There is something so beautiful about the marriage of goats cheese and onion that it isn’t a surprise that this gorgeous couple are so often paired together on starters and nibbles the world over. The sticky sweet jaminess of the caramelised onions, usually with a subtly acidic quality, blends incredibly with the creamy yet salty soft goats cheese. In tart form, the goats cheese often has that slightly charred topping from the heat of the oven but within is a soft and mellow. Once placed within a flaky pastry crust I truly do think this is one of the greatest textural combinations ever put to a plate, and its powerfully savoury punch is second to none.
Of course, there are thousands of recipes for a goats cheese and onion tart out there so I had to impart a few changes of my own. This recipe utilises the rounded sweetness of honey and the gorgeous, spiced qualities of bourbon to take this dish up to 11. As you can see in the pictures, I also topped mine with some crisp, honey glazed bacon just to really drive home the almost BBQ nature of the variation. However, the umami vibes of the goats cheese more than make this “meaty” enough for vegetarians without the bacon.
- Pre-rolled shortcrust pastry
- Several red onions – approx 1 for every 2 medium or 3 small tarts
- A few tbsp runny honey
- A few generous glugs of whiskey
- Soft goats cheese
- Optional bacon for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Chop your onions nice and small – I dice mine, but you could easily slice into strips. They will break down and soften a lot in the cooking process so it doesn’t matter too much. Add them to a large pot with a tbsp oil and a tsp or so of salt. Put on a low heat on the stove and add the lid. Allow to cook, stirring every 5 minutes or so, for at least 20 minutes, until they’re nice and soft – a bit like you might expect to be served on a fairground hotdog. The lid is important as it keeps in steam to encourage the softening. If they start to catch on the bottom of the pan add a couple of spoonfuls of water and stir to release any stuck bits.
- Add a few tbsp honey (I did around 4 to make 6 tarts) and a few glugs of whiskey. Allow this to cook, stirring well, until the mixture is jammy and moist but no longer wet.
- Use round pastry cutters/the rim of a large glass to cut your pastry cases and put into lightly oiled muffin tins. Add enough onion mixture to fill the space but not overflow from each case, then top with a little slice/dollop of goats cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry has cooked and the goats cheese is beginning to brown.
- Remove each tart from the tin and allow to rest on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before eating. These are perfectly delicious hot or cold!
- Optional honey glazed bacon – put a few rashers of bacon onto a baking tray and bake at 180 for 20 minutes, until brown and beginning to crisp. Use a pastry brush to paint a little honey onto each one, then return to the oven for 3 or 4 more minutes. Remove and let cool completely before slicing into thin strips/small squares to top the tarts with.