Thursday, August 9, 2012

It started off being about onions...

..but ended up being about pastry. Well, about pastry and onions, I suppose.

You see, I had this bag of red onions that needed using. It's become instinctive to immediately open my Edmonds book in times like these, so I went looking for a suitable recipe. There's nothing in there specifically for red onions, and any that use onion in general as a major ingredient had already been completed.

Time to think outside the box (or outside the book, actually): turning over ideas in my head, it occurred to me that I'd often seen caramelised red onion tarts done on various cooking shows. And while there's no recipe for that in the Edmonds book, I still had one or two pastries to do.

With the aid of my good friend Google, I located a simple rustic-looking red onion tart recipe, and using that as a guide, proceeded to give it a go. I got my onions on first, since they needed an hour or so to cook down. Once they were cooking, I mixed up a short pastry (p80). I've made the sweet short pastry any number of times without difficulty, and I've even done the food processor version of this same recipe. I didn't expect to have any problems.

This recipe actually has only four ingredients. I started by rubbing butter into salted flour, until it reached a breadcrumb-like consistency. Then I cautiously mixed in cold water, trying to avoid my usual mistake of adding too much liquid.

As it happens, I made the opposite mistake. The recipe demands that you judge for yourself how much liquid is needed - and I underestimated how much I would need. The pastry came together, but it was dry-looking,   and by that stage, I couldn't see how I could really improve it. Hoping it would work anyway, I put it in the fridge to chill while the onions finished cooking.

When the onions were nearly ready, I chopped off a chunk of the pastry, and rolled it out into a (very) rough circle. It didn't roll too easily, and was a bit dry around the edges, but other than that it seemed to be ok. I piled the onions in the middle, folded the pastry up around the edges, grated over a small amount of cheese, and bunged it in the oven.

The tart took about half an hour to cook, by which time I was absolutely starving and nearly ate the whole thing. It was tasty, too - the onions were soft and sweet, and though the pastry was noticeably drier than it should be, it was still buttery and crisp.

The following night I spent an hour hungrily watching the Masterchef contestants make quiches, then immediately retired to my own kitchen to use up the remaining pastry (and more of those onions) on some mini quiches. I doubt that mine would have passed muster in the Masterchef kitchen, but I liked them well enough.

This is not the best pastry I've ever made, but that shouldn't be blamed on the recipe. It's more of an error in judgment - I restrained myself from adding more water when I should have gone with my instinct that there wasn't enough in there. Another time, I'll do a better job - maybe the next time I have onions to use.

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