Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Swiss Onion Tart

I have come to the conclusion that I don't like Gruyere...I freakin' LOVE it! What's interesting to me is that this cheese has always been around me, I just never really, really tasted it, nor really cared for it unless it was in fondue or some melty casserole.

But then last week I found out that my daughter actually has documented Swiss heritage--it's on, I checked!--and, well, of course, this explains why she is a cheese aficionado and a chocoholic and loves everything leche. So, then her preschool teacher told me last week that their school is having a multicultural fair and Stella's classroom is representing Switzerland. Hello?!?!!??

Of course you know I was going to try to find a Swiss recipe to test and then bring to her class. And besides cookies and chocolate or pancakes or muesli or recipes using Swiss chard--really?--it was really hard to find a true, authentic savory, Swiss recipe. Finally I came upon a caramelized onion and Gruyere turnover recipe that I was sure I could make for my daughter's school.

One thing I did is omit the homemade pastry and used ready-made puffed pastry instead. Also, I only used  6oz of Gruyere since I wasn't sure how much Gruyere little preschoolers could take. Lastly, I added a small amount of mozzarella and the entire egg/milk mixture was my own addition to make the tart more creamy and kid-friendly. If you don't want to make two tarts, you can totally cut the recipe in half. It still works!

I'm really hoping the kids and parents like my Swiss Onion Tart tomorrow. Auf Wiedersehen!

INGREDIENTS (makes 2 tarts)

The onion mixture:
  • 6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh ground Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
The Tart:
  • 1 package puff pasty (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
  • 6 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz. shredded mozzarella
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground pepper

First, make the caramelized onions: You can do this the day before (I did!) then just store in the fridge, up to 4 days, until ready to use.

Get yourself a really large, heavy bottomed pan, and heat to medium-high. Add 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and mix well with the oil and butter then just wait...this is going to take about 35 to 45 minutes.

At first the onions will just sweat and seem like nothing is happening, but after 10 minutes add 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp dried thyme, continue cooking and mixing another 15 minutes, then add 1/2 tsp. sugar and a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Continue cooking and mixing and about 10 minutes more (approximately the 35th to 45th minute mark) your onions will just start to caramelize instantly. Don't let them caramelize too much, you want a deep golden, brown color. Once you get there, remove from heat and let them cool completely to room temperature.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl add 4 eggs, 1/2 pint of heavy cream, the Gruyere and mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and several grinds of ground black pepper. Beat well with a fork or whisk. Add the cooled caramelized onions and beat until combined. Set aside.

Place a piece of parchment paper on two sheet pans and lightly spray with PAM or butter it.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pasty at a time to 9" x 13" rectangle. The fold in each side about 1/2" in. Dock (aka poking) the inside of the pastry, but not the edges, with a fork.

Then place a piece of lightly oiled foil inside pastry and add beans or baking weights.

Blind bake the pastries for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Carefully remove foil and beans.

Next, divide the onion-cheese filling and pour into each crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes more. Check after 20 minutes and if filling is set and doesn't jiggle, it's ready.

Remove from oven. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve right away or at room temp or cold. No matter which temp you serve them, they are divine!

You can half the recipe and only use one puff pastry sheet and it comes out the same--I tried it!