Caramelised onion tartlets

    55 min

    Croustades – made from thin slices of bread pushed into bun tins, brushed with melted butter and baked to crisp – are a great alternative to pastry for savoury tartlets. These are filled with a mixture of onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Both the croustades and filling can be prepared ahead, then warmed and assembled for serving.

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    Serves: 12 

    • spray oil, plus 1 tbsp butter, melted
    • 12 thin slices white bread
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 large onions, about 450 g (1 lb) in total, thinly sliced
    • 30 g (1 oz) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped
    • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
    • 30 g (1 oz) walnut pieces
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:55min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF, gas mark 8). Lightly spray 12 deep bun tins with a little of the spray oil. Using a 7.5 cm (3 in) pastry cutter, cut a disc from each slice of bread. Flatten each bread disc with a rolling pin, then press into the buttered bun tins to line them evenly, curving the edge of the bread slightly to make large scallop shapes.
    2. Brush the bread cases with the melted butter and bake for 8–10 minutes or until crisp and golden. Set aside in a warm place until ready to fill. (If made ahead, keep the bread cases in an airtight tin.)
    3. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan with a well-fitting lid. Add the onions and stir well. Cover with the lid and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the onions are very soft.
    4. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook rapidly, stirring, until the onions turn a dark golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (If made ahead, cool the filling and keep in the fridge, then reheat just before filling the bread cases.)
    5. Divide the onion filling among the croustades, then scatter the chopped walnuts over the top. Serve hot.

    Another idea

    Use filo pastry cases instead of croustades. Spray the bun tins with spray oil, then cut 270 g (9½ oz) filo pastry into 9 cm (3½ in) squares (you will need 48 squares). Press 4 squares, at different angles, into each bun tin, then brush with the melted butter. Bake in a preheated 220ºC (425ºF, gas mark 7) oven for 4–5 minutes or until crisp and golden. * For ratatouille tartlets, soften 1 finely chopped onion in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then stir in 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1 small red pepper, seeded and finely diced. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add 1 small aubergine and 1 courgette, both cut into small dice. Cook for 1 minute, then add 55 g (2 oz) finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme. Stir, then cover tightly and cook gently for 15–20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Season, then divide among the warm bread cases. Scatter over 30 g (1 oz) toasted pine nuts and serve.

    Plus points

    Eating walnuts in moderate but regular amounts may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and guard against heart disease and cancer. This is because of the antioxidant nutrients found in walnuts: copper, selenium, vitamin E and zinc.

    Each serving provides

    Good source of vitamin E. Useful source of copper, selenium, vitamin B1.

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