Get your 60s cocktail-party on with these luscious little pastries. The sweetness of the onions is softened by the aromatic smoothness of the pesto and the tang of the goat’s (or vegan) cheese. Making individual pastries rather than one big square looks really cute, and you can also make a delicious pizza using these toppings.
Carmelised onion and pesto pastries
1 sheet of puff pastry – I used Borg’s
Goat’s or vegan soft cheese – I used the utterly amazing cashew ‘cheese’ from Botanical Cuisine
100g basil leaves (or thereabouts)*
½ cup nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan or in the oven*
1 clove garlic
Olive oil – around quarter of a cup
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
* You can make any type of pesto you’d like. Here are some of the combinations I make: basil and pinenut, basil and cashew, spinach and walnut, rocket and cashew, rocket and hazelnut, coriander and macadamia, mint and almond, watercress and almond, parsley and walnut. These quantities will make more than is needed for this recipe.
Add everything except for the oil into a food processor. With the lid on but funnel open, pour a glug of oil into the bowl and then turn on the food processor.
Slowly add oil as it processes and stop when you have the desired consistency. At times you will probably have to stop the processor and push down any stray leaves with a spatula.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. If you want to add parmesan, use around 60g of finely grated cheese.
1 large red onion
1 tbsp rapadura or brown sugar (or use mirin if you don’t want to use sugar)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
small pinch sea salt
* this is enough to cover one pastry sheet. If making more, double or triple etc.
Cut the red onion in half, cut off the ends, peel and finely slice into rings.
Heat some olive oil in a fry pan and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt and cook for around 10 more minutes or until dark and very soft.
Defrost the pastry sheet.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F
Oil a baking tray and lay the pastry on it (or line with baking paper and lightly oil this too. Note that this way won’t be as crisp as a straight baking tray but is guaranteed not to stick).
Cut away a fine edge from the pastry (see picture). This allows the edges of the pastry to puff up.
Score (i.e. make a line but don’t cut through) a 1cm edge around the square (or thereabouts). This allows the edge to puff up but keeps the part with the topping flat.
Spread the pesto (around 3 heaped tablespoons) over the pastry, keeping the outer edges bare
Top with the carmelised onion, spreading as evenly as possible
Crumble some goats or vegan cheese over the top
Cook for around 30 minutes, or until the outer edges have risen and are golden.