Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dopiaza Tart

This succulent, sweet tart uses onion pastry and brown sugar.  It could be a pudding, if you put some creme fraiche on it and were very blase about whether puddings are actually sugary.  It's a little too savoury for that purpose for my liking, but certainly tasty!

Dopiaza Tart
You Will Need: Sharp knife and cutting board, frying pan, 12ins tart dish, fork, teaspoon, rolling pin, baking tray

Flour for dusting
10 oz flour-worth onion pastry (see previous post)
Large lump of butter
12 oz peeled onions
4 eggs
6 oz cherry tomatoes
6 oz brown sugar
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 heaped tsp coriander
1 heaped tsp cumin
1/2/ tsp garam masala

1.  Preheat oven , with baking tray inside, to 180 deg. C.
2.  Roll out onion pastry to line the tart tin, prick the bottom with a fork and pre-bake 10 mins. in the oven, putting the dish on the baking tray to distribute the heat to the base.
3. Finely chop the onions into half-moon slices, including any chunks left over from making the pastry.  Fry them gently in the butter until softening, and browned on one side.
4.  Stir the spices into the onions, fry 2 minutes and add the tomatoes, sliced into quarters.
5.  Beat the eggs, and gradually incorporate the sugar.
6.  Take the case out of the oven.  Fill the pastry with the onion and tomato mixture when it is very soft, then pour on the sugary egg.
7.  Bake the whole tart for approximately 25 minutes.  Serve warm.

Onion Pastry

The following recipe is intended to be used in a Dopiaza Tart, but could be adapted to any savoury pie or quiche recipe you care for.  Unlike proper shortcrust, you probably won't need to add any extra liquid to this mixture to make it come together.
A helpful hint I found on the interwebs is that 2ins less than the size of your tin is the number of ozs of flour you will need to make the right amount of pastry.  I shall be testing this theory whilst making the tart later.

Onion Pastry
You Will Need: Grater, sieve, large bowl, sharp knife, dinner knife, tissues :'( chopping board, clingfilm

10 oz strong white bread or plain flour
5 oz unsalted butter
pinch of salt
8 oz peeled onions, to get 6 oz grated onions.

1.  Peel and grate the onions on the larger holes (as for cheddar or carrot) over the chopping board, until you can't successfully hold them anymore, or you get 6 oz, whichever is sooner.  Put the gratings into a sieve and press out as much liquid as you can into the sink with your knuckles.  This is a weepy job, so have the tissues handy!
2.  Leaving the onions to drain, finely cube the butter straight out of the fridge.  Rub it together with the flour and salt in a large bowl, until the mixture resembles evenly-textured peroxide-coloured breadcrumbs.
3.  With the dinner knife, scrape the drained onions into the crumbs and mix.  Then get your hands dirty and knead it all together into a ball.  If you need to, add some water for stickiness, but you shouldn't need to.
4.  Wrap the pastry ball in clingfilm and chill in the fridge until you need it, for at least half an hour.

You could use red or white onions for this, but I recommend red as they have a sweeter taste.  Whatever you do, don't try buying what I always think of as 'student onions,' the small ones that come in packets of 20 - you will waste years of your life and much fingernail peeling them.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Patchwork Part 3: Housecoat Pattern (Body)

Here you see my (probably highly inefficient) solution to the problem of making an entire coat out of lots of little pieces.  It involves a lot of 'singles' i.e. hexes which aren't made into flowers, including some 'fourers' on either side of the central back flower, but I think it works.  
The diagram above shows the back of the coat (laid flat) at the bottom, and the front wings at the top.  The black line represents the shoulder 'seam'.  On either side of this seam, coloured flowers in the bottom half are matched by ghostly flowers in the top half - these correspond to each other and show where the two pieces should be joined at the sides.  For example, the green flower on the right of the back piece should join to the yellow and grey flowers at the front in the way shown.
The colours are chosen for ease of diagramming, not representing either your attempt or mine!  I managed to slightly co-ordinate my flowers so that the hotter colours were at the top and the cooler colours at the edges.  

Once I'd stitched all of this together, side-seams and all, I could wear it - and in fact had been doing so intermittently to check the length for a while.  You could easily make it longer by adding more flowers or singles to the bottom edges; I personally was getting impatient at this point and started on the next stage, which is taking all the paper out.  I left in the papers at the edges of the garment so as to make sewing in the lining and sleeves easier, but the rest I removed.  It's lovely to see the colours pure and unsullied by tacking stitches, and very easy to yank out said tacking in an afternoon.  SAVE THE PAPERS.  If you ever want to patchwork again you will save yourself a lot of bother if you already have all your templates handy.

When I have the time I shall look through the scraps my grandmother gave me and see if there are any pieces big enough to make a lining out of, or sleeves.  I'd like the sleeves to be slitted with poppers so that I can easily roll them up to wash up in.  Watch this space...