Red Onion and Rhubarb, Fresh Cheese and Quince Mini-Tartlets Recipe

Mini-Tartelettes Onion Rouge et Rhubarbe

[Red Onion and Rhubarb Mini-Tartlets / Fresh Cheese and Quince Mini-Tartlets]

When I throw a party, even if I’m going to serve food buffet-style, I always try to have a few small nibbles to offer first, at the bar that separates our kitchen from the living-room, which is where everyone tends to linger at first. This allows all of the guests to arrive, get a drink and settle in, before the buffet is declared open and people can start picking up plates and helping themselves happily.

One of the requirements I had set for myself while dreaming up a menu, was to use at least one of my new Flexipan toys, and it is the mini-tartlet molds that ended up being elected.

While visiting my dear grandmother recently, I was leafing through one of the magazines she reads, Prima or Modes & Travaux, I don’t remember which. I usually enjoy looking at the cooking section in those magazines, because of their very practical, no-nonsense approach : the recipes are usually simple, but appealing and tasteful. I also like that they take great care to describe every single step, because their audience is not necessarily cooking savvy.

In this particular issue, a recipe for a red onion tart with apple and raisins caught my eye, and I jotted down a few of the guidelines. This inspired me for these mini-tartlets, for which I replaced the apples and raisins with rhubarb, made mini-tartlets instead of big tart, and filled the shells with just the vegetables, skipping the egg and cream mixture that they used in their recipe.

As for the brousse and membrillo tartlets, the idea just sort of improvized itself, from wanting to offer two kinds of mini-tartlets instead of just one like initially planned. Brousse is a kind of very fresh cheese that is a bit like very thick yogurt, made with cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk, and I had some leftover from another recipe. The brousse needed something to top it and kiss it to life, which is where my dear Crema di Membrillo came into play : I bought a piece of this Spanish quince paste on our recent trip to Madrid, and have been eagerly trying to create occasions to use it ever since. But if you can’t find those two ingredients, any other kind of fresh cheese will work, with any other kind of firm, not-too-sweet fruit jelly.

Both kinds of mini-tartlets turned out very nicely, both were a nice mix of sweet (onion and membrillo) and tart (rhubarb and brousse) flavors, cupped by the satisfying, buttery crunch of the tartlet shells. As with all mini-things, they were also a pretty sight in their colorful serving plates, and a very refreshing appetizer on this very warm July night.

Mini-Tartelettes Onion Rouge et Rhubarbe

- 4 medium red onions
- 2 thin stalks of rhubarb (use only one if the stalks you find are thick)
- olive oil
- 1 roll of premade pie dough (as always, homemade is preferable, but if you need to save time, store-bought is fine)

Yields : 36 2-inch mini-tarlets

Special equipment :
- a tray of mini-tartlet molds,
- a matching cookie-cutter.

Peel the onions and slice them finely. Heat up some olive oil in a large skillet, and add in the onions. Cook on medium low heat for about twenty minutes, stirring regularly, until softened. Rinse the rhubarb and dice finely. Add into the onions, and cook for another ten minutes, until cooked through. Set aside in a colander to drain and cool, then store in a closed container in the fridge if you’re not using it right away.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll out the pie dough, and cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Press the circles of dough into the mini-tartlet molds, and prick a few times with a fork. Put the tray into the oven to bake for ten to twelve minutes, until the tartlet shells are cooked. Set aside to cool.

To assemble, use two teaspoons to scoop out onion mixture and deposit tidily into the tartlet shells.

Store in the fridge until ready to serve. These can be served cold (take them out of the fridge fifteen minutes before serving) or reheated for five minutes in a warm oven.

Mini-Tartelettes Brousse et Membrillo

- 180 g brousse, or other fresh cheese
- 30 g membrillo (Spanish quince paste), or other firm, not-too-sweet fruit jelly
- 1 roll of premade pie dough (as always, homemade is preferable, but if you need to save time, store-bought is fine)

Yields : 36 2-inch mini-tarlets

Special equipment :
- a tray of mini-tartlet molds,
- a matching cookie-cutter.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll out the pie dough, and cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Press the circles of dough into the mini-tartlet molds, and prick each of them a few times with a fork. Put the tray into the oven to bake for ten to twelve minutes, until the tartlet shells are cooked. Set aside to cool.

To assemble, use two teaspoons to scoop out some brousse, and deposit it into a tartlet shell. Top with a small piece of membrillo.

Store in the fridge, and take out fifteen minutes before serving.

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com barrett

    Onion and rhubarb? What a great idea. I wouldn’t have thought to pair the two, but it works – match the sour rhubarb with the sweet red onion.

    Nice idea!

  • http://scally.typepad.com pascale

    Hi Clotilde,
    Forgot to tell you how good they were and so good looking too which is not always easy … What kind of pastry did you use ? “feuilletée or brisée”

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Barrett – Yes, I was happy with that pairing too! I intended to use an apple, but I had rhubarb on hand also, and I had a lightbulb moment!

    Pascale – Thanks, so glad you liked them! I actually used both kinds : feuilletée (flaked pastry) for the onion tartlets, and brisée (shortcrust pastry) for the brousse tartlets. I found that the pâte brisée lends itself much better to the initial “empty-baking” step, while the flaked pastry shells swell and get a bit harder to handle. Is this also what you’ve noticed?

  • mary ann

    I too tried this and all I can say is it turned out bland. Was it because I am cooking with USA ingredients. I added some white vermouth, salt and balsamic vinegar to it to jazz it up. I think I will serve it with goat cheese on the bottom of a tart shell. Also………mine turn a grey pink color, not the vibrant red in the photo.

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