Vegan tartlets


Winter is the perfect time to cook tasty pies! Keep your friends full and warm through the chilly months with these delicious vegan caramelised onion tartlets with shortcrust pastry.


Credit: Martin Thompson

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Savoury Shortcrust Pastry

Preparation time: 20 mins plus 60 mins chilling time

This makes 24 tartlets. If desired, the recipe can be halved to make enough to cover a 9 inch pie or tart tin.
The technique for great shortcrust pastry is to rub the fat into the flour to form a consistency of breadcrumbs, to "coat" the flour, so that when the pastry chills, the fat solidifies again (chilling also allows the gluten strands to relax) and when the pastry bakes the fat provides little pockets of richness, making the pastry slightly crumbly and melt in the mouth. The ratios of flour to fat to liquid are slightly different for standard and gluten free pastry, so please note these when making your chosen pastry.

Standard recipe:
2 cups plain flour
2 cups besan (chickpea) flour
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 to 1 cup non dairy milk, ice cold

Gluten-free recipe:
2 cups gluten free flour mix
2 cups besan (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cups non dairy milk (ice cold)

1. Sift the flour, salt, and pepper into a large bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil and rub in with fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly drizzle the non dairy milk into the flour, add a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together, cut through and then knead for about 3 minutes to form cohesive and smooth dough. Cover with cling wrap and chill for at least an hour before use.
2. Roll the pastry between two sheets of cling wrap (you can also use baking paper in place of cling wrap). Place a square sheet of cling wrap, if possible, about the size of your tart tin, on a bench. Place the pastry in the centre, in a flattened ball. Carefully cover with another sheet of cling wrap. Roll the pastry out to the thickness indicated in the recipe (usually around ½ to 1cm thick), and carefully peel off the top layer of cling wrap. You can fold this and put to one side to use again for future pastry rolling. Peel the bottom layer of the cling wrap off the bench, carefully placing your hand under the cling wrap under the pastry.
3. Flip the pastry circle into the greased and floured tart tin and use the cling wrap to press it into the tin. You can also patch and smooth whilst the cling wrap is over the pastry, using the cling wrap to push and smooth the pastry. Peel the cling wrap off (fold and use again for future rolling) when the pastry is pressed into the tart tin and then cut off the edges of the pastry.
4. This process can also be used to roll out the pastry in order to cut circles for tartlets; the circles can be lifted off the cling wrap.

Caramelised Onion Tartlets

Preparation time: 60 mins (including 30 mins to roast garlic)
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes approximately 24 tartlets
These individual tarts are great finger food, with the tantalising contrast of sweet juicy caramelised onions and the earthiness of the white bean paté. Miso adds a robust element to the white bean paté without making it overly salty. If you don’t have enough time to make the full recipe, serve the paté as a dip with vegetables and crackers.

Savoury Shortcrust Pastry (see recipe above).

White Bean Paté:
3 cups white beans (cannellini, navy) (cooked or canned)
1 head roasted garlic (see recipe for instructions on roasting)
1 1/2 tablespoons miso
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon white pepper

Caramelised Onions:
1 1/2 kg brown onions
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water + 1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

To roast garlic, remove the papery outer skin of the head of garlic and wrap in either foil or baking paper. Bake until the garlic is soft and yielding, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Carefully cut off the base of the head of garlic and squeeze out the roasted garlic from the bulbs.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.

Pastry Cups:
1. Lightly oil and flour two 12-piece muffin tins to ensure that the pastry cups can be removed easily.
2. Divide the shortcrust pastry into quarters to make it easier to handle and roll. Roll one quarter to approximately 1/3cm thick. Cut out six circles about 8 1/2cm (3”) across. Gently press these into the greased muffin tin, they will come about 2/3 of the way up the side of each muffin section. Repeat the rolling, cutting and pressing with the other portions of dough, to fill both the muffin tins - you should get 24 pastry cases.
3. Bake the pastry cases until golden and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Place on cooling trays and cool completely.

White Bean Paté:
1. Simply place all ingredients into a food processor or blend and blend until completely smooth. Set to one side.

Caramelised Onions:
1. Peel the onions, cut in half and then cut into half moons.
2. Divide into two batches for the initial sautéing.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are softened and beginning to colour slightly, about 10 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, mix through and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4-cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the frying pan and set to one side.
4. Repeat for other batch of sliced onions with the remaining ingredients.
5. The onions should have reduced enough that you can combine both batches in the frying pan. Add the additional 1/3 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is cooked off and the onions are further reduced, brown and gooey. Stir through the salt and pepper. Set to one side and cool completely.

Putting it all together:
1. Place about 2 dessertspoons of the White Bean Paté into a pastry case, fill to just under the top of the case. Top with 1-2 tablespoons of the Caramelised Onions. Repeat to fill all of the pastry cases.
2. Chill for at least an hour. Before serving, allow to come back up to room temperature.

Recipes and images from Wrapped in Pastry; vegan pie, tart & roll recipes for a crowd by Leigh Drew, published by Aduki Independent Press, RRP $14.95. www.aduki.net.au