All tarted up

[Recipe 1] CARAMELISED RED ONION JAM transforms into
Seasons Greetings! We had 18 family members at our place yesterday for Christmas lunch, and apart from the busted table leg, unidentified stains and mountains of wrapping paper in every nook; it was just ace. Today I’m officially pooped.
I whipped up a batch of sticky Caramelised red onion jam last week; a recipe originally based on this one. I’ve played with the ingredients over the years though, and now toss in red raisins and a good pinch of cloves. It’s beautiful dolloped on a hamburger or in a steak sandwich but my favourite use for it is in my Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart, which went down an absolute treat yesterday.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve made this tart. It’s a ripper – lightly sweet, full of fresh basil, and great for picnics. I’m also fairly certain it sufficiently distracted the four vegetarians from the large pink animal leg at the opposite end of the Christmas table.

Caramelised red onion jam

[Recipe 1] Caramelised red onion jam

Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 large red (purple/Spanish) onions (approx. 1 kilo/2.2 lb), halved, thinly sliced
50g (1.7 oz) brown sugar
¼ cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
6 thyme sprigs
50g (1.7 oz) large red raisins (or black if unavailable), roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook the onions over a medium heat, uncovered; stirring regularly, for 20 minutes, until just starting to stick.
Add the sugar, vinegar, cloves, thyme sprigs and raisins. Stir to combine, cover, and simmer over a low heat for a further 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is sticky and jammy. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5–10 minutes, if necessary, to ensure all liquid has evaporated. Take care not to burn the onions!
Season well with salt and pepper. Fish out the thyme sprigs and discard. Allow to cool.
Reserve 1 cup Caramelised red onion jam for the Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart.

  • The Caramelised red onion jam will keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.
  • Caramelised red onion jam can also be spooned into hot sterilised jars, and will keep in the fridge for 2–3 months.
  • Caramelised red onion jam is a delicious accompaniment to roast beef or bangers and mash; and is fabulous with chopped roast chicken and grated sharp cheddar cheese in a wrap.
  • Red raisins are available from health food stores and add a lovely burst of pink to the jam.

Caramelised onion, roast tomato, basil tartCaramelised onion and roast tomato tart

[Recipe 2] Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart

Ingredients (serves 6):
1½ sheets store-bought shortcrust pastry, thawed (or ½ quantity home-made shortcrust pastry)

60g (2 oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, or Parmesan if unavailable
♦ 1 cup reserved Caramelised red onion jam

5 eggs
150ml (5 fl oz) cream (I’ve used both light cooking cream and double cream – either is fine)

2 Roma tomatoes, roasted and quartered (see this recipe for technique)
8 large basil leaves, torn; plus extra for scattering
60g (2 oz) goat’s cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Grease a 3cm (1-inch) deep, 25cm (10-inch) fluted tart tin, with removable base.
If using home-made pastry, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between 2 sheets of baking paper) until 3mm (⅛-inch) thick. Working quickly, roll the dough into a circle (joining pieces together if necessary) about 4cm (1½-inch) wider in diameter than your tart tin.
Line the tart tin with pastry, gently pressing down into the edges, and trim to fit.
Blind bake the pastry to prevent it going soggy: cover pastry base with baking paper and fill with pastry weights (or uncooked rice). Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove paper and weights. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Scatter the Parmigiano Reggiano over tart base.
Spoon reserved Caramelised red onion jam over Parmigiano Reggiano.
Whisk eggs and cream together and pour into tart case, followed by the tomatoes, basil and goat’s cheese. Push all the ingredients down into the egg mixture a little.
Bake for 30 minutes until filling is just set.
Serve at room temperature, scattered with extra basil.

  • You can make and blind bake the pastry case ahead and freeze for up to two months, or store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Roasted Roma tomatoes can be replaced with 4 large well-drained sundried tomatoes, halved.
  • If you’re working with fresh pastry (not frozen) you can choose to freeze an extra pastry base too. I always make two, and freeze one for future use. Picnic season is upon us!
  • This recipe can also be used for a 2cm (.8″) deep, 30cm (11.8″) fluted tart tin, with removable base. No need to adjust the ingredients.