Onion Tart

November 19th, 2014

Onion Tart 1

I am still enthralled with Mimi Thorisson’s A Kitchen in France, so bear with me for another recipe from this astounding cookbook.  To quote Mimi, ” I always have a big bowl of onions on my kitchen table in various shades and sizes.  To me they are as beautiful as any vase of flowers and as necessary as running water or a working stove”.  This tart transforms the essential onion into an even more beautiful presentation.  Besides that, it is easy.

Onion Tart 2V

I used a store-bought puff pastry for the crust.  The combination of slow cooked onions, balsamic vinegar, honey and bacon make for a flavorful topping.  I would even consider serving this cut into small pieces as an appetizer for Thanksgiving.

Onion Tart 3

Mimi made her tart in a 10-inch round tart pan.  I have this 7.5″ x 11.5″ rectangular pan that I thought made it very festive.  Although I loved this tart there are a few changes I would make next time.  I thought the amount of oil, butter and bacon grease made it a bit too full of fat.  Also if your tart pan has a removable bottom, I would put it on a cookie sheet because the fat leaked out of the bottom.  But the flavor was sublime.  This is the kind of dish that I would choose for a light supper with a salad and a glass of wine or as the aforementioned appetizer.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling ( I would suggest 1 tablespoon )
2 tablespoons unsalted butter ( I would suggest 1 tablespoon )
3 1/2 ounces bacon, cut into lardons or diced
1 pound onions, thinly sliced ( I used 3 onions )
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
All-purpose flour for rolling the dough
8 ounces puff pastry, homemade or store-bought

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon and fry until browned, about 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Add the honey, balsamic vinegar, and thyme, increase the heat to high, and boil to reduce for 2 to 3 minutes.  Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick.  Line a 10-inch tart pan with the pastry and prick the bottom several times with a fork.  Trim the edges.  Scoop the onion mixture into the tart shell.  ( Place on baking sheet ).  Bake until the pastry is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before drizzling with olive oil ( If needed ) and serving.

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Leek and Prosciutto Tart

November 11th, 2013

In French this tart is called Flamiche Aux Poireaux.  It is popular north of Paris in the villages of the Picardy region.  It is different from a quiche in that the emphasis is more on the vegetables than on the custard.  In this case leeks play a starring role.  It is also studded with Parma ham (Prosciutto) and Gruyere cheese.

This was a perfect Sunday supper to enjoy on the lanai on a warm Florida evening.  The first few days back in Florida always feel like a vacation; warm breezes, sunny skies and catching up with friends.  The food choices are different too.  The local Publix carries a wider selection of meats and vegetables than does the Ingles at home.  So getting good quality prosciutto for this tart was not a problem.  The leeks were another story.  They are very expensive right now.  The recipe that I was following came from Patricia Wells and she recommends three pounds of leeks.  The leeks at the supermarket were 2.99 a pound and that seemed excessive to me when I had to buy expensive prosciutto and expensive Gruyere cheese.  So I cheated a little and bought 2 pounds of leeks and added a large onion to the mix.

So being still in vacation mode, I made the tart, tossed the salad, poured the wine and sat on our sunny lanai and ignored the mold on the concrete and the weeds growing in our planters.  There is time for pressure washing and new plantings later.  This tart is worthy of a glorious relaxing evening.

LEEK AND PROSCIUTTO TART (Adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells)

1 recipe Pate Brisee or pie crust of your choice
12 small leeks (about 3 pounds) or a mixture of 2 pounds leeks and 1 large onion
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
3 to 4 ounces sliced Parma ham (prosciutto), coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyere cheese

Prepare the pastry shell:  Roll out the dough to line a 9-inch tart pan.  Carefully transfer the dough to the pan.  Chill for 30 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the filling:  Trim the leeks at the root.  Cut off and discard the fibrous, dark green portion.  Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning, and rinse well in cold water until no grit appears.  Coarsely chop the leeks.  If using an onion, coarsely chop it also.

Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.  Add the leeks and onion if using, salt, and pepper to taste and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes.  If the leeks have given up an excessive amount of liquid, drain them in a colander.

Combine the eggs and cream in a medium-size bowl and mix until throughly blended.  Add the leeks and mix again.  Reserve 1/4 cup each of the ham and the cheese to sprinkle on top of the tart.  Mix the rest into the leek mixture.

Pour the leek mixture into the prepared pastry shell.  Sprinkle with the reserved ham, and then the cheese.  Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.

Bake until nicely browned, 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  6 to 8 servings.

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Zucchini Quiche

September 5th, 2013

When in doubt about what to have for supper, I tend to favor making a quiche.  After all, the ingredients are always in my fridge.  As luck would have it, I also had a perfectly formed pie crust in its pan in my freezer from a previous cook-a-thon.  The inspiration for using zucchini came from a post by David Lebovitz.  Here is the picture from his blog that inspired me.  The tart was made by a friend that he was visiting in the French countryside.

Quiches and tarts seem very French to me.  I guess that is one of the reasons I am drawn to them.  It may also have something to do with the buttery richness of the pastry.  There is something to be said for the creative ways that the French use seasonal vegetables.

The other ingredients in this particular quiche were bacon, Gruyere cheese and a pinch of nutmeg.  Because my pie pan, which I picked up at an antique store,  was very shallow I needed only 2 eggs and 1 cup of cream.  The quiche was one of the best I’ve ever made.  The pastry is a “no fail” recipe from Ina Garten.  I strongly suggest that you get out your food processor and make a batch of pastry dough.  Either freeze it in individual discs or do like I did and have it ready to go in your pie plates.  You won’t be sorry.

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend.  We spent four wonderful days with the extended family and enjoyed swimming, tubing, skiing, hiking and eating.  Everyone slowed down long enough for this group picture (minus David and me.)

ZUCCHINI QUICHE (Adapted from Gourmet Magazine)

1  9- inch partially baked pastry dough (recipe follows)

1/4 lb sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
Coasley ground black pepper to taste
3 large eggs
1 cup Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook bacon in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just crisp.  Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate, reserving the fat in the skillet.  Add the zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until zucchini is tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes, then transfer with slotted spoon to a plate.

In a large bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, cream, milk, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Stir in the bacon, zucchini, and cheese and pour into prepared piecrust.  Bake until filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer quiche in pan to rack to cool slightly and serve.


Makes 2 10-inch crusts

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening (Crisco)
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.  Place the flour, salt,and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.  Add the butter and shortening.  Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.  With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.  Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball.  Divide the dough in half and flatten each ball into a disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  At this point you could freeze one or both of the discs.

If using immediately, generously flour a board and roll one of the discs into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board.  Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan.  Crimp edges. Repeat with second dough round. Can be frozen, well wrapped, at this point.

If using for quiche immediately, return dough in its pan to refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove from fridge and line with parchment paper.  Dump enough dried beans into parchment paper lining to fill the pan 3/4 full.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove parchment paper and beans from pie plate and continue to bake for 5 more minutes until pastry is just starting to brown.  Remove from oven.  Proceed with quiche recipe.

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Raspberry Tart

February 28th, 2013

I decided to make a dessert with what I had on hand.  I don’t often use canned pie filling, but at Christmas time I bought a can of raspberry pie filling to make a breakfast pastry.  I never got around to using that recipe; can’t even find it now.   The can of raspberry pie filling has been sitting in my pantry for a while now.  One of my favorite desserts is Ina Garten’s Apple Crostata.  Why couldn’t I substitute raspberry pie filling for the apples?     It sounded like a winner to me.

Just don’t expect it to look like this apple crostata above.  You see, I neglected to take into consideration that the apples were raw and not juicy when added to the pastry circle.  They released their juices while baking but never became runny.  The canned raspberry was juicy from the beginning.  It resulted in leakage and expansion.

Thank goodness I baked the tart on parchment paper.  It was easy to clean up the errant juices.  As a matter of fact, this tasted really good.  So here is my mistake in all of its messy glory.  I’ve had two pieces so far.  Next time I think I will bake it in a pie pan.  The canned raspberry pie filling has potential.



For the Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbls. cold butter
4 Tbls. vegetable shortening
2 Tbls. ice water

For the Filling and Topping:

1 18 ounce can of raspberry pie filling

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbls cold butter, diced
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and toss quickly with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour.  Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the 2 Tablespoons of ice water all at once through the feed tube.  Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and form into a disk.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Alternately, place in a 9″ pie pan, trim and flute the edges.  If cooking on the parchment paper, add the pie filling to the center of the pastry circle leaving a 1 1/2 ” border.  Fold the edges up over the pie filling, pleating as you go.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.  Pour into a bowl, add the almonds and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together.  Sprinkle evenly on the pie filling whether on parchment paper or in the pie shell.

Bake the tart in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove and cool before serving.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.