Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart

The tart in the photos was made for a farewell morning tea for a colleague. I’ve worked with her for over 11 years and will miss her knowledge and her willingness to share that knowledge and I’ll also miss her on a personal level.

We had one of my workplace’s famous morning teas to farewell her. Unlike most of my colleagues who are sweet tooths she has a savoury tooth. For that reason instead of making a cake or other sweet baked good I made a caramelised onion and feta tart

This tarts amazing, it has to be as its pushed my incredibly popular spinach dip out the way in most requested thing I make. it sends people into a eating frenzy

Make this and people will be requesting you make it over and over. But that’s ok because it’s so delicious

Lets make us a tart

all of this makes the caramelised onion

and all of this makes the pastry

pastry plus caramlised onions = tasty tasty

Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart – recipe adapted from the Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein

Caramelised Onions

6 red onions cut into thin wedges

375ml water

100gbrown sugar

75ml balsamic vinegar

2tbsp oil

1/2 tsp salt

Place all the ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil then simmer gently, stirring now and then, for about 1 hour until the liquid has all but evaporated and the onions are very soft. It important to keep a close eye on it towards the end to make sure the onions don’t catch and burn/

Remove from the heat and cool before popping into a container and storing in the fridge.

Pastry – you can use puff pastry instead, but this pastry is really yummy
250g strong white flour the stuff you might use of making bread
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
220g frozen butter grated
4tbsp cold water

To make the pastry, mix the flour and baking powder in food processor.

Add the grated butter and process in bursts until it resembles rough crumbs.

Add the cold water a bit at a time until you have a soft dough, Try not to over work the dough otherwise the pastry will end up tough.
Place a large sheet of baking paper on your work surface and tip the dough onto it. Place another sheet of baking Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper until you have about a 35cm circle.

Leave between the baking paper put on a baking tray. Chill in the fridge for min 10 minutes or until ready to use.

Filling
Caramelised Onions (recipe above)
150g feta cheese
2tsp fresh thyme

Preheat your oven to 200C

Take the pastry from the fridge and remove the top layer of baking paper.

Spread the onions over the top leaving an approx. 4cm border all around.

Crumple the feta over the top and sprinkle with thyme.

Fold the pastry edges toward the centre to partially enclose the filling, I will look a little rustic, that’s ok.
Bake for 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and crispy.

Feta Cheese

I bake, cook, like wine, and get easily distracted.  I also make cheese., which if you have read my Haloumi cheese post you’d know about & if you haven’t well it gives the background to my cheese making.

I think my feta is my signature cheese, I’ve made it for enough people and I make it more often than any other cheese (well I only make 2 other types but you know).

I prefer my feta to most bought ones.  It’s not crumbly but more of a creamy type, and y it’s delicious. There are a lot of steps to making it, don’t be overwhelmed its EASY. With just a couple of fancy ingredients available from any cheese making store (there’s heaps online), you could make feta too, really.

Let’s make feta

There is of course fancy milk with fancy culture added

Its heated up

tipped into a sexy blue esky

there’s rennet action

curds and way (eat your heart out little miss muffet)

draining of curds in cheese hoops

totally easy

Feta cheese – recipe adapted from Udder Delights Cheese making class

3 litres of unhomogenized milk (must be unhomogenized)

1/3rd of 1/4 of stater culture

.7ml rennet (this is dependent on your rennet you may need more or less)

10 ml cooled boiled water

100g salt

500mls boiling water

Pop milk in saucepan, add culture to milk.  Heat milk to 35 degrees Celsius (you need to accurate with the temp)

Pour milk into an esky (or something that will maintain the temp)

Put lid on esky, leave in warmish place for 30 mins.

Mix rennet with water and add to milk while stirring for about 30 seconds

Leave for 1 hour.  Don’t move the esky in this hour as its already forming the curd and you risk shattering it before its fully formed

After the hours up take a long knife and cut the curds into 2 cm cubes. I cut it starting from one corner of the esky in 2 cm intervals over to the other side, then go to one of the other corner and cut across to the other side (it’s a bit hard to explain but you want to have it looking like its cut into diamond shapes)

Leave for 1/2 an hour, the you kind of lift the curd. just use a slotted spoon and dip it in and lift the curd up.

Leave 20 mins, stir the curd then leave for another 20 mins

Stir the curd again, it should be sticking together (not just loose cubes)

take some cheese hoops (or any container that has perforations on the bottom & sides) and line with clean chux cloth (yes really chux). Then put these on a wire rack and over put rack over a bowl.

Using slotted spoon fill up cheese hoops with curds. Fill them right up till almost over flowing

Leave for 1 hours, then tip upside down (you will want to have folded the chux on the open end of cheese hoops before doing this)

After another hour tip right way up.  All this tipping helps with draining off the whey

Leave to finishing draining overnight

The next morning you will see the cheese has dropped to about 1/3 its size (this is good, all the whey has drained off), giving you a solid cheese

Now you need to put your cheese in brine.  The brine is made by mixing the salt and boiling water together until salt is dissolved.  It’s a good idea to do this the night before you need to use it so it’s cool as you can’t put the cheese in hot brine

Soak it in brine for 30 mins, then drain on rack for 1 hour.

It’s now ready to eat.  You can pop it in the fridge and it will keep for just over a week. To keep it longer you can marinate it in oil.  The oil will usually be 30 % olive oil & 70 % other oil and you can put garlic, chilli, herbs etc into the oil to flavour the oil and feta.

ta da Feta