French Onion TartNovember 29, 2016 By Cathy — 16 Comments
A tender crust topped with sweet roasted onions and just a hint of herbs make this a onion tart a party favorite.
Okay, so when you think party food I’m guessing your first thought isn’t onions. Right? That was until now. See this French onion tart is absolutely party-worthy and I promise that it will be the first thing that disappears at your next get-together.
I love to entertain around the holidays. Small groups, big parties…it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a fair amount of cooking and a specialty cocktail or two. We’re not throwing a big holiday party this year, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have a few small ones.
One thing most of our parties have in common is plenty of food (or maybe too much if I’m being honest), plenty to drink and some good music. And unless I’m hosting a dinner party, another common factor is serving food that can be easily picked up and eaten. That means no utensils if I can help it, appetizer plates only, and crafting a menu that can be enjoyed with just a napkin in hand.
Serving finger food not only keeps the dishes to a minimum and streamlines clean up, it also keeps the party moving. Guests aren’t trying to slice through a piece of chicken while balancing a plate on their lap with a drink in hand. Instead, they’re mingling, nibbling, chatting and depending on the hour and cocktail consumption, dancing.
Onions also have a special place in my heart around the holidays because growing up my dad always made his “famous” onion pizza on Christmas Eve. And let me tell you, it was truly famous with my family and friends. Every year my dad cooked up a big pot of tomato sauce filled with tons of onions and black olives and let it simmer for hours on the stove. Then he rolled out a large pizza dough, covered it with the sauce and topped it with another dough. It was baked until golden brown perfection and gobbled up by all of the guests that passed through our doors on Christmas Eve. And in the spirit of over-feeding, it was of course one of the many pizzas he would make that day.
While an often requested family favorite, onion pizza only came around once a year, much like a Shamrock Shake or candy corn. But it’s no wonder, as it was pretty labor intensive and time consuming. But unlike the onion pizza of my youth, today’s onion tart recipe requires minimum effort while still delivering big flavor.
The dough comes together in minutes in your food processor and can be made well in advance and frozen until you’re ready to use it. There’s no precooking of the onions on the stove like many onion tarts require. They’re simply sliced thin and arranged over a sprinkling of grated cheese and herbs and baked until golden brown and caramelized. The tart can be sliced into squares, strips or wedges, but no matter how you slice it (yes I went there), it’s just plain delicious.
*Adapted from The Barefoot Constessa's French Apple Tart
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 12 Tbsp (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ cup ice water
- Onion Topping
- 1 cup (4oz) gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1½ tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 2 tsp fresh chives, minced
- 1¼ lbs (about 3 medium) sweet onions (such as Vidalia) peeled, halved and very thinly sliced into half moons (keep the moons intact)
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Pastry: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas.
- With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Prepare the tart: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough between two sheets of lightly floured wax paper, slightly larger than 10 x 14 inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the onions.
- Sprinkle the rolled pastry with the cheese right to the edges.
- Sprinkle with thyme and chives.
- Place the onion half moons on the pastry in diagonal lines, just barely overlapping and brush lightly with cream.
- Dot with the butter and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 40 mins or until the tart is golden and browned. Cover the edges with foil if the tart is getting too brown during baking.
- Let cool slightly and cut into squares to serve. Serve warm or at room temperature.