This time of year the local farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh produce. It’s a place I enjoy wandering around seeing what vendors have to offer. Last weekend I picked up a lovely box of redcurrants. I haven’t used these for what seems like eternity and it was a fruit my mom used for jellies. Continue Reading →
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Everyone has their traditional list of sweets to enjoy over the Christmas season. Mine is loosely based on the Victorian era with some tried and tested recipes that have been handed down to me. Mince pie originally contained minced meat (usually a combination of chopped meats), suet (beef fat), dried fruits, and spices. Mom used to make her own mincemeat. It seems odd that something with meat could taste sweet. These days, one can easily find commercial jars of mincemeat, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find any with meat in it. As far back as the 16th century, mince pies were considered part of a traditional British Christmas. Continue Reading →
With all the food experimenting I do, baking with puff pastry has always been a challenge for me. I pore over cookbooks and sites looking for clues as to how to achieve the ultimate crisp and light pastry with flaky golden layers. I do all the things I am supposed to do – preheat the oven for at least 25 minutes, make sure the pastry is cool, the toppings are room temperature but I never knew that choosing the right baking pan can make a difference, too. I read that dark baking sheets may bake pastry faster. Well whatever the case, for me it’s learning from my mistakes and practice, practice, practice! I won’t say that this onion tart was a failure, but it certainly wasn’t the best. I had read (after the fact, of course) to bake the pastry 10 minutes before adding the toppings. The toppings, however, saved the day. I am happy to try this again and hopefully with better, puffier results.
Serves 2 to 4
3 onions, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 400f.
2. Place puff pastry on a baking tray. Prick surface with a fork (this lets steam escape while baking), leaving a 1-inch border untouched. Score a half-inch border all around. Brush the pastry border with a beaten egg.
3. To prepare onions, place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil and onions, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn golden and sweet, 10 to 15 minutes. *Allow onions to cool before adding to puff pastry.
4. Scatter half of cheese over pastry and top with onions. Add remaining cheese and tomatoes over top. Bake until the edges are golden and the bottom is browned, about 20 minutes. Slice and serve hot out of the oven or at room temperature.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: You can also use fontina or Gruyère cheese. Puff pastry is easiest to work with when it’s cold, place whatever you’re not using in the refrigerator, and if the pastry gets too soft while you’re rolling it, simply return it to the fridge to firm it up. Enjoy!
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