French Onion Tarts

*French Onion Tarts*
Makes 4 single serving tarts

Your favourite soup in a tart.  Delicious!

1 sheet of all butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
6 medium brown onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf, broken in half
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS calvados (apple brandy)
1 tsp liquid beef stock extract
8 TBS finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices of Jarlsberg or Gruyere Cheese
8 buttery round crackers
To finish:
some milk
coarsely ground black pepper
sea salt flakes

Melt the butter, together with the oil in a large skillet.  Add the onions, garlic, shallot, thyme, bay leaf and black pepper to taste.   Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften and caramelize.  Stir in the calvados and beef stock.  Stir in  half of the grated Parmesan cheese.  Remove the bay leaf.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required, adding salt and pepper if needed.  Set aside to cool somewhat.

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Have ready four tart tins of small shallow single serving casserole dishes.   Butter them. 

Cut the puff pastry into four rectangles.   Press these rectangles down into the buttered dishes.   Allowing some overhang and pinching it somewhat in the corners decoratively.   Divide the onion mixture equally amongst the four dishes.   Crumble 1 cracker over top of each.  Top with a slice of Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese.  Crumple another cracker on top of each again.  Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Brush the corners of the pastry with a bit of milk and sprinkle decoratively with some coarse black pepper and sea salt flakes.  Place the four dishes on a baking tray and bang the tray into the oven.   Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and the cheese is gooey.   Serve hot.

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