The other morning, while I was preparing a lunch for one of my regular business clients, they phoned me to say that two of their guests were vegetarians! This is the sort of thing that happens often to a caterer and I now know that there is ALWAYS something delicious that can be rustled up from the pantry! I was cooking sausage rolls for the rest of the crowd, so needed to think of a delicious alternative to make my vegetarians feel equally loved.
I took a quick look in the fridge and found a packet of cream cheese and a tub of red onions that I had caramelised for a tart the day before.
I made some quick shortcrust pastry, and put it all together!
This would make a nice treat for lunch, or if made smaller would make a good drinks party nibble!
One of the fab things about this recipe is that their is no 'blind baking', making it quite a quick thing to pull together.
A 'well behaved' shortcrust pastry
175g plain flour
90g chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbs cold water
(use the egg white, beaten, to egg wash the edges)
Preheat the oven to 200C
Put flour, butter, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until it looks evenly sandy (if you don't have one, you will have to rub in the old fashioned way!)
Add egg yolk and water. Pulse again (or if using a Thermomix 21 seconds @ speed 4.5) just until it all comes together in large clumps, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Bring it all together gently, handling as little as possible, to form a nice flat round patty. Ideally, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes. If you don't have time to rest the pastry, just roll it straight out on the work top, turning 1/4 turn after each roll, until you end up with an evenly rolled, thin square of pastry.
Caramelised red onions
2 red onions, peeled and sliced into thin semi-moons
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs pomegranate molasses
large pinch salt
pinch of ground black pepper
While the pastry is resting, make the onions (unless you too have some left over in the fridge as I did!)
Peel and half 2 red onions, then cut into thin slices across the grain.
Put the onion into a small baking tray and sprinkle on a good pinch of salt, a pinch of ground black pepper, the olive oil and pomegranate molasses,. Toss it all together and place in the oven for about 12 minutes. Allow to cool.
Using a 3" round cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can (actually, there is no reason why you couldn't just do squares and it would mean less wastage - but I did circles!)
In the centre of each circle, put a teaspoon of cream cheese and top with a teaspoon of caramelised red onion.
Brush the beaten egg white around the rim of the pastry, then push together the 4 sides, pinching in the corners, to create the parcel. The middle of the filling should show.
Bake in the oven for about 14 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and the filling has slightly puffed up.