Mmmm at this time of year (actually make that pretty much any time of the year) I love the black olives and feta combo. Be this tossed together in a Greek salad or in a tasty Spinach, Feta and Olive pastry I can’t get enough of them! At the moment I’m trying to eat less meat, purely to try and be more healthy – I had a stint of being vegetarian a few years ago and whilst I enjoy the meat-free alternatives that you can get on the market nowadays, I missed my meat too much and won’t be going without it for too long again!
But anyway, this is a vegie recipe that I thought I would try out as a treat for my parents returning from a holiday in Wales last week. After a 5 hour drive home I had this waiting for them and I have to say, I was very pleased with their reaction – they loved it!
I have to admit, I did cheat with the pastry here as we had some frozen puff pastry that needed using up at home (ready made pastry works just as well as homemade), but puff pastry is very easy to make and obviously, everything tastes better when you’ve made it yourself so included below is the recipe I would usually follow for the pastry.
Both feta cheese and black olives can be quite salty, so the sweetness of the caramelised onions in this tart balances the saltiness perfectly, and this makes a lovely summer lunch, served either hot or cold with a salad on the side!
For the pastry:
225g Plain Flour (plus extra for dusting the surface)
½ Tsp Fine Salt
250g Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into cubes
150ml Ice-Cold Water
For the filling:
75g Butter (I used salted)
7 Onions, finely sliced
100g Feta Cheese, crumbled
Handful of Pitted Black Olives, cut into quarters
For the pastry:
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and (using a round bladed knife), stir the butter into the bowl until the butter pieces are all coated with flour.
Now pour in the water and quickly bring everything together to a rough dough using the same knife as before. Gather this dough together and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Without kneading the dough, roll it into a sausage-like shape, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for quarter of a hour.
After this chilling time, lightly flour the surface and roll the pastry out onto it. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry until it is about 1cm thick and is rectangular in shape.
Now, try to straighten up all the edges as much as possible, and fold the bottom third of the pastry up and the top third of the pastry down so you now have a much smaller and thicker rectangle than before.
Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle again, and repeat this process 3 or 4 times until you have a smooth dough that has a few streaks of butter here and there. At this point, cover the pastry dough with cling film and leave it in the fridge for a good hour or so until you are ready to use it.
*Now is a great time to prepare the tart filling!
After the pastry has had its chilling, it needs to be rolled out to about the thickness of a £1 coin, so it can fit the tart dish you want to use with a border thick enough to line the walls of this dish too.
Using a rolling pin to help you, gently lay the rolled out pastry on top of the dish before gently using your hands to press the pastry down so it comfortably fits in the base and along the walls of dish. Any tears that may occur can simply be fixed using any extra pastry you have leftover.
Once everything fits in nicely, use a knife to trim of any excess pastry around the rim of the dish.
Now, blind baking. I don’t blind bake puff pastry, as it starts to puff out before you add the filling which I have found can ruin the final taste of the pie/tart. However, I’m not a professional so don’t quote that this is the ‘correct’ way to cook it – but it does work fine for me!
Now it’s time to get on with filling the tart…
For the filling:
In a large, heavy bottomed frying pan, heat on a low heat until it is melted. To this, add all the onions, giving them a stir so they are all covered in butter. Now, leave this pan on a low heat until all the onions are caramelised, stirring occasionally to prevent any onions from burning. This usually takes around 1 hour, but it is so worth the wait!
Once all the onions are nicely golden brown and caramelised, they can be added to the pastry case.
* Now is the time to preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas 6.
Spread the onions out out so there is an even layer of them covering the base of the tart. Crumble the feta cheese on top of the onions, and sprinkle the chopped olives on top of this. Now place the tart in the centre of the preheated oven and cook for anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour, until you can tell that the puff pastry is cooked (it should be golden brown and will have puffed up slightly around the edges of the tart) and the feta cheese has started to turn golden brown.
Remove the tart from the oven and, if serving hot, cut into slices and serve straight away OR leave the tart to one side so it can cool down completely, and serve when you are ready to enjoy!!