Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Savory apple + carmelized onion tart

Nothing says fall like baked apples.  Apple crisp, apple pie, heck, I'll even settle for just burning this candle once the weather suggests it might dip below 60.  In an effort to fit as much of this delicious fruit into my diet as possible this season, I decided to change things up and make a main dish with some crispy apples for a savory alternative.  Mixed with warm, caramelized onions, layered with sharp cheddar cheese and wrapped in a rustic, savory crust, this tart did not disappoint.  It was not only great straight out of the oven but also the perfect leftover to bring in for a workday lunch.
How can anyone resist that cheese???

First thing's first - you can't beat fresh picked apples.  If, like me, you didn't make it to the orchard before the end of the season, head straight to your local roadside farm stand and grab a basket of your favorite type.  I used Macintosh, but you could use Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Honeycrisp -- you really can't go wrong here.  
Now before we get into any of this "cooking" thing, make sure you're prepared.  Pop open a good bottle of Cabernet and pour yourself a glass.

Now that's taken care of, let's start with the crust.  This pastry crust is very forgiving, so don't let it stress you out. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and thyme.

With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Leaving some chunks of butter is important here so that the crust will be flaky and tender. Gradually mix in the ice water with a fork, working the dough section by section until it just comes together in a ball.  Be careful to work the dough as little as possible so that it doesn't get tough and chewy. You can also do this in a food processor if you prefer.

On a well floured surface, roll the dough out in a circle just wider than your pie pan.  Transfer the circle into your pie pan by folding it in half, then in half again and moving to the pan.  Once it's in the pan, it's easy to unfold and center the dough.  Let the dough rest in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
For the filling, we're going to mix caramelized onions and sliced apple.  To caramelize the onions, roughly slice onions and saute in a tablespoon of olive oil with sea salt until they become soft and brown, about 15-20 minutes.  When you start, it will look like this:
When you're done, the onions will cook down to about half the volume and become soft and golden, like this:
While the onions are cooking, peel, core, and slice your apples. Mix the apples and onions together in a mixing bowl.
 Shred your cheese:
And pour another glass of wine while you're at it!
Remove the crust from the fridge and pour half of your apple/onion mixture into the center.  Layer with a sprinkling of cheese (about 2/3 of your cheese) before topping with the rest of the apples/onions.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.  
Fold the edges of the crust up toward the center of the tart like so:
Now pop that baby into the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Serve hot out of the oven.

Savory Apple & Caramelized Onion Tart
Adapted from Heart of Light
Makes one 8 inch tart, about 4-6 servings as a main dish or 8 servings as a side

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cubed
1/4 -1/2 cup ice water

4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 large onions, roughly sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup shredded cheese (your preference -- I used sharp cheddar)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make the pastry dough for the crust:  
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and thyme
  • With a pastry blender, cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs 
  • Mix in the ice water until the dough comes together in a ball, working it as little as possible
  • On a well floured surface, roll the dough out in a circle just wider than your pie pan
  • Transfer dough to pie pan and let rest in fridge
Make the filling:
  • Roughly slice the onions, sprinkle with sea salt and saute in olive oil until caramelized, about 20 minutes
  • Peel, core, and slice apples and mix with onions
Remove crust from fridge and fill with half of apple/onion mixture.  Sprinkle with 2/3 of the shredded cheese and top with remaining filling.  Top with remaining cheese. Fold edges of crust up toward the center of the tart. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. 

Serve and enjoy!


Kayla @ Home Coming said...

This looks amazing. I may need to hire you as my personal chef...

Francie said...

I like the reminder to pour yourself a bit of wine before and during the baking experience! Gonna try this one with our apples from our tree!

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