Tarte à l’oignon rouge

Red Onion Tart

Serve this beautiful tart either as a starter or as a light main course accompanied by a green salad. Red onions are not absolutely essential but their slightly sweet flavor marries well with the other ingredients. As for your pie pan, I would recommend using a French-style tart pan with a removable bottom. If you don’t have one, any pie pan will do.

1 savory pie crust (pâte brisée)
1 large red onion or 3 medium-sized onions

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
leaves of 1 branch fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/4 pound (100 g.) comté or a similar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 nutmeg kernel for grating or a pinch of ground nutmeg

Begin by making your pâte brisée. Place in the fridge to cool.

Peel the onions and slice into very thin rounds. When it becomes too difficult to cut rounds, place the onion cutside down, cut in half and slice into thin strips. Heat the butter and olive oil to sizzling in a frying pan. Add the onions and sauté gently until wilted and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Toward the end of this process stir in the thyme leaves.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the rest of the filling. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whisk. Add the milk and cream. Add the salt and pepper. Grate the cheese using the larger-hole side of your grater. This should make about 1 cup.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (350 F, 180 C).

Place the cooked onions over the bottom of your chilled crust. Add the grated cheese, distributing it evenly. Using a ladle, pour the egg-milk-cream mixture evenly over the cheese. Grate some nutmeg over the filling, or sprinkle it with ground nutmeg

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown. Serves 4.

If you have a nutmeg grater, by all means use it as the pungent flavor of freshly grated nutmeg is utterly unlike the stale flavor of the ground variety sold in little tins.

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5 Responses to Tarte à l’oignon rouge

  1. Nancy Shields says:

    This recipe is wonderful, Meg. One of my sons was over and ate about half the tarte!

  2. Meg says:

    Thanks for your comment, Tom. I use the beans method for certain tarts but generally not for quiches. With this recipe, the crust gets cooked right through so there’s no need to precook. Try it, and let me know how it turns out!

  3. Ann says:

    This sounds scrumptious, Meg! I love pantry recipes like this one. And very interested to read that red onions caramelize more easily than brown. Have you ever tried using the red for soupe à l’oignon?

    • Meg says:

      Hi Ann! No, actually, I generally use yellow onions for soupe à l’oignon. But it’s an intriguing idea. By the way, my French onion soup recipe will be coming up soon!

  4. Tom Storer says:

    I always pre-bake my crust for five or ten minutes, weighted down with dried beans over wax paper to prevent shrinking, before adding the filling. Not everyone does this, but I find it prevents any slight under-cooking of the bottom middle crust, which can happen especially if the pie cooks a little faster than foreseen. Is there any special reason not to do so here? You seemed to emphasize the “chilled crust”…

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