You may recall that I was given a huge box of very large onions some weeks ago. I was umming and ahhing what to do with them all. Many readers made suggestions, the most popular being caramelised onions and French onion soup. I had already planned to make a caramelised onion relish (16 onions = 5 small jars) and to slice some to freeze for later use (6 onions = 3 bags). I would have loved to have made a French onion soup but it’s just far too hot at this time of the year to contemplate making soup, let alone eating it. So more onions sliced and frozen for soup making later in the year (6 onions = 2 bags). Anthony requested a Caramelised Onion Tart. Not that I’d ever made one but it obviously appealed to him and coincidentally, I had the same thought. So Caramelised Onion Tart is was (3 onions = 1 tart)
Now to make a tart, you need to have pastry. Pastry and I are not good friends. Nor are pastry and a Brisbane summer. I have mastered to some degree the art of baking however pastry eludes me. I know this will draw comments of ‘Oh it’s simple’ and ‘Practice makes perfect’ but trust me, I do not have the touch. Still, I did my best and I was fairly happy with the result but it took a bit of doing and tongue sticking out so maybe I need to practice some more and finally master the dark art. I still have half a box (36 onions = lots of slicing) to practice with.
Caramelised Onion Tart
- 2 cups plain flour
- 150g chilled butter, cubed
- 2 – 3 tbsp water, chilled
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 x brown onions (peeled), halved & finely sliced
- 2 x tbsp browns sugar
- 4 – 5 tbsp oil for frying
- 4 x eggs
- 1 ½ cups cream
- ½ cup mature cheddar, grated
- Few sprigs of thyme
- Seasoning to taste
- Heat oil on a medium heat in a large frying. You want plenty of room so the moisture can evaporate and the onions don’t stew.
- Reduce heat slightly, add onions and stir to coat in oil. Cook slowly for 30 minutes to 1hr, stir regularly so onions do not stick. Onions will gradually start to take on a golden colour.
- If you continue on a very low heat, you can caramelise the sugars in the onions naturally over the next several hours. Or, once the onions are fully cooked and slightly golden, you can stir brown sugar into the onions to assist in caramelisation.
- Stir regularly and do not allow to stick. Add a dribble of water if onions are catching but sugar has not yet caramelised.
- When brown and sticky, set aside and allow to cool.
- Pulse flour and cold butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. You may need to open the lid and scrape down some of the butter.
- Slowly add iced water, one tablespoon at a time until a rough dough forms. You may not need all of the water.
- Turn dough into a bowl and give a quick, gentle knead to bring together. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to rest and chill.
Filling & Baking
- Whilst pastry is chilling, prepare filling by mixing eggs, cream and cheese in a bowl. Add seasoning and leaves from thyme into the mix. Set aside in fridge.
- When you are ready to roll out the pastry, pre-heat the oven to 180c
- After 30 minutes, gently roll pastry out on a flat surface to a 3mm thickness. If you roll it out on baking parchment, this will assist in lifting it.
- When pastry is rolled even, lift into a 25cm greased tart tin or pie dish (baking paper on top). Gently press into dish, taking care to make sure it is pressed lightly into corners.
- Cut away excess pastry from edge of dish with a knife. Dock pastry by pressing tines of a fork into the pastry base several times. Also press fork three or four times into corners of dish.
- Line pastry with baking paper and fill with baking weight, dried rice or beans. Place in pre-heated oven and blind bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove paper and weights from shell and return to oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking and brown slightly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- When pastry and onions are both cool to touch, place onions in base of tart, spreading evenly. Gently pour egg and cream mix over the onions to fill the tart.
- Place in 180c oven and reduce immediately to 160c. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes (no fan) until it’s set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving with a crisp garden salad.
- Also good the next day, taken from the fridge and allowed to return to room temperature.
Though I have a tart tin, I chose to make this in a pie plate as I thought the tin was too shallow on this occasion. I also had some excess pastry so I just pressed out the rest into a set of shallow patty cake tins and blind baked them as tartlet shells and popped them into the freezer