Sunday, 3 April 2011

What to bake for a birthday of your beloved one when his not a fan of sweet pastries and cakes, and at the sight of thick, luscious creams... just want to say ‘oh no thank you very much’.... Well, and how to please the palate of your beloved one... I can’t say which birthdays is that as I get myself into serious trouble here :) but I assume that he is still young – at least he says so :) I must admit that the plan is partly selfish because I am not a fan of sweets too and my refusing reaction to a chocolate or biscuits offer always causes people to look at me like I was from another planet :) heheh Well! I'm not from another planet but I can easily swap sweets for a delicious sandwich with fresh bread, with an excess of lettuce and some good cheese....

But coming back to the subject, I got another problem with this birthday business – lack of time.... I wish the day was longer – maybe 48 hours long day would be perfect?!
So after returning home I began hurriedly flip through magazines and cookbooks in search of something that would even resemble the appearance of a birthday treat. Well, I found these mini tarts that can be made in just an express pace and contain everything that I could find at the moment in our fridge - brilliant! I thought – I don’t need to go shopping (uffff great relief), I do not have to spend half a day in the kitchen, and I can already imagine the smile on his face.... Mine too :)

So let’s start:

Mini Onion Tarts with Anchovies
First, shortcrust pastry - the easiest recipe that I got once from a friend and is great in about every recipe for tarts - sweet, spicy, the quick ones and the most demanding. And I have to admit that there is no way to not get it right and a number of components is a super minimal:

125g plain flour
75g butter; chilled and diced
1 egg

Knead all the ingredients together into a thick, smooth dough. Then form a ball, wrap in foil and put it into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

Ingredients for filling:
2 tbsp Olive Oil
30g Butter
450g Onions, thinly sliced
750g Curd Cheese
115ml Milk
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Cumin Seeds, crushed (optional)
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground
60g Anchovy Fillets, halved lengthways

Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured board, then use a glass with large diameter to cut it and line the muffin tin. Chill for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil and butter in a pan, and add the onions. Cover and cook over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not browned. Uncover and cook for a further 4–5 minutes, or until golden. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans, and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Spoon the onions into the pastry case, spreading them in an even layer. Beat together the curd cheese, milk, eggs, and cumin, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour into the flan case. Lay the anchovy fillets in a S letter shape on top, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set. Serve warm.

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