Add this little appetizer to your holiday list of things to make and you'll have some happy people. A delicious appetizer that can be prepared in advance and baked just before serving. With sweet caramelized onions, crispy pastry, salty goats cheese a a drizzle of balsamic reduction, what's not to love!
We're nearing the end of November and steam rolling straight into the holiday season. I know for a lot of people, that means getting food inspired!
There's far more to Christmas than the turkey. In fact, I know many people don't even have turkey at Christmas. I might be teetering that way myself this year as we're travelling on the 26th and we might be better off going for something a little less fussy on Christmas day. To be decided.
I remember about 5 or 6 years ago, we opted not to do Christmas lunch and went for all tapas instead. We were not disappointed. In fact, part of me enjoyed it more than the big feast. So, this year is still on the fence.
All that aside, I sill enjoy making appetizers throughout the holiday period. Whether it be for just our little family or when we have friends over, it always seems to be successful.
And these little bites, go down a treat every single time.
If you don't use frozen puff pastry for making appetizers, you're seriously missing out. I have found over the years, that's it's not only a huge time saver but so versatile. There's not too much you can't do with that stuff. When I used to host big Christmas parties with an even bigger selection of appetizers, puff pastry would become my best friend. I would always have two to three appetizers using the stuff. And guess what? It always gets eaten.
So, let's take a look at these Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts and what makes them so darn delicious.
After I took the photos of the ingredients above, I realised that I needed two onions for this recipe. If you are familiar with caramelizing onions, you know they sweat down so much they almost become non existent!
I love the flavour of caramelized onions, they are incredibly sweet and delicious. The trick is not too cook them too fast. I always start them off on a high heat and stir a few times to get them all nice and browned. Then I'll reduce the heat to medium low to let them caramelize. You can add small splashes of water or even wine through the caramelizing stage if you note they are sticking to the pan. I find I usually need a little bit of water. Most likely it will depend on what kind of pan you are using. If you are using a non stick type of pan, you will most likely not need to add any water. These onions were cooked for almost 25 minutes to achieve this level of caramelizing.
It's best to work with puff pastry when it's cold. As it warms up, it softens and it will be difficult to cut into perfect little squares. Exhibit A below! As in, I left it out too long and it was a bit of work to cut out the squares. So, it best to defrost the pastry in the fridge and keep it there until you are ready to use it.
Then cut it into equal squares and place them on a parchment lined baking tray.
I like to brush the edges of the pastry with a beaten egg. This gives them a golden touch! It's also easier to brush the edges before you add the onions.
Place a spoonful of the caramelized onions in the middle of each pastry square.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until golden and puffed.
If you're new here, the full recipe is below all the photos or you can jump straight to the downloadable or printable copy here. There is also a link at the top of the page (below the first photo), to jump straight to the recipe!
When this type of goat's cheese is at room temperature, it becomes quite soft. It's best to crumble the cheese when it's cold. I just roughly crumbles it apart like you see here. Then just toss a little cheese on top of each pastry square.
A drizzle of balsamic reduction with finely chopped parsley and you're done! A delicious party appetizer to be enjoyed by all!
In case you don't know what balsamic reduction is, it's basically balsamic vinegar that's been cooked over a very low heat until it thickens and sweetens. I buy it at my local supermarket in the vinegar isle. I noticed a lot of places sell it and you can click here to see what it looks like. Don't use straight balsamic vinegar. The vinegar will be to sharp and you're looking for an almost sweet little glaze to finish off this appetizer. If you don't have balsamic reduction, you can try making it!!! It's super easy but it takes a bit of time. Check out this video on how to make it yourself. If you're not overly fussed, you can just skip the drizzle all together.
I can't count the number of times I have made these. And each time, there are zero leftovers. I only realized a few weeks back that I didn't have them on the blog. What? That had to change because they are too delicious not to share.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes, like so many appetizers, you can make these ahead of time. Just just quickly pop in the oven and finish them off before serving.
Caramelized onions can be made up to four days before using them. Just make them and store them in a jar or or sealed container.
If you're using frozen puff pastry, take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cut it into squares. Then just simply cut them into squares and place on the baking tray. Cover and refrigerate. This can be done in the morning if you are planning to serve these in the evening.
The goats cheese can also be crumbled and put back in the fridge early on.
Yes, you can also top the pastry squares with the caramelized onions and keep it in the fridge until baking time. If you plan to do this, make sure the caramelized onions have cooled.
An easy and impressive make ahead appetizer.
If you are planning a party or just a little dinner for two, these would make a great addition. They can be eaten after they have been sitting for a few hours, but they are honestly best fresh out of the oven. When I made these a few weeks back for this recipe. we reheated them for about 5 minutes in the oven later in the day. The pastry crisped up again and they were surprisingly great. So, that's also an option to think about if you really have no time to make them fresh for guests. But I will stress, they are BEST fresh made.
Oh, I almost forgot, Happy American Thanksgiving to all my American readers out there. As well as (of course), my friends. I hope you are all having a fun filled festive day whatever you are up to. Enjoy and eat lots.
Happy cooking friends and keep the freezer stocked with puff pastry!
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts
Makes 12 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Cook time: 40 minutes
1 Sheet puff pastry
2 Onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 Goat cheese roulade
Fresh chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
Crumble the goat's cheese and set aside.
In a medium skillet set over high heat, add the olive oil and the sliced onions. Cook over high heat until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and all the onions to continue to cook for a further 15 - 20 minutes or so until they become a deep golden colour and are really soft. Stir occasionally through the cooking process. Remove from heat.
Cut the pastry into 12 equal squares and place on the baking tray. Brush the edges of the pastry with the whisked egg. Place a spoonful of the onions in the centre of each pastry square. Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden and puffed. Remove from oven.
Top with crumbled cheese, balsamic reduction and a sprinkle of parsley. Serve straight away.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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