly along the base of the tart. Cut the goat’s cheese into even discs and place onto the tart. Previously I have just cut into four to serve the four people coming to lunch and used the other cheese to mix into the eggs, but today I was chuffed that I had managed 6 relatively even slices and liked this presentation. To slice the goat’s cheese, be sure to clean the blade between each cut, and then you may have to gently squeeze the cheese rounds back into shape (there will be some crumbly bits). If this all sounds too tricky, then just crumble the cheese evenly over the onions. What you miss in presentation will be made up in a more even flavour (this may even be the preferred method if you are not sure your luncheon guests are goat’s cheese lovers. Hard to believe I know, but I live with several, so I know of their picky existence!) Another note about the goat’s cheese. I purchase mine from Aldi as it is great quality and taste and much cheaper than elsewhere BUT it is made in France not Australia. Your choice.
Top each cheese round with a sprig of fresh thyme, and scatter a little thyme over the rest of the tart. Mix together 4 eggs, 1/2 cup cream and any left over crumbles of the goat’s cheese and pour evenly over the tart. Pop into a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden. Allow to cool slightly in tin before placing on serving platter.
The tart is best served warm or at room temperature. We enjoyed with a green salad of spinach leaves, asparagus, peas, sugar snap peas and olives with a simple vinaigrette, and of course, a lovely bottle of Pinot Gris. Lovely catch up ladies!
- ½ cup plain flour
- ½ cup self-raising flour
- 60g cold butter, cut into small cubes
- ¼ - ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- extra flour for kneading
- 3 red onions, sliced thinly
- 30 g butter
- 2 tbs dark brown sugar
- 2 tbs red wine or balsamic vinegar
- 115 g goat's cheese, cut into even slices
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup cream
- 1 tsp lemon thyme sprigs
- Preheat oven to 180°C
- Place frying pan over medium low heat and melt butter. Add sliced onions and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, until onions have collapsed and are beginning to colour slightly. Add dark brown sugar and vinegar and and cook until thick and glossy - about another 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Place flours and butter in a bowl and rub the butter through until all combined and resembles fine bread crumbs. Add caraway seeds. Slowly add some milk, mixing and adding until a ball of dough forms. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic then roll out to fit your tin (I use a fluted rectangular tin - 12 x 34 cm). Press pastry into case and set aside whilst making the filling.
- Spread the caramelized onion over the base evenly. Top with the sliced goat's cheese, adding in sprigs of thyme. Beat the eggs cream and any little bits of cheese that may have crumbled during your slicing. Pour slowly over the onions and cheese and bake in a preheated moderate oven for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
- Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turing out onto serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with a crisp green salad.