Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring's Terrible Onion Tart

Dear Spring,

Dude, what the hell?

You blow in for a single weekend, give me all kinds of delirious hopes about balmy nights and warm, sun-kissed days. You even go so far as to do your little daylight savings dance and bring us all your evening light, so that we can no longer convince the kids that 6 o'clock is like a "super-late" time to go to bed.

I even thought about putting away the winter clothes. That's right. I'm a sucka. I thought, for one unbelievably incredible moment, that I could ditch that big, bulky winter coat, the one I wear to keep me warm even though it makes me look like the Michelin Tire guy.

But no.

There will be no flip flops in March for me, my friend. I will still have to drag thirty pounds of coats, gloves, hats and boots with me every time I leave the house with my kids, which means it will still take me precisely two hours to get anywhere because as soon as we get bundled up, someone has to pee and then, while one is peeing the other is peeling off her clothes, or crying or setting her clothes on fire with my creme brulee torch, or whatever and the process starts all over again.

We are the most immobile people on the planet.

No, maybe Natalie Suhleman is more immobile that me, but just barely.

So, Spring, thanks for that. Thanks for getting my hopes up and then pulling the rug out from under me. I feel played. And the next time you come around with your early blossoming daffodils, promising you'll stay, seducing me with your soft gentle breezes and dewy green grass, I won't be fooled. I know you'll be pulling out of town, like a trucker who found a dead hooker in your hotel room.

The Yummy Mummy


So, I'm pissed. Guess you can tell. But this tart will make you feel better. It is basically carmelized onions sitting on melty hot cheddar cheese in a supple dough and just heated until it is warm and sweet in the oven. This is a dish that looks ahead to Spring with it's gorgeous new onions and still, feels cozy and comfortable, for a blustery night.

I originally adapted this recipe from both Nigella Lawson and again from Matthew Amster-Burton, and the scone dough crust is lovely, but if you don't have time to ignore your kids, or sit them in front of 20 Max and Ruby's, you can totally buy sheets of Pilsbury pie crust dough and use those. If you use two sheets, the dough comes out thick and gorgeous. Unless, Ruth Reichl is coming for dinner to eat your tart, no one will ever know.

I named this tart "Spring's Terrible Onion Tart" because it sat on a cutting board in the kitchen and David picked at it all evening until it was gone and then, got up the next morning, proclaiming he was fat and had gained at least two pounds and blaming it all on my "terrible tart". But really, it's only terrible, folks, if you EAT THE WHOLE THING.

But it will be hard to control yourself. Here's the recipe:

Spring's Terrible Onion Tart


1½ lb. yellow onions, halved and sliced ½-inch thick
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
~ Salt and pepper to taste
5 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded

Dough - For Over achievers

9 oz. (1⅔ cups) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
~ Scant ½ cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 large egg, beaten

Dough for people who have a life outside the kitchen

1 Box of Pilsbury Pie Crust, 2 sheets


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 35 minutes. Stir in the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Don't cook the onions on high heat. You aren't frying them. This process will take about 30 minutes. You can make/prepare the dough while the onions cook.

2. To make the dough from scratch, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining cheese in a mixing bowl. Combine the milk, butter, mustard, and egg in a measuring cup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until they come together into a dry, shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for a couple of minutes to hydrate, then turn it out onto a work surface. Knead a few turns and press the dough into a pie pan.

3. If you are using Pilsbury, put one sheet, then the other loosely into a pie pan.

4. Place cheddar cheese in the bottom of the pie pan on top of the dough. You should cover the bottom of the dough with cheese.

5. When onions are brown, creamy and sweet, take them out of the pan and put them right into the dough on top of the cheese. Pull the outer ends of the dough around the onion cheese mixture to form a rustic tart or shape it to form a pizza-like crust around the outside of the onions.

6. For the scratch dough, bake 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking about 10 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. For the Pilsbury, just follow the package directions.

Let stand for five minutes, then pop it out onto a serving dish or cutting board. It is a great snack and can be served alone or with a tangy brown sauce, such as A1 and some nicely fried bacon on the side.



Molly said...

Ohh, that looks good. Really good. You're killin' me. And yeah, why is Spring being such a whore?

melissa said...

Sorry you're still freezing.

Love your remarks about the dough. The Pillsbury ones work just fine thankyouverymuch. :)

Don't Lick The Ferrets! said...

Yesterday it was sunny and in the forties. Today it is ten below, the wind is raging at almost thirty miles per hour and EVERYTHING is iced over. So. Not. Fair. I feel your pain!

Art Dada said...

It's not spring yet. On March 21st we can start thinking about flowers, bunnies and the resurrection of Christ. Until then, it's still winter. Please, hold your applause until the show is over.

Krysta said...

ummm... the same thing happened to the key lime coconut cake i made everyone picked at it until there was no more then i heard all sorts of whining about how no one got a proper piece.

i remember being totally immobile family... i am happy the kids are older. it will be over before you know it!

The Mulligan Family said...

Oh My, sounds yummy! I know what you mean about Spring. Will it ever really arrive? We had snow again yesterday in the Pacific Northwest. I was so lucky - I got to drive 164 miles in it! Hooray! Hurry up sunshine, hurry up warmth... I'm sick of winter!

Dazy said...

This onion tart looks awfully delish and so tempting, I just can't afford to miss. This would surely keep me busy in the kitchen.