Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Goat's Cheese and Sweet Onion Tart with Thyme

I have finally succeeded in making something savoury and, in an unfortunate turn of events for my colleagues, something I was unwilling to share.

For a while now I've been intending to make a tonne of food at the weekend so that all my food for the week ahead is sorted. Like many people who work full time, I get home most nights feeling like a limp piece of spaghetti - tired, floppy and useless. It's all too easy to collapse on the sofa with a plate of cheese and crackers and the obligatory glass of wine.

And forget about making lunch the night before. That's why I can be found trawling Waitrose most mornings and shelling out for what I will admit is very good food.

But this weekend I dragged myself out of bed on Sunday to make one of my favourite recipes, tart au chevre, or, for the non-French speaker, goat's cheese tart.

I've made this a couple of times - it's a Nigel Slater recipe and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, the first time I made it was a disaster of the highest order. After blind-baking the pastry case I accidentally threw it in the bin (don't ask, just don't ask) and my then-boyfriend came downstairs, hoping dinner was nearly ready, only to find me having a full-on toddler-style tantrum, drumming my fists on the floor.

However, this time it went perfectly - I actually made three tarts, the one pictured above, a smaller version of that and then a version replacing the onions with a couple of handfuls of spinach.

I'll give you Nigel's original version with one small twist - I replaced creme fraiche in his recipe with Greek yoghurt. No particular reason - I've always done it that way and I like it.

You will need:

For the pastry case:
200g plain flour
100g butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
a little milk

For the filling:
400g sweet white onions, sliced very thinly
25g butter
2tsp thyme leaves
2 eggs
200g good quality unflavoured Greek yoghurt
100ml semi-skimmed milk
180g moist and crumbly goat's cheese
22cm tart tin with a removable base, at least 3.5cm deep, greased with butter

1. Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until a crumbly mixture is formed.

2. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and pour in the egg yolk and a splash of milk. Mix together until a loose mixture starts to form and then knead until it forms a dough. Use as little milk as possible, as it will make the tart shrink in the tin as it bakes.

3. Flour a clean surface and roll out the dough, then use it to line the tin. Push it into the corners with a lump of excess dough - if you use your fingers you may break through the pastry. Trim off any overhanging pastry. Put the pastry into the fridge for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 200C.

4. While the pastry is chilling, take the butter for the filling and put it in a pan over a medium heat. When it has melted, add the thinly sliced onions and thyme and turn the heat down low. Gently fry the onions for about 20 minutes until very soft but not coloured.

5. When the pastry has chilled for 20 minutes, take it out of the fridge and line the tin with foil over the pastry, weighing it down with uncooked rice, dried beans or ceramic baking beans if you have them (it's a strongly held belief of mine that no one does).

6. Bake the tart for 20 minutes and then carefully remove the foil and beans/rice. Put the cooked onions in the pastry case.

7. Beat together the yoghurt, milk, eggs and seasoning and pour over the onions. Crumble the goat's cheese over the top and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until almost completely set but still with a small wobble in the middle.

8. Eat while warm. Will also freeze well.

I really would advise you to use a tin of the size Nigel directs you to, otherwise you will have to make three tarts to use up all the filling and then sit up the kitchen table barking: "TARTS, TARTS, LOVELY TARTS" while trying to decide which one to take to work for lunch.

Yes, that is precisely what I did on Sunday.

And just in case you're interested, I took the larger goat's cheese and onion tart. The smaller one and the spinach tart are still in the freezer - so that's my lunch sorted for another week.

Au revoir,


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