What a big week it’s been for this infatuated foodie.
My wonderful daughter gave birth to a gorgeous, healthy, perfect baby boy on Wednesday morning. All went well and we’ve all fallen in love with the beautiful new baby in our family. Even his soon to be three-year-old sister is enjoying him being around. It’s a big event in the life of a three-year-old, that’s for sure!
Of course the week has meant I’ve not been focused on cooking for the blog – but I have been cooking meals, including helping my daughter’s family out with some food too.
The thing that got me cooking for my next post is that all week I had a hankering for cheese and onion tart. I don’t exactly know why I felt like this particular thing, but my taste buds kept harking back to a visit to York in England, where I once bought a cheese and onion tart from a bakery for a late lunch. It was so simple and surprisingly gorgeous to eat and I’ve never been able to find anything like it since. I just had to make one.
It all came together over the weekend. I had the ingredients, the time and the inclination, so I cooked. I caramelised onions with sprigs of thyme from my herb garden, made pastry and just because I could, I added potato slices, sour cream and bacon to the tart filling mix, which made it rather sublime.
I used Maggie Beer’s rough puff pastry recipe (first discovered in her book, Maggie’s Table and now available online), and drawing inspiration from this wonderful cook’s work, turned the tart into a rustic looking galette. I also made two – one for our dinner and one to share with my daughter and her little family.
Maggie Beer’s buttery pastry was flaky and light, the filling was rich and cooked to perfection. With a glass of red wine, it was the perfect Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch as closure to an amazing week.
Happy cooking to you all xx
Cheese and Onion Galette
The amounts below made two large tarts. Halve the filling if only making one, unless you want a nice thick layer of cheesy onion mix.
Rough Puff Pastry
450g unbleached plain flour
450g chilled unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
250ml cold water
NOTE: if you don’t have unsalted butter handy, just leave the salt out of the recipe
Cheese, onion and potato filling
5 large onions, halved and sliced finely
few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon brown sugar
a little water or white wine, to prevent the onions burning while cooking
a little grinding of nutmeg
250 grams sharp cheddar cheese
4 medium sized dutch cream potatoes, peeled and cut into 5mm slices
2 bacon rashers, rind and fat removed, then cut into small dice
1/4 cup sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 beaten egg for the wash
Begin by making your pastry
For the authentic, do it all on a bench with a pastry scraper method, click on the original recipe here. I cheated, however and used my food processor on the lowest speed for the first part of the process, as follows:
- Place flour and salt into a food processor
- Cut the butter into cubes on a chilled board – preferably granite or marble
- Add to the flour in the food processor and pulse on lowest speed to gently cut the butter through the flour – it’s important to retain large lumps of butter, not cut so much you get the breadcrumb look
- Add the chilled water and still on lowest speed, pulse until the mixture just comes together
- Tip out onto your floured working bench
From here the recipe text is almost word for word Maggie Beer’s:
- At this point the dough will look very lumpy (the butter still in pieces), but it should hold together. (TIF note: I cut the pastry in half and did the following steps on each individual half.)
- Roll out the pastry to make a rectangle about 1.5cm thick. Keeping the longer side of the rectangle parallel to the bench, fold both ends into the centre – it will look like an open book. Then fold one side over the other – to close the book.
- Cover and place pastry in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest
- Repeat this step twice.
- If you only need to use half the pastry, freeze the other half until required.
Prepare the filling
Pour the olive oil into a heavy based deep frying pan and heat. Add the onions and bring to frying point, then turn the heat right down, add the sugar and thyme* and cover to begin a long, gentle cooking process.
If the onions are starting to brown too much, add a little water or white wine to keep them moist. The liquid will evaporate during the cooking process. Allow up to one hour for the onions to cook until they’re gooey, sweet and a lovely caramel colour. Remove from heat, grate in a little nutmeg and set aside to cool before assembling the pastries.
Place sliced potatoes into a large pan with enough water to cover and add a pinch of sea salt. Bring to the boil and cook until just tender. Tip into a colander to drain, refresh under cold water and set aside.
In a small pan, cook the cubed bacon in a little butter until just starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Grate the cheese and set aside.
The fun bit – putting it all together
Once you’ve done the final pastry rest, you can start putting it all together.
Roll the pastry into a large rectangle or oval or circle. If you prefer a more ordered look, line a lightly buttered tart dish with the pastry. For the galette, just place the rolled dough onto a baking tray.
Start by spreading sour cream onto the base of the tart. Use as much or as little as you like – the 1/4 cup noted in the ingredients is a guide only.
Next place cooked potato slices evenly over the sour cream and grind a little pepper over if you want.
Mix the cheese and bacon through your cooled caramelised onion and spread evenly over the potatoes.
Now just fold the pastry over the filling, arranging the corners so they don’t overlap too much. Trim before folding over if there’s too much pastry for you to work with. Finish by painting an egg wash all over the pastry, getting into the crevices and folds for an even, golden bake.
Place into your oven and cook 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is a gorgeous golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Serve on their own or with a little green salad for a light dinner or perfect lunch with friends.
*I tie thyme sprigs together with cooking twine or cotton thread so the twiggy bits are easy to remove at the end of the cooking process. All the leaves fall off the stems during cooking.
You could easily make smaller versions of this by cutting the pastry into rounds or squares. They’d be ideal cold for picnic lunches or fresh from the oven for lunch with friends.
Made neat and small, they’d even make a delicious entrée.
Just leave the bacon out for a vegetarian meal.