La tarte à l’oignon de Caroline

Onion tart

Another recipe courtesy of a cooking lesson from a neighbour. I have previously known this as Alsatian onion tart, a concoction of slowly cooked onions, cream, an egg, and grated cheese. Caroline’s version is vastly superior; she skips the egg, saying that adding egg means it’s “just a quiche”. And she caramelises the onions slightly and spices it with cayenne and paprika, which make all the difference. Easy to do, and really delicious served lukewarm with a glass of chilled rosé.

shortcrust pastry to line a 24-cm tart tin (buy, or make your own)
olive oil
4 large mild onions
salt and pepper
1 tbsp sugar
2-3 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tsp sweet paprika
about 80-100 ml cream
a handful of grated cheese (Gruyère or Cheddar)

Onions cooking

Slice the onions thinly. Heat a film of olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, and cook slowly and gently, stirring occasionally, until they soften and collapse, without browning; this may take 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle over the sugar and raise the heat, stirring often, until they are just starting to colour. Season generously with salt and pepper, then add the cayenne and paprika. Turn down the heat and add the cream, continuing to cook for a few minutes until the cream thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more cayenne if you want it spicier. It should be a soft, creamy mass.

Season well!

Preheat the oven to 200C. Let the mixture cool slightly. Line the tin with the pastry and spread the filling over it; it should fill the tart generously. Sprinkle over a generous layer of grated cheese. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. The pastry needs to be thoroughly cooked and the top brown and bubbling. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Serve on its own or with salad (and a glass of rosé).
Ready for the oven

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