Try a caramelized onion tart

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FOOD - By The Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica

We know that it isn’t al­ways enough for a hol­i­day recipe to be de­li­cious. When you are knee-deep in hol­i­day cook­ing and bak­ing, it can feel like you never turn your oven off. So the most help­ful recipes are the ones we can pre­pare ahead of time, and our cheese and onion tart recipe fits the bill.

This dish is as­sem­bled much like a quiche, so the com­po­nents should look fa­mil­iar. The tart dough can be made weeks ahead and frozen — you can even roll it and freeze it in the pan, so you don’t have to clean up stray flour the week of your party. The fill­ing is a sim­ple egg cus­tard, lay­ered with caramelized onions.

You can caramelize the onions ear­lier in the week, and even mix in and cook the flour that’s added as a thick­ener. Just cool the whole mix­ture and seal it tightly in a zip-top bag. Bring it to room tem­per­a­ture, then spread it in your tart shell when you’re ready.

You can bake the as­sem­bled tart a day or two be­fore your party. You won’t want to serve it fresh out of the oven any­way, since the cus­tard fill­ing needs to cool and set. Re­move it from the re­frig­er­a­tor the day of your party and ei­ther serve it at room tem­per­a­ture or quickly warm it in the oven be­fore slic­ing.

Carameliz­ing ap­ples is an easy way to dress up this tart, and we bet you’ll find your­self adding them to lots of other sea­sonal recipes too. Sim­ply toss peeled, sliced ap­ples in a lit­tle bit of sugar and a pinch of salt, then slowly cook them in a skil­let with some melted but­ter. Serve them in a bowl along­side the tart. If you de­cide to ex­per­i­ment with cheese, re­mem­ber that you will want one that melts well, like ched­dar, fontina, or young Gouda. A smoked Gouda will bring out the fla­vors of the ba­con and con­trast nicely with the sweet onions.

You can also serve this tart as small bites. Use a square or rec­tan­gu­lar tart pan to make your tart, and once it is baked and cooled, cut it into small squares that can be passed as hors d’oeu­vre. You can gar­nish each piece with a pars­ley leaf or a dol­lop of ap­ple but­ter, if you like. And if you have any left­overs (you prob­a­bly won’t), this tart makes a great next­day break­fast or lunch item. Serve it along­side some fresh fruit or a light salad.

Cheese and onion tart

Makes one 10-inch tart Serv­ings: 10 Start to fin­ish: 3 hours, 15 min­utes Tart Dough: 2 2⁄3 cups all-pur­pose flour 1⁄8 tea­spoon salt 7 ta­ble­spoons un­salted but­ter, cubed and chilled 7 ta­ble­spoons ice wa­ter Fill­ing: 1 quart wa­ter 3 thick slices ba­con 1⁄4 cup un­salted but­ter 5 cups finely sliced onions Salt, to taste Freshly ground black pep­per, to taste Freshly grated nut­meg, to taste 2 ta­ble­spoons all-pur­pose flour 1 cup Gruyère, diced 1⁄2 cup heavy cream 1⁄2 cup whole milk 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Pre­heat the oven to 400 de­grees F.

To make the dough: Place the flour and salt in a mix­ing bowl and work the cold but­ter into the flour un­til the mix­ture re­sem­bles fine crumbs. Add the cold wa­ter and mix just un­til the dough forms a ball; do not knead or over­work the dough. Wrap the dough in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for at least 30 min­utes.

On a board or work sur­face lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough into a 12-inch cir­cle with a thick­ness of 1/8 inch. Line a 10-inch tart pan with the dough and chill the tart shell for at least 30 min­utes in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

Prick the bot­tom and sides of the tart shell with the tines of a fork and then line with parch­ment pa­per or alu­minum foil. Weigh down the pa­per with some dried beans, lentils, or rice to keep the dough from puff­ing up as it bakes.

Blind bake the tart shell un­til the dough sets and the edges look dry, 10 to 12 min­utes. Re­move the pa­per or foil and the beans and set the shell aside to cool. Re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 350 de­grees F.

To make the fill­ing: Bring the wa­ter to a boil in a pot over high heat. Add the ba­con slices and blanch for about 10 sec­onds. Re­move the ba­con from the wa­ter and al­low to drain com­pletely. When cool, cut into ¼-inch dice.

In a sauté pan over low to medium heat, melt the but­ter. Add the onions and sea­son with salt, pep­per, and nut­meg. Cook un­til the onions are a rich golden brown and smell sweet, about 50 min­utes. Do not hurry this process; the onions should cook slowly to at­tain a rich golden color.

Sprin­kle the flour onto the onions and cook for another 5 to 7 min­utes, stir­ring to avoid burn­ing the onions. Re­move from the heat and al­low the mix­ture to cool.

To fill the tart: Place the onion mix­ture and cheese on the bot­tom of the pre­baked and cooled tart shell. In a bowl, whisk to­gether the cream, milk, and egg. Pour the milk mix­ture into the tart shell. Sprin­kle the pieces of blanched ba­con on top.

Place the tart on a sheet pan on the low­est shelf of the oven and bake un­til the crust is golden brown and the fill­ing is com­pletely set, about 25 min­utes.

Chef’s note: To fa­cil­i­tate re­mov­ing the fin­ished tart from the pan, line the bot­tom of the tart pan with parch­ment pa­per and grease with but­ter be­fore lin­ing with the dough.

Nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 378 calo­ries; 207 calo­ries from fat; 23 g fat (14 g sat­u­rated; 1 g trans fats); 87 mg choles­terol; 175 mg sodium; 33 g car­bo­hy­drate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 10 g pro­tein.

This ar­ti­cle was pro­vided to The As­so­ci­ated Press by The Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica in Hyde Park, New York. This recipe also can be found in The Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica’s cook­book, “Mediter­ranean Cook­ing At Home.”

PHIL MANSFIELD—THE CULI­NARY IN­STI­TUTE OF AMER­ICA VIA AP

This un­dated im­age re­leased by The Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica shows a cheese and onion tart in Hyde Park. This dish is as­sem­bled much like a quiche.

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