I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time and never got around to it but finally having a handful of shallots languishing in my veg trolley I thought I would give it a go.
Firstly I peeled and halved my shallots and found I had just enough to cover the bottom of a cake tin, not having an oven proof handle on a small frying pan I thought it was the next best thing. I put that on a low heat on my cooker and let the shallots slowly, oh so slowly colour and soften in a very generous amount of butter and the merest sprinkle of dried thyme, turning them once and then once more so the cut side ended up on the bottom and then at the end sprinkling a little balsamic vinegar in to add a touch of piquancy.
In the meantime I made a rough approximation on a rough puff pastry, I can’t remember the exact recipe, it was half fat to flour in this case butter and the flour was half whole wheat to give it a little bite and half plain white, enough ice cold water to bind and I half rubbed so leaving big lumps and then folded it three times, turned, rolled it out again folded it in three again, turned and then again and left it to chill. I should have chilled it in between each rolling to get more layering and a better rough puff, but domestic kitchens who are hungry for lunch have been known to cut the odd corner.
Covered the shallots with the pastry which I had rolled out to be a fraction larger than the circle of the tin to allow me to tuck the pastry down the sides and then washed the pastry with a little milk and popped it in a hot 180 c oven for about 40 minutes.
When it came out, I slipped a knife around, turned it out, replaced the bits of shallot that had stuck to the bottom of the cake tin and allowed it to cool down a little while I cut up some goats cheese and called hubby for lunch.It was a gorgeous lunch, we quickly dived in for a second piece. The true art of the home cook, economy and comfort illustrated in a simple shallot tarte tatin.