My Kitchen Café #8: Get Your Fork, Spoon And Knife Out For Some Savoury Tarts!
Posted Jun 17 2010 12:00am
My Kitchen Café is open, graced by the presence of yet another very good friend, so please come inside and meet her. This month, I’m happy to have Asha who blogs at Fork Spoon Knife . I have to, once again, give Twitter the credit of having introduced us to each other.
Rather than tell you about her myself, I thought I would ask Asha to share something about herself so that you could get to know her a little better, this is what she said.
"Two years back, I swapped out of the world of high finance to that of the high heat of the oven, traded in the excel sheets and complex models for the precision science of baking and art of flavors and moved from penning creative investment ideas to creative culinary experiments. My quest to satiate my voracious appetite takes me on a culinary journey across countries as I try, test, repeat, experiment and master techniques along the way. I am most comfortable swishing around a little of this and a bit of that, while crossing my fingers (secretly!), waiting for the magic to happen. So far, it has worked and it's been much fun sharing these experiences on my blog!!"
I must add that if you haven’t discovered her blog yet, then you should go across for some delightful food, beautiful pictures and good writing. Here is a teaser in the form of her Potato, Goat Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tarts.
When Aparna reached out to me about guest posting, I instantly accepted and then spent a considerable time thinking of what I should post about. Aparna's only constraint was to keep it vegetarian, which, wasn't a problem at all. I was undecided about the cuisine... Should I make something Indian? or from my eternal love cuisine, French?
As I continued to ponder, the weather turned towards the better and I decided I would play to our mutual interest in baking. I also wanted to make something that is simple, versatile and is quick to put together (keeping in mind that the Northern hemisphere is well on it's way to boiling!). Plus, it was my cuz-in-law's last weekend in NY and I still hadn't shown off enough of my baking skills to her!
Tarts, for some reason have always had a great allure to me. The fact that the base, itself, can be anything from a short crust pastry to puff pastry to even yeasted dough just makes them more appealing. Add to that, you can put together any number of things on top of it and the possibilities are infinite.
For these particular tarts, I used puff pastry for the base because it is usually readily available here in the frozen aisle. If you don't have that option, I would easily substitute with any other pastry base without a blink.
As to the assembly itself, I kept it simple and really used ingredients that I had on hand. I built the tart in layers, adding a new flavor profile each time, so that when you bite into it, you get the kick from the medley.
While I used goat cheese in this recipe, I realise it may not be easily available in India. But, the best part of this tart is that you can substitute. Any easy spreadable cheese like ricotta would work here (I wonder if Amul Cheese Spread would work here?! If anyone attempts, please let me know..).
As to the potatoes, I dressed them two ways, sliced real thin (skin on) and pureed and piped out. I did prefer the sliced version, only because it a bit easier to handle.
These tarts made make a lovely light lunch served with a small side of salad. They also make for perfect finger food adding a touch of casual to elegance.
Potato, Goat Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tarts
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 4oz (8 tbsp) log of goat cheese (or other spreadable cheese)
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes, finely diced
2 medium onions, julienned
2 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tsp walnut shavings + more if needed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil as needed
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
Over low heat saute the the onions until they are caramelised and lost most of their water content. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside. Whisk together the cheese and cream to spreadable consistency. Fold in half the sundried tomatoes.
When ready to assemble, cut out 5"x 3" rectagles of the puff pastry. Using a sharp knife, score a 1/2 inch border all around making sure that the knife does not go all the way through.
Spread a liberal amount of the goat cheese spread within the inner rectagle of the pastry. Arrange the caramelised onions over this layer. Top with the slices of potato. Sprinkle some olive oil, salt and the remainder of the sundried tomatoes over the potato layer. Brush the exposed pastry sides with melted butter or olive oil.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from tray and cool for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle walnut shavings over the tarts and serve immediately. You can also add a dollop of the cheese mixture over the tarts!
The copyright for this post and photographs rests with Asha of Fork Spoon Knife and are reproduced here with her permission.