Caramelised Onion Tart
This recipe for Caramelised Onion Tart is based on a recipe in Vegetarian Kitchen by Sarah Brown. I bought this book many years ago, in my early twenties, when I was a vegetarian. Subsequently, I have changed my diet to include fish and some meat, but I still love vegetarian food and often cook meat-free at home.
I have cooked this recipe many, many times. It is, in my opinion, simply the best onion tart ever. Occasionally, I will think that I will try a different recipe but I always come back to this one. The key to its luscious loveliness is to cook the onions really, really slowly for a long, long time so that they soften and gently caramelise without burning.
The taste of the caramelised onions is enhanced by the nutmeg, a spice that has a myriad of uses in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is really worth buying whole nutmegs and grating a bit off them when you need it rather than buying ground nutmeg. Just use an ordinary grater, there is no need to buy a special nutmeg grinder. The pungency of fresh nutmeg is a revelation and adds an extra dimension of flavour to the tart.
Large, heavy frying pan, quiche or flan dish (28 cm)
Caramelised Onion TartPrint
This luscious tart is filled with caramelised onions, subtly flavoured with nutmeg, set in a rich cheese custard. It is fantastic for hot, warm or cold which makes it very versatile. I honestly believe this is the best onion tart!
For the pastry:
- 275 g plain flour
- 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
- A little water
For the filling:
- 6 large onions (white or red is fine) plus a further 3-5 onions or shallots for decoration
- 40 g butter and 1 tbs oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
- Grated nutmeg (best to grate this from a whole nutmeg as this has best flavour)
- 100 ml double cream
- 2 eggs
- 100 g strong cheddar cheese (grated)
- A little olive oil
- Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
- Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
- Peel and chop the onions.
- Heat the butter and oil in your frying pan. It helps if the pan is good quality with a thick bottom as this will disseminate the heat evenly and prevent burning.
- Add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook at a very low heat for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning and stir occasionally. The onions are done when they are light brown, soft and, when tasted, are sweet.
- Season the onions with the grated nutmeg to taste (about half a tsp – although I add a bit more as I like it!). You can add a tsp of brown sugar to increase the sweetness of the onions at this stage if you wish.
- Set the onion mixture aside to cool slightly.
- Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish. Bake for 5 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”. This will stop the filling making it soggy!
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined. Finely grate the cheddar cheese and add to the mixture.
- Now place the onion mixture in your pastry case. Pour the egg mixture over it.
- Thinly slice the onions or shallots that you have set aside for decoration. The aim is to have a number of different sized circles of onion or shallot which you can use to decorate the top of the tart. Arrange artistically (!) and then brush with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
- The tart can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold.
Keywords: onion, tart
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