Another very tasty recipe from the Baking with Julia book: Alsatian Onion Tart.
I know that the birthday celebrations for Julia Child’s centenary are over for the year, but this recipe is so good, I wanted to include it. And even though August 15th has come and gone, I found so many more recipes by her that I wanted to try than time allowed, I’m going to continue to make them and record the experiences.
This recipe turned out so well the first time that because I had all the ingredients around, I made it again a couple of nights later. It’s sort of like pizza but without the tomato sauce. The second time around, I added some smoked Jalsberg cheese, making it even more pizza-like.
Here’s what happened:
Got some onions, chopped them, then cooked them in chicken stock.
Also got some bacon.
It was chopped, blanched then fried.
Rolled out the puff pastry.
Cut the puff pastry into a round, exactly the same size as my pizza tile.
Loaded and ready to cook.
Tarte à l’oignon alsacienne
Alsatian Onion Tart
from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, based on the PBS series hosted by Julia Child.
About 1/2 pound puff pastry scraps, chilled
4 very large onions, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken broth (homemade or canned low-sodium)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 pound slab bacon
Preparing the Pastry
Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface until it is very thin, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using the lid of a pot as a guide, cut the pastry with a very sharp knife into a circle 10 to 12 inches across. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to an ungreased baking sheet and price the dough all over, using either a docker or the tines of a fork. Go overboard with this—try arming yourself with a fork in each hand and playing out a lively tattoo on the dough—the docking, or pricking, will keep the pastry from puffing, just what you want for this tart. Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. You can prepare the pastry up to 1 day ahead.
Making the Topping
Put the diced onions and the chicken broth in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, discarding any liquid, and let the onions cool. When the onions have cooled, stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. (Keep tasting—you want to go easy on the salt because of the bacon.)
Remove the rind from the bacon and cut the bacon into 1/4-inch cubes. Drop the cubes into a large pot of boiling water and boil for 1 minute, just to blanch them. Drain and rinse under cold water, then pat dry with paper towels.
Heat a medium skillet over moderately high heat, toss in the bacon pieces, and cook, stirring, for just a minute or two—you don’t want to overcook these, or they’ll turn tough; season with pepper. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain well on paper towels. At this point, the topping can be covered and refrigerated for 1 day.
Assembling and Baking
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove the pastry round from the refrigerator and top with the cooled onions, spreading the onions all the way to the edge of the pastry. Scatter the bacon pieces over the onions, pushing them down into the onions just a little (this will not only protect the bacon from burning, it will flavour the onions). Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Both the pastry and the topping can be made ahead, but the tart is at its best just baked.
Contributing Baker Michel Richard