Port Caramelised Onion & Goat Cheese Tartlets

This is something for a party, you may know which party I am talking about, the Fiesta Friday Anniversary Party (part 1) ! This week is one year anniversary since a great food & garden blogger, Angie started this virtual party. Fiesta Friday has been fantastic place to finding new blog, getting new recipe and idea and meeting new bloggers.
Big ‘Thanks’ for hosting this party, Angie and this week’s co-hosts, Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board.
So, here I come, I brought you these tartlets to share.

This is one of my favorite tart. I usually make one large tart, but this time I made bite size individual tartlets to fit for a party.

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I love combination of caramelized onion and goat cheese.
Goat cheese can feel dry in a mouth, but soft onion makes these tartlets moist and tasty. I also add cream and egg to make filling on the top, so goat cheese flavor is there but not over powering. If you like stronger goat cheese taste, you can omit filling part, but just top caramelised onion with sliced log of goat cheese.

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Those mini tarts are so moreish.

Port Caramelised Onion & Goat Cheese Tartlets

  • Servings: 20 mini tart
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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You can make apx. 20 mini tartlets, using 12 fairly cake tin OR 1 large tart

short crust pastry

plain flour……. 125g
water……………about 3 tbs

port caramelized onion

red onion… large 2
olive oil…….about 2 tbs
brown sugar…….about 2 tbs
port………………..about 3 tbs
balsamic vinegar……1 tbs

goat cheese filling

soft goat cheese (no rind)…..1 pack (125g)
double cream………….200ml
egg……………………1 M size
salt, black pepper, thyme

(Option: Balsamic syrup)
balsamic vinegar…..250ml
brown sugar………….3tbs

1. First, make short crust pastry.
Put chilled butter in the bowl with flour, cut it into small chunk in the flour. ( I use old fashion pastry cutter. It cuts butter into small bits, and it is handy to use when you are making small quantities of pastry.) Then when is it small enough rub the butter into flour to fine bread crumb stage. Work quickly, so that butter does not melt. Add cold water and make it into a rough ball shape. Wrap and chill. (If you are using food procecer, put flour and butter and blitz, when it is fine bread crumb stage, add a few tbs of water and pulse. Then take it out, and wrap and chill)

2. Make caramelised onion.
Slice onion, and fry it very gently with a little olive oil, with a pinch of salt. It takes time, but cook in low heat, about 45 min to 1 hour, till it is very soft. It will stick to the bottom, so keep stirring time to time.

Then add brown sugar, port and balsamic vinegar. Keep stirring, it will be stickier now. Keep on low heat for 20-30 min. Then leave it to cool.

3. Set oven for 180C. Butter fairly cake tray and dust with flour.

4. Make goat cheese filling. In a bowl, brake up goat cheese, and mix with double cream. It will be thick paste. Add egg and season with salt and pepper.

5. Roll out pastry very thinly, about 2 mm, and cut with a round shape with a cutter. Push it in to a fairly cake tin. (if you are making large tart, you can roll it to 3-4mm)

6. Fill each pastry cases with some onion about half way up. Then top with a spoon full of goat cheese filling. Sprinkle some thyme leaves on top.
(You can put a short stem of thyme in summer. But the stem will be too tough in winter if you are using home grown thyme from your garden, so take tiny leaves off the stem and just use leaves. )

7. Bake in a oven for 15-20 min. Leave it in a tin for a few minute then take it out gently.

8. If you are eating as a starter, you can make balsamic syrup by putting balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small pan, boil and reduce till thicken. You can drizzle this sweet syrup over tartlets.

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With a balsamic syrup on. This syrup taste lovely with salad leaf as well.
I ate those tartlets as a part of my dinner, then munched a couple more while tidying up later on.
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Enjoy Fiesta Friday 1 year anniversary party with lots of drink and many appetizers this week, I will be back with a dessert next week!

Have a happy Friday and Weekend.


Sable Grape Tart

I always like to bake with seasonal fruits, but this was an exception.

One of my friend gave me a punnet of grape bought at supermarket last month, which I had never seen before. The grape was called ‘sable grape’, purple round, medium size grape.
It’s dark purple, but tasted like green muscat grapes. I was in love with this grape, I needed to make something with it.

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I made a fruits tart, with a combination of cheese and grape.

I have to be honest here that my husband who wasn’t keen on this grape because the taste was similar to white wine could eat this tart. So, that mean I lost a bit of special flavour of this grape by combining  it with cream. Maybe if I made jelly or something, I might be able to enjoy the subtle flavour of this grape better. (Or just eat them as they are! I know…)
But this was a tiny weeny problem of this tart, it was a good grape tart anyhow.

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Pâte brisée base, cheese cake, and sour cream topping.

Sable Grape Tart

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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pâte brisée
plain flour….175g
sugar…………1 tbs
egg yolk……..1
cold water…..about 3tsp

cheese cake filling
(any baked cheese cake recipe you like, just adjust quantity)
cream cheese……150g
whipping cream….50cc
plain flour………..2tsp

sour cream filling
sour cream………..125ml
whipping cream….125ml (I cannot remember exact quantity, sorry!)
sugar………………..as you like it

sable grape………..1 pack (you can use muscat grape if you have that)

1. Make pastry. Food processor or by hand. Put flour, cubed butter, sugar and salt in a food processor, and whizz it it become bread crumb texture.
2. Add egg and about 2 or 3 tsp water, and pulse. Take them out and press to make a ball. Chill in fridge for at least 30min.
3. Roll out the pastry thin, and line the tart dish. Chill again. Set oven for 180c
4. Blind bake the tart for about 15min

5. Cream soft cheese and sugar, then add egg, whipping cream, and flour.
6. Spread the cheese cake mixture inside the blind baked tart. Bake till it is set.

7. Once the tart is cooled, whip whipping cream, add sour cream. Add sugar to suit your taste. Then spread this sour cream filling on the top of tart.
8. Place grape nicely over the top.

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I’d make them again this autumn, when European grapes are ready.

(April 2014)

Blood Orange Tart

Here we go again, it’s Friday! Yay!!
Happy Fiesta Friday, party mates!

One of my Japanese friend gave me a little leaflet from a patisserie in Japan, Qu’il fait bon. They sell so many different type of tarts, (quite expensive with some whole tarts priced over 6000yen=£40ish,) often decorated with best quality seasonal fruits with matching cream of some sort.

Looking at the leaflet full of fruit tarts, I wanted to make some fruit tarts myself.
I had been buying blood oranges on sale at a local veg shop recently, and they were so juicy and bright with tint of red, so I decided to do make blood orange tart.

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I wondered what would go with orange?
If I was making a classic strawberry tart, I’ll do with franzipan+patisserie cream+whipped cream. I love this combination, but probably not for orange.

I thought and thought. This was fun. Day dreaming about the tart I’d make.P1070008 (640x481)In the end, I made this with pâte brisée (short crust),  with a base of ‘whole orange+almond cake’, and filled with mascarpone cream with Cointreau. Topped simply with blood orange segment.

Blood Orange Tart

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: intermediate, time consuming
  • Print

pâte brisée
plain flour….175g
sugar….1 tbs
egg yolk….1
cold water….about 3tsp

whole orange +almond cake
(which was originally from Nigera Lawson, Clementine Cake, very nice as it is. The recipe below is adjusted to use in this tart.)
small orange/mandline/clementine….60g
ground almond….50g
egg…..1 L size
baking powder….1/6tsp

mascarpone cream
mascarpone…..250g (a tub)
sugar…. about 3 tbs (you need to check the taste. I cannot remember!)
whipping cream….125cc
cointreau….about 1tbs

1. Make pastry. Food processor or by hand. Put flour, cubed butter, sugar and salt in a food processor, and whizz it it become bread crumb texture.
2. Add egg and about 2 or 3 tsp water, and pulse. Take them out and press to make a ball. Chill in fridge for at least 30min.
3. Roll out the pastry thin, and line the tart dish. Chill again.

4. Cook orange in a small pan, as a whole or just cut in half, with water just covering the orange.
5. Once the orange is soft, take it out of water, and make it into puree using a hand blender. (skin as well, but take out pips)
6. Mix orange puree with almond, sugar, and egg with a whisk.
7.Blank bake the pastry with baking stone/beans for 15 min or so.
8. Fill the base of patry with orange cake filling and bake till filling is baked.

9. Make mascarpone filling. Cream mascarpone cheese with sugar & cointreau. Taste the cheese and see, as you add sugar. (I cannot be sure how much sugar I put in. you just need to adjust it.)
10. Whip whipping cream to soft peak. Add cream to mascarpone cheese. Taste the cream & check the sweetness.

11. Cut orange into segments.
12. Once the tart is cooled, fill the tart with mascarpone cream. Top with orange.
13. If you like you can graze it with sugar syrup with veg gelatine to give it a shine.

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The tart was really fresh and tasty. Loved the colour of blood orange.
(March 2014)

Tarte aux Pommes: Apple Tart



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 Tarte aux Pomme or French apple tart.

We went to stay over at my sister-in-law’s last weekend, and this is what I made to take with us.

I often bake goods as a gift when I am invited to someone’s house.
It’s fun to think about what to make, but it can be tricky.

Something tasty.
Also it has to be something which travels well.
It would be good if it was seasonal.
It would be great if it was beautiful or interesting.
It would never be good if it was something the person doesn’t like or cannot eat.

We needed to drive for a few hours + not sure if they liked whipped cream = no cream.
Chocolate is everyone’s favourite but it is Lent now. = No chocolate, just in case.

With those restriction, I decided to make something with apple. I thought it is ‘safe’ fruit.
But I done ‘apple pie’ and ‘apple cake’ before for them. I needed something slightly new, but not too far from the comfort zones (ie: my baking comfort zone and the receiver’s eating habit’s comfort zone, both!) .

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This tart is made with short crust pastry, frangipane, and sliced apple.
Simple but tasty.

Recipe I used was from here. Allrecipes.co.uk Tarte aux Pommes
I added 1 TBS of sugar to the pastry, to give a just a bit of sweetness to it.
I didn’t have apple brandy, so I just used normal brandy. I think it gave nice flavour even it’s just normal brandy, rather than not adding anything.

It was success at my sister-in-law’s anyway, and I will do this again next Autumn.

Happy Fiesta Friday!

(March 2014)

Banana Chiboust

It was our 8th Anniversary the other day, and I wanted to make something nice for dessert, so I decided to try a new cake.

Chiboust tart/cake with Banana, as I’d made promise to myself that I will do one more Banana thing during fairtrade fortnight. I think I’ve seen it somewhere before.

Chiboust cake is a cake made with puff pastry tart, fruits with baked custard cream, topped with Chiboust cream (Crème saint-honoré), and caramelized top.
Chiboust cream is pastry cream (egg custard) mixed with Italian meringue, with little bit of gelatine for this cake. Simply put, it’s fluffy custard.

Often Chiboust tart is made with apple, but some recipe had berries or peach, so why not with Banana?

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I made rough puff pastry, and lined 12cm round tin. Bake, then baked again filled with nutmeg flavour custard and caramelized banana.
Made pastry cream and add gelatine, in the same time, made Italian meringue and folded in. Set in fridge (see below, could been better in freezer?).
Assembled tart and set Chiboust cream.
Topped with sugar, caramelized under the grill (if you have burner, use it!).

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Check any recipe, with “Chiboust”  tart or pie on line, and look for recipe you fancy. But make sure the recipe use mixture of Italian meringue and pastry cream (egg custard), as that is the Chiboust cream, same cream used in St.Honore.
(Sorry I cannot present recipe I can say it’s mine and happy with it yet! )

I cannot honestly tell you that this cake was perfect. I’d change a few points next time.

First of all, I did choose authentic version of the tart, apart from the choice of fruits, but I should have chosen to alter recipe to suits fruits.
Baked banana didn’t work!
I’m not sure if that is due to banana itself being baked or ripeness of banana I used. Baked banana reminded me of cooked plantains.
So, it would be better skipping baking custard filling but just lay caramelized banana, and topped it with Chiboust cream. That will work. (or I should just done it with apple, that way, baked apple is yum)

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Secondary, I would buy blow torch to caramelize sugar, or I will freeze Chiboust cream first.  I used grill to caramelize sugar but it took a bit too long for soft cream, and it made Chiboust cream a bit wobbly, nearly melting.

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Thirdly, I would do Chiboust cake in smaller personal size, rather than making large one to share. Just purely visual point. When it was made to share, the hard caramelized top cracks when cut & served.

Anyhow, it was tasty and I enjoyed making new cake.

Although there were some points for improvement, I was successful at making rough puff pastry, and chiboust cream, so I was pretty happy! Yay!

Happy Fiesta Friday! 

(March 2014)

Apple Tarte Tatin


I hadn’t made tarte tatin until this year. I always thought I cannot make it because I do not have a frying pan which can be on the hob and into oven, as many recipe suggest to do.

I love the combination of  fruits and caramel, so I was missing out something which could be one of my favourite dishes.

So, I decided to try without oven safe frying pan.

Simply doing caramel on frying pan I have, and then transferring whole apple and caramel into oven safe pie dish and cover with puff pastry.
And it works!

I did apple tart tatin this year twice. One ended with too many liquid, so changed recipe and it was success as this picture.

The recipe I referred is this one,
The Guardian: How to Cook Perfect Tarte Tatin

I used Pink Lady apple I had and home made puff pastry.
The article tells you how to reduce liquid of apple by cutting and putting it in fridge overnight before cooking. Interesting!

Sadly, I forgot  to add cinnamon, but it was good dish anyhow.

One of my friend made me pear tarte tatin in same day, which had whole lot of flavour with cinnamon, star anise and vanilla. It was delicious!

I need to remember to put spice in next time, and I shall try making one with pear as well. (I did Banana one before, which was quite nice too.)
Oh, I knew it will be one of my favourite!

(Nov 2013)



Rustic Fig Tart

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I made this tart some time ago, when fresh figs were on sale on my local green grocers. I don’t see it any more now, so, sadly, fresh fig season must have gone.

I like figs in salad, with goat cheese and wall nuts. After I’ve made a few fig salad of the season, my husband asked for a sweet fig dish.

So, I experimented with 1 1/2 fig I had left, and made this small rustic tart.

The base is shortcrust pastry, which I made very roughly, so there is no recipe.
I lay it into small round edge tart dish (16 or 18cm). I left edge uncut.
I put some hedgerow jam (mix of apple, blackberry, black current, etc…) on base, and filled with frangipan, then topped with sliced fresh figs.
(Frangipan is almond cream/sponge, simply made with 1egg, 50g sugar, 50g ground almond. )
After filling inside, I just rolled the edge of the pastry inside way, so that I don’t waste any pastry. It’s a simple rustic tart after all.

When it is baked, it came out of the tart case very well, like a small fig parcel.

P1060299 (640x481)So, I packed it up, and took it to my friend’s for coffee.
My husband who asked for sweet fig dish in first place didn’t get any! Sorry. x

(Oct 2013)