I have never been to Scotland. It’s a shame, really, as I believe that Scotland and I would get along very well. Minus the weather, which isn’t very pleasant. And the haggis, which I suspect isn’t very pleasant either. Yes, Scotland and I would get along famously. After all, I did attend a girl’s school for 7 years that was named after a castle in Scotland, and we were divided up into “clans” (I was a Campbell) and wore kilts and ties in the Hunting Stewart tartan. Surely this qualifies me as something of an expert on all things Scottish?
I also know my way around scottish shortbread and oatcakes like I was born to it. Every Christmas as a child, I would see the familiar red tartan of a Walkers Shortbread box peaking out of my stocking. It was in hot contention with the Toblerone bar as my favourite treat from Santa, and I often would have devoured half the box before breakfast. We would have the oatcakes with brie and other cheeses as an appetizer before Christmas dinner, and I always marvelled at how they seemed more like cookies than crackers. So when the good folks at Walkers contacted me about sampling their products and creating a holiday recipe for them, I was just tickled. What wonderful memories these cookies and crackers bring back for me.
They kindly sent me several different boxes of their wonderful shortbread, and I have quite a few ideas of how to work these into some holiday recipes which I hope to post at a later date. But what I was really excited about was the box of oatcakes, so that I could make a holiday appetizer worthy of my Christmases past.
The Results: It took a few tries to get it right, but my handy-dandy taste tester (aka my husband) didn’t mind one bit. The first round was a bit too sweet so we cut back on the carmelized onions and fig jam, to allow the brie and the oatcakes to shine through. The resulting tarts are wonderful! The crust is crumbly but holds together, and the oatiness compliments the tangy brie so well. And the touch of sweetness from the onions and jam rounds the whole taste out beautifully. They are a lovely, elegant appetizer and I plan to serve them to our friends who will be joining us for Christmas dinner.
I used 4 1/2 inch tart pans, but you could do them as little mini tarts or as one large 9-inch tart served in slices. Just adjust the baking time of the crust accordingly.
So many thanks to the good folks at Walkers for allowing me to play with their products! If you’ve never had Walkers shortbread before, you are missing out and you need to rectify this immediately. It was a Christmas tradition in my household, perhaps it should become one in yours too!
Check out all the shortbread, oatcakes and other goodies at:
Brie and Caramelized Onion Tarts with Oatcake Crust
10 Walkers Thick & Crunchy Oatcakes
2 tbsp butter
1 egg white
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
7-8 oz brie, chopped into 1/4 inch chunks
1 tbsp fig jam
1 tbsp water
For the tart crusts, preheat oven to 350F and place four 4 1/2 inch tart pans with removable bottoms on a large baking sheet. (Alternatively, you could make one large tart in a 9 inch tart pan, or 12-16 mini tartlets). Process oatcakes in food processor until they become fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Place crumbs in medium bowl and stir in butter and egg white until well combined.
Divide oatcake mixture between prepared pans. Using your fingers, press mixture firmly to bottom and up sides of pans. Bake in oven 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Melt butter in a large, heavy-duty skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add fresh thyme and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden, about 15 minutes.
Divide chopped brie between tart shells, sprinkling in an even layer over each crust. Sprinkle onions evenly over cheese in tarts. Bake until brie is melted and slightly bubbly, about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir fig jam and water together. Drizzle over tarts. Once pans are cool enough to handle, remove tarts. Serve warm.