Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tarte à l'oignon

On this grey, chilly morning, I will make a French-style onion tart. It has the potential of being a disaster since I am using a cast iron skillet rather than a tart pan. It also has the potential of being a disaster because I have never made a tart before. Really, it has all the makings of a disaster.
Here is my own recipe, modified from many a recipe as usual.

Tarte a l’oignon

Shell (modified from David Lebovitz's most recent entry on a tart shell):

90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)

3 tablespoons water

1/8 teaspoon salt150 g (5oz, or 1 slightly-rounded cup) flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F (220º C).

In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, and salt. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges. When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a 10 inch cast iron skillet and form a pie/tart shape. Don't worry about it being perfect, it's a rustic tart. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the cast iron skillet with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the skillet. It doesn’t have to go up all the way. In fact, there's no way for it too, so shoot for a bit under halfway up. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is very light golden brown. Let the shell cool before filling.

Filling (modified from a few recipes I've glazed over)

2 tablespoons butter
4-5 yellow onions, peeled, shredded
5 pieces smoky bacon, cut crosswise into 3 millimeter wide strips
1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 oz - 8oz whole milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
Goat’s cheese
Herbs (I’m using parsley and tarragon, you can use thyme or MAYBE sage, but I would avoid others)
Salt & Pepper

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions. Cook until they soften and take on a little color. In the meantime, cook the bacon in the microwave, or anywhere easiest. Blot well and set aside. Preheat the oven to 410 °F. When the onions are cooked, sprinkle the flour over them and mix. Slowly add the milk and stir to further dissolve the flour. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, and cook until thickened. Mix in the bacon and herbs, salt and papper. Be sure to taste this mixture for perfect seasoning. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart shell and level the top.Add the goat’s cheese. Bake the tart for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 355 °F and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Set the tart aside to cool for 10 or 15 minutes after removing from the oven.Cut into slices and serve warm.

What drew me most to my filling choice was the lack of eggs. From what I've seen, there are many different styles of tarte a l'oignon, and one is of the quiche-y variety. Not what I was interested in. I wanted a silky, savory tart! (UPDATE: and I got it)


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