Caramelized Onion “Goat Cheese” Tarts

I have made cashew cheese multiple times in the past two years and I am happy to say that I’ve finally figured out the secret to the perfect consistency and smoothness. This appetizer is one of my absolute favorite foods–the balsamic with the creamy goat cheese and the sweet onions, it’s a serious treat.

The first time I made these was for Christmas at a family party, and they were okay–the cheese was too flavorless, the crusts weren’t flaky really and perhaps there was too much balsamic reduction. Overall, kind of a mess actually, and yet everyone ate them and gave feedback.

I knew the first step was to find the right crust, so this time around I used a simple olive oil crust. Highly recommend, although I will say next time I’m going to use less oil and more ice water. For a full tart pan like the recipe uses the 1/4 cup i think would be fine, but for these smaller versions less could be used.

They were incredibly well-received. I can’t wait to make them again and bring them to my internship and work.

Using the following recipe above, make your dough and roll it out. You want it to be pretty thin, maybe 1/4 inch. I used a wide cup to cut it into circles. This recipe made 24 tarts. Next, form the dough into muffin tins, pushing them down to the edges. You don’t need to grease the tins at all due to the olive oil in the dough. 

Now, this was a new recipe for me so I didn’t want to screw up the crust or the cheese by baking them all together. I chose to blind bake the crusts first. To blind bake, all you need to do is weigh down the tarts with dried beans. I used pinto!

I let these bake for about 12 minutes, but I checked them frequently. Basically, you’re looking for the right texture. I didn’t want them to be TOO cooked because they were going to need another round with the cashew cheese to finish baking, so once they started to harden I took them out and let them chill in the fridge.

Next step was the cashew cheese. Here’s all it takes:

– 2 cups raw cashews
– 1 tbsp tahini
– salt and pepper to taste
– tsp minced garlic (optional)

Soak the cashews in water for at least 3 hours. Once they’ve soaked, discard all but a 1/4 cup of the water and put the cashews in a blender or food processor. Add the salt, pepper, and tahini and blend until smooth. If needed, add the 1/4 cup of water a little at a time until you get the right creaminess.

Fill the tarts with the cheese and put them back in the oven for about 8 minutes. While they’re baking, caramelize your onions. What I do is medium heat, covered, with a small drizzle of EVOO and a teaspoon of sugar (for about half an onion). Half of a large white onion was JUST enough for me but you really can’t have too much.

Once the onions are nice and brown, drizzle a few splashes of balsamic vinegar into them and remove from heat. Stir to coat and then top your tarts with the onions.

Enjoy, these kill at parties.

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