Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alsace Onion Tart

In the Alsace region, conviviality and good-nature are the ingredients for a great, friendly evening. That is why it is not surprising that Alsatian people like both good food and good wine! Indeed the Alsace region of France is one of the country's smallest regions but it boasts mouth-watering specialties. This French North-East region – that shares borders with Germany – perpetuates the traditional gastronomy of France that is now renowned worldwide.

Ingredients

For pastry

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water


For filling

  • 4 bacon slices (1/4 lb), cut crosswise into 1/8- to 1/16-inch-wide strips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 lb onions, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise (10 cups)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup crème Fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Special equipment: a pastry scraper; an 11-inch tart pan (1 1/4 inches deep) with a removable bottom; pie weights or raw rice

Preparation

Make pastry:
Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork mixture, or pastry will be tough.)

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion. Gather dough together with pastry scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round and fit into tart pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang over pastry and press against side to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom with a fork and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Line chilled shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until pastry is set and pale golden along rim, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer shell to a rack. (Leave oven on.)

Prepare filling while shell bakes:
Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain and pour off bacon fat. Add butter to skillet and cook onions with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Cover surface of onions with a round of parchment or wax paper (or cover skillet with a tight-fitting lid) and continue to cook, lifting parchment to stir frequently, until onions are very soft and pale golden, about 20 minutes. Stir in bacon, then remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.

Whisk together crème Fraiche, eggs, nutmeg, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then stir in onions.

Fill and bake tart:
Pour filling into tart shell, spreading onions evenly, and bake until filling is set and top is golden, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooks' notes:

* Dough (as a disk or fitted into tart shell) can be chilled, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 1 day. Let disk stand at room temperature 20 minutes before rolling out. ·Tart can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

** Tart can be baked in muffin pan and served as an appetizer instead of first course.

*** Source Epicurious.com








11 comments:

tasteofbeirut said...

Oh! That Alsace onion tart is so scrumptious! I especially like the mini versions! Could have one every morning for breakfast with a cup of good black coffee!

To answer your question, i am planning to go to Lebanon in the first week of June inchallah! (hope the situation there remains stable!) I am crossing my fingers!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

We were jus talking abot Alsace food tonight Joumana! Hehe great minds think alike. This looks absolutely delicious! :D

Azure Islands Designs said...

Mmmm this looks & sounds delicious Arlette...similiar to our quiche, which I love!

Cheers

Mary said...

What a lovely tart. This sounds delicious and your photos are lovely.
Have a glorious day. Blessings...Mary

Mamatkamal said...

Salam Arlette,
your onion tart looks wonderful and so scrumptious! I love those caramelized onions, BEAUTIFUL!
Cheers,

nazarina said...

I don't know what happened, but I tried leaving you a comment here, so I shall try again.
These little tarts would make me real happy ....right now and not to mention that fascinating mloukhieh stew below!

Arlette said...

Hello Ladies:
thanks so much for your sweet comments. I do love savoury pie and the small bite size they are the better, you can snack on them, and packaged as lunch and easy to carry and eat

elra said...

Oh Arlette, this is one of m family favorite savory tart. Love the idea of baking this in a muffin pan. Looks very pretty as an appetizer.
Cheers,
elra

Lisa Michelle said...

Arlette, Arlette, Arlette..you kill me with your gorgeous and mouth watering dishes! I love onion tarts, especially Alsatian. I've made them..devoured them, but yours looks better than any I've ever attempted. You are a master chef, sweetie :)

Angie's Recipes said...

In Germany there is something similar called Onion Cake with yeasted dough...I used to make them for the lunch. Must try yours with pastry...I am sure it tastes great!

://: Heni ://: said...

i love onion tarts! but since my husband does not I do not make them as much as i want to! enchallah for our next lunch without him LOL i will try your recipe!

Arlette, i just noticed your email, i will be emailing you about the photo links you added me about on my blog enchallah this week! =)