I’ve been thinking a lot about home off late. Where I don’t feel like I am constantly running out of time. Where space isn’t as much an issue and apartments are still not tearing through the skies. Where auto rickshaw fellows are greedy but helpful and some even have a great sense of humour (never thought I’d say this). Where every place is just about a stone’s throw away, that or I was awfully lucky to have a home in Alwarpet. Ah Alwarpet! My entire day was defined by the area I lived in, of quiet lanes, homes that have character, dime a dozen grocery stores, gyms, restaurants and what have you?
On my way back from work, I would stop at Winners Bakery close to home. The waft of cakes and breads baking in the oven was always intoxicating for me. Their lemon tarts were fast moving, if you didn’t go early enough, you didn’t get any. The mellow, baby pink, strawberry butter cream cakes were delightful as well. Strange as it may sound, for me though, the incorrigible sweet monster, their cheese and onion tarts had a special place. A familiar face would welcome me, pick up everything I pointed to and pack it in a brown paper bag, where my darling little cheese and onion tart would wait to be consumed along with coffee of course.
So this recipe is an aftermath of nostalgia, a semblance of my favourite tart from my favourite bakery, something to remember my Madras by.
- 500 g ready made puff pastry (or learn how to make puff pastry here)
- 100 g Gruyère or any hard cheese
- 1 big onion or 2 small onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 100 ml whole milk
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Makes 6 pies
- Thaw your frozen puff pastry. Grease a 6 muffin pan with butter.
- Saute the sliced onions in butter till brown and translucent. Tip in the tablespoon of flour and mix well. Now add the milk and continuously whisk as the mixture thickens. Add the gruyère and continue to whisk. Finally, add mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Switch off and set aside.
- Cut 6 4-inch circles from your puff pastry sheet using a cookie cutter or a lid. Now cut 6 3- inch circles again. Set aside on a baking sheet.
- Tuck each 4-inch pastry circle into the prepared muffin pan, so that the bottom and the sides are covered. Spoon the prepared filling into each muffin mould. Cover each pie with a 3-inch pastry circle. Seam the edges of both the pastry circles together. Leave the muffin pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Once chilled, make slashes or patterns using your knife on the pastry surface without cutting into the pastry. Glaze each pie with egg wash. Vegetarians could use milk as a glaze too.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and puffy.