My greedy brain can get a bit over-excited in Autumn because there are so many beautiful ingredients that I want to eat. I hadn’t planned on making these tartlets but there was a basket full of figs at the supermarket so I had no choice but to roast them with blue cheese and red onion. The pastry is so easy (I’m not a natural baker!) and you can change the blue cheese to goats’ or aged cheddar if you prefer. They are picture perfect and make a lovely lunch or canape.
Makes 9 Tartlets
125g cream cheese
125g plain flour
50g unsalted butter
60g blue cheese
1 red onion
fresh or dried thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- Put the flour, cream cheese and butter into a food processor and use the pulse button to mix. Doing lots of little pulse mixes rather than turning it on to full speed stops the blade getting hot. If the blade gets hot it melts the butter and we want the butter to melt in the oven not in the food processor. Once the dough comes together pop it in the fridge while you prepare the filling. It needs 20 minutes in the fridge.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Peel the onion then cut in half and slice into 2mm wide strips. Pop the onion slices into the frying pan and grind over some salt then keep an eye on the onions, stirring regularly. We want the water to evaporated out of the onion so that the natural sugars can come out and taste amazing. You don’t want the onions to crisp so the heat shouldn’t be too high. Once the onions are soft and jammy turn off the heat and grind over some black pepper and sprinkle over a teaspoon of thyme.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan) with a shelf positioned near the top. Take the pastry out of the fridge and put onto a floured surface then roll out to a 25cm x 30cm rectangle. Use a scone cutter to cut out 9-12 tartlets. Put each pieces into a muffin tray hole then cover with a small piece of greaseproof paper and fill with ceramic beads or dried beans to weigh down the paper. Pop the tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. This means you get a crispy pastry that will hold its shape. Take the blind baked shells out and turn down the oven to 195°C (175°C fan), remove the paper then:
1) Divide the onion mixture between the tartlets
2) Cut the figs into 8ths (half, then quarters then 8ths)
3) Crumble some blue cheese on top of the ) onions then
4) Top with 2 or 3 pieces of fig
5) Drizzle the maple syrup (or honey) over each tart then finish with fresh thyme
These can be made then reheated in a low oven for 15 minutes or they can be eaten cold.