Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, and Paneer Tart

For quite some time now, I have been complaining about the lack of baking  material in India–especially the complete absence of ready-to-use pastry. You know that from here, don’t you?

All this time, while I was busy swearing at Indian supermarket chains for not bringing baking stuff to India on a scale that I’d appreciate, a small part of me was up for a challenge. I was driven to experiment with recipes and substitutions to come up with stuff like this. It made me a better cook, I think. And it made me proud when I got something right. Then, a local supermarket displayed a ready-to-use blind-baked shortcrust pastry shell. An 8-inch pastry case for a whopping 400-odd rupees. I sneered and walked on. There was no way I was paying that much money for something I could make at home with just a little effort. Life went on, and then another store did the unthinkable. They brought in phyllo pastry. Ready-to-use. Flaky pastry of any kind is my nightmare. I can’t. I just don’t have the patience to make a thousand layers of pastry. I picked it up without batting an eyelid. Please don’t ask me how much I paid for it.

I loved it. I made this tart today, and I have some sheets leftover as well. It baked itself to crispy, golden perfection and held the gooey, caramelized interior with good strength. And it looked so pretty! Although I must admit, I still think it is criminal to pay that kind of money (not saying how much, not even now) for even rare pastry. I wish my local Iyengar bakery wala would just sell his Khaari biscuit dough to me!

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, and Paneer Tart

Ingredients:

  • 3 sheets of ready rolled Phyllo pastry (I think my SPring roll wrappers/samosa pattis will also work here)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 button mushrooms, sliced
  • Half a cup of fresh, soft paneer
  • 2 tbsp. grated cheese of choice (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. olive oil



Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the onions in it until they turn a golden brown.
  2. Place one sheet of phyllo on a chopping board . Brush with melted butter and fold in half. Do this to the other two sheets as well.
  3. Place the folded sheets one on top of the other, brushing butter in between.
  4. Crumble the paneer on top of the phyllo pile, leaving about half an inch of margin on all sides.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the paneer.
  6. Spoon the caramelized onions and mushrooms on top. Season with salt and pepper and finally, add the thyme.
  7. Fold the sides of the phyllo toward the center of the tart so you get a nice border that seals everything in. (Thank you for the idea, Donna Hay)
  8. Brush the folded sided with melted butter.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees centigrade for about 10 minutes or until the phyllo turns golden.
  10. Serve warm with a light, leafy salad or by itself.

Comments (9)

  1. Miri January 18, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Nope the samosa pattis just wont cut it – trust me!! That phyllo is beautiful and totally worth it- we'll atleast I would buy it! Right now I'm happy to have discovered cheap locally made puff pastry which I have ended up stuffing with everything from the traditional veg curry/ chicken curry mixture ( you know the caramalized bakery types?) to sun dried tomatoes, To bacon sausage jam mustard ( delicious)To pesto spirals. Now if I could lay my hands on phyllo!

  2. Miri January 18, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Btw, the recipe doesn't mention adding the
    Mushrooms to the onions….

  3. Saee Koranne-Khandekar January 18, 2012 at 3:24 am

    @Miri: I didn't saute the mushrooms. Added them raw to the tart just before baking. The heat in the oven was enough to cook them through. And yes, the samosa pattis will not be as crisp, but they're a worthy option for people who still do not have access to phyllo. Although I am sure I will give in to temptation and buy it often. Sigh!

  4. rajani@eatwritethink January 18, 2012 at 3:34 am

    oh i know!!! but phyllo atleast once is worth it!!! and I think you should just walk down and ask the local bakery that you want to buy the dough… tell them couple of days before you need it. they might oblige 🙂

  5. Saee Koranne-Khandekar January 18, 2012 at 3:41 am

    @Rajani: Most local bakeries are very friendly when it comes to giving away small amounts of yeast/dough/oven space to home bakers. Unfortunately, the one I have just downstairs is not very friendly 🙁

  6. SJ January 18, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Why don't you make some? http://homecooking.about.com/od/breadrecipes/r/blbread85.htm it looks doable- don't look at the calorie count at the bottom of the page ;(

  7. Hamaree Rasoi January 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Simply yummy looking Paneer Tart. Wait a minute , don't tell me, the pastry shell must have cost you 1000 bucks 😉 !

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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