To err is human; to tart, divine.
I used to think that tarts were just wasted pies. I felt cheated by them, robbed of an extra layer of pastry goodness. All tarts, I swore, would be improved with a lid on top of them.
But how wrong I was. This recipe has me eating my words, literally. Having no lid to cover it, the creamy onion and mushroom filling in these tarts caramelises beautifully in a hot oven. Add to that some fresh thyme and salty capers, and you've got yourself some very special tarts - no lids necessary.
Enjoy them alone, in your Sunday 'roast', with a crisp green salad, or with a nice cold pint.
Caramelised Onion, Caper, and Mushroom Tarts
Makes: 2 tarts (of roughly 14cm in diameter, 3.5cm in depth)
Preparation time: c. 60 minutes
For the pastry...
170g plain flour (white or wholemeal, whichever you prefer)
85g vegan butter
A cup of ice-cold water
A pinch of ground sea salt
For the filling...
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 brown or white onions, finely sliced
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp capers (pickled and/or brined), roughly chopped
300g mushrooms, finely sliced
200ml non-sweet vegan cream
1 tbsp plain flour
15g fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and black pepper to taste (I like plenty)
1./ First make the pastry. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with a pinch of salt, then rub in the butter with your fingertips. You'll get a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs. To this add some cold water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing and pressing the dough together with your hands as you do. You will not need all the water -just enough to form a smooth, pliable dough. Tip the pastry out onto a clean, floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin to an even sheet of about 3-4 mm thick. Press carefully into the tart dishes, trim, and refrigerate while you make the filling.
2./ Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius. Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan. Over a medium-high heat fry the garlic and onion with the sugar until golden and caramelised, stirring frequently. Add the capers and mushrooms and continue frying. Once the mushrooms are fully cooked, add the cream and the thyme leaves (reserving a few to top the tarts), and cook for a further 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour and stir till thickened. Season to taste and stir again. Take off the heat and remove your pastry cases from the fridge.
3./ Spoon the hot mushroom filling into the tart cases. Bake for 10 minutes at 225 degrees Celsius, then another 20 minutes or so at 200, or until the tarts are golden and caramelised on top.
4./ Top the tarts with more thyme and serve hot or leave to cool and refrigerate.