Friday, 3 May 2013

No Tears My Sweet

Torta Salata di Cipolle Rosse Caramellate, Fichi Secche, Camembert & Rosmarino
Caramelized Red Onion, Dried Fig & Camembert & Rosemary Tart

Forget all the tears and get busy slicing- you are going to love this sweet and savory, caramelized red onion and fig tart and are sure to end up with a smile on your face even if you begin with the odd tear in your eyes...

I had the idea of cooking the onions together with dried figs in order to sweeten them up whilst re-hydrating the figs with a savory component- which I have to say was pretty close to genius as the combination turned out to be truly delicious! Rosemary, Herbs de Provence and Camembert cheese gave this a certain "je ne sais pas" which may just make you and your guests say "Ooh la-la!" And it kind-of makes me daydream of the South of France a little...

I began by finely slicing a large red onion and popping it into a non-stick pan with just enough water to cover the base. Whilst the water was coming up to the boil, I cut 4 dried figs into quarters and added them, along with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of cumin and a little finely chopped garlic. I stirred these together well, and within a minute or so found that the water had evaporated away and been soaked up by the figs and onions... so I added a little more water and continued stirring gently for a further 2-3 minutes. 

Soon, the water began to gain a slightly syrupy consistency from the sugar in both the onion and the figs and it was this that would give my tart such a wonderful flavor. The figs softened up and cooked very quickly and within 5 minutes the onion was soft and tender too, so I set them aside to cool and at the same time, turned on the oven nice and high to heat up, making sure my baking tray was on the shelf so it would be really hot once I was ready to get baking! 

And obviously, whilst the onion cooled down and the oven heated up I got busy preparing the pastry for my tart. before I started on that though, I did one more thing- and that was to pop the camembert into the freezer for 5-6 minutes so that it would be cold and firm to cut... it is good to think ahead and otherwise it is hard to slice as it is so soft and sticky... so as always there is a little multi-tasking to be done, but it is all great fun!

So, I cut my pastry into a square, but really, you can make yours whichever shape you prefer- just make sure to add a couple of strips of extra pastry to the outside edges for a little extra height and to squeeze them down with a fork a little so that they hold together during baking. And then get busy adding your topping! I started off with a few slices of camembert first, so that it would hold the other ingredients into place when it melted. I spread the onion and figs out evenly and then added the additional cheese on top. I added a little rosemary and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper and popped it into the oven at 400°F for around 15-20 minutes until it was puffed-up and baked golden brown, then gave it an additional 2 minutes under the broiler for a last finishing touch.

I sprinkled a few tiny rosemary leaves and a little finely ground Herbs de Provence on top just before serving and they went wonderfully with the rich, sweet and scrumptious topping! Perfect hot or cold, this is a quick, simple and inexpensive dish to thrill your friends with at any dinner party. Or at any other time come to think of it! In any case- be sure to try this out and be sure to enjoy! And trust me- any tears flowing at the end of this onion adventure are going to be tears of joy!

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