Tartlets, those delightful miniature pastries, have a long history dating back to medieval times. They were originally made as open-faced pies filled with sweet or savory ingredients, often enjoyed at royal banquets. Today, we’re going to explore a modern twist on this classic treat – Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets. These bite-sized wonders are a harmonious fusion of sweet, caramelized onions and tangy goat cheese, all encased in a buttery, flaky pastry shell. They make for an elegant appetizer or a delightful addition to your brunch spread. So, let’s don our chef hats and aprons and embark on this flavorful journey!
1. Prepare the Pastry:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Add the cold diced butter and use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to blend it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Gradually add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough just comes together.
- Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Caramelize the Onions:
- Heat olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.
- Sprinkle sugar over the onions to aid in caramelization and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Prepare the Goat Cheese Filling:
- In a bowl, combine the softened goat cheese and heavy cream. Whisk until smooth.
- Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Roll Out the Pastry:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled pastry dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.
- Cut out twelve 4-inch circles from the dough (you can use a cookie cutter or a round object as a guide).
5. Assemble the Tartlets:
- Gently press the pastry circles into the tartlet pans, making sure to trim any excess dough.
- Prick the bottom of each pastry shell with a fork to prevent puffing.
- Fill each tartlet with a spoonful of caramelized onions, followed by a dollop of the goat cheese mixture.
6. Bake and Serve:
- Place the tartlets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is slightly puffed and set.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool in the tartlet pans for a few minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve these delectable Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets warm or at room temperature, garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme.