French-Inspired Carmelized Onion Tart

As I mentioned in the last post, I hosted book club a few weeks ago.  I LOVE book club, but hosting it comes along with some pressure.  There are a few unofficial guidelines to keep in mind:

  • You need enough food for 6-8 hungry girls.
  • Food should be appetizer-like, but should also serve as dinner
  • People like it when there are 1-2 homemade dishes, in addition to veggies, cheese, dip, etc.
  • It’s also appreciated when some of the food relates back to the book.
We were discussing The Paris Wife (which is awesome, btw; I highly recommend it), so I wanted to make something impressive and French-inspired.  The fact that I don’t eat cheese made this a little complicated.  After looking around I found this Carmelized Onion Tart, which was very French and very wonderful!  It was flavorful, and definitely a little rich, which was helpful because it led to full stomachs.
If this doesn’t make you think of Paris, I don’t know what would!

French-Inspired Carmelized Onion Tart

Serves 8

Adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen

For the crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold water

For the carmelized onion filling

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 – 5 (depending on how prone you are to nibbling) large sweet Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • dash cayenne

And…

  • 4 tablespoons butter to finish
  • In a food processor or with a hand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and add, then pulse until the mixture looks a little crumbly. Put in the egg yolk and about 3 tablespoons of the water, then run the processor until the dough starts to come together. It should clump into a big ball; if it doesn’t, drizzle in another tablespoon of the water. You want to add as little liquid as possible.
  • Remove dough from the food processor and flatten into two 7-inch disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 minutes.  I kept mine in for about an hour and they were a little harder than I would’ve liked when they came out.
  • While dough is chilling, make the filling.  Sauté the onions in the oil over a medium flame, stirring very infrequently (this is important – I overstirred a little and almost ended up with mushy onions) .
  • Once they soften and begin to brown on each side, return the flame to low and allow to slowly caramelize. During this time, it is important to make sure the onions are spread as evenly as possible across the pan. Every few minutes, scrape the bottom and redistribute the onions so each gains the maximum amount of surface area. The whole process takes 40 minutes to an hour.
Carmelized onions should look something like this.
  • When the onions are dark brown, but not burnt, add the thyme, cumin, and season with salt and a touch of cayenne. Set aside
  • When ready to make the tarts, preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out each disk into a rough circle. No need to be perfect, you just want the dough fairly even. Fold about 1 inch of the edges in all the way around, pinching every inch or so to seal. Slide onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Right before it went into the oven.
  • Spread about 3/4 cup of the onion filling onto each crust. Top with 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into little squares. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden. Garnish with fresh thyme, then cut into 8 wedges and serve.
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