June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Onion Tart is a humble comestible, yet one that always brings a stroke of elegance to a table. I like to call this my Wits End Tart; when I have nothing in particular to prepare, am cranky and did not go shopping, I always have frozen pastry dough handy, as well as onions, eggs, milk and cream. Cream may not be in your fridge (I happen to like cream in my coffee). While you may have to purchase the cream, to tell your teenager to pick some up on the way home from school, it’s worth it. The sweet, mellow onions snuggled in a rich, velvety custard are very satisfying. Served with a salad, or a fresh, seasonal vegetable, the tart makes a perfect lunch or a light dinner.

What You Need

Large non-stick sauté pan

Pie dish or a spring-form pan, greased with butter

Pie weights or dried beans

Parchment

Medium mixing bowl

Small mixing bowl

Whisk

Pastry brush

Pastry or pie dough, your own or store bought

Two eggs plus one egg yolk

¾ cup milk and cream, equal parts of each

3 large onions (mine weighed 1 lb. 5 oz.)

Olive oil to sauté the onions

1 T. butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of nutmeg

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the pastry dough in the spring-form pan, or use prepared dough in its own tin, or the pre-rolled kind that you can use in your own bakeware. Carefully line the pan with the dough being careful not to tear it. Make a rim that comes up the sides by about an inch and a half to two inches. Gently lay a piece of parchment over the uncooked crust, making sure to leave plenty of paper sticking out of the sides in order to be able to remove it. Lay the pie weights or spread the dried beans over the parchment covering the crust. This is to prevent the crust from developing large air pockets as it bakes. Bake until the crust is dry and still very pale which can be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. At this stage, remove the pan from the oven, remove the pie weights or beans by carefully gathering together the corners of the parchment and lifting them out in the paper. Return the crust to the oven and bake until it is golden brown and done. Allow it to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Chop and sauté the onions in a small amount of olive oil. As they soften, add the 1 T. butter. Cook the onions until they are caramelizing: very soft, tender and golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. This step can be done in advance.

In the larger mixing bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk. Add the milk and cream, and whisk gently but thoroughly. You want to avoid creating froth or any air bubbles. Add about ¼ tsp. salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. A good rule of thumb: it is usually correct to add half the amount of pepper as you do salt. Add a dash of nutmeg and blend.

Cover the cooked crust with the caramelized onions. Pour the custard over the onions, filling the shell as close to the top as possible without risking overflow as you transfer the pan to the oven. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes or until the custard is almost completely set. At this point, if you are using a spring-form pan, place the pan onto a cookie sheet. Remove the ring. Brush the egg wash over the custard, as well as over the crust. Return to the oven and bake for another ten minutes or until the tart is set. Do not overbake. If you overbake the tart, or any custard filled product, you will see the top rise and begin to bloom upward. Overbaking makes the tart dry. Check the tart often and remove it promptly.

I know there are several steps in this recipe but each one is part of a perfect finished product. This tart is served warm. Enjoy the tart and our long-awaited spring!

By Lisa Reitman Dobi

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