I am totally hooked on caramelized onions at the moment. I make them in fairly large batches so that I can use them in a variety of dishes. They’re great on steaks, burgers, focaccia, omelets, and many other things. They even freeze well. A couple of weeks ago I made this recipe in little individual tarts but I didn’t pay attention to the amounts of stuff I used so I had to make it again. What a pity. Yum.
Caramelized Onion, Apple and Bacon Tart
2 cups caramelized onions
1 granny smith apple, peeled and julienned
about 10 strips of thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
4 large eggs
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces (about a half a cup) of shredded cheddar
9 inch pie crust or 10 inch tart crust, uncooked (or possibly par-baked but we’ll get to that later)
The first thing to do is caramelize your onions. No, the first thing is to prepare your pie crust. You are welcome to use a store bought pie crust. I decided to make another try at making my own. I used THIS recipe and I think I may have found my pie crust recipe. I’d still like to try a vodka crust but this crust worked very well. I do have a similar sweet crust that works well and perhaps I will post that someday.
Okay, then you caramelize your onions. Well, unless you use THIS CROCK POT METHOD which produces quite nice caramelized onions, although they are a little more wet than the pan method. However, the crock pot method does produce the absolute best French Onion Soup. It’s the only reason to own a crock pot in my book.
I have done it both ways and I think pan caramelized onions are better in the tart. You can also cook off part of the liquid from the crock pot onions in a pan with the apples so it really is a matter of preference. If you use the pan method, melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a large fry pan. Slice up a whole bunch of onions add a good pinch of salt (or about 3-4 onions to get your 2 cups for this recipe, the onions cook down a LOT so don’t worry that it appears you have far more than 2 cups of sliced onions) and cook them in the butter over medium heat, stirring frequently at first and constantly toward the end. It will take about 20 minutes to reach the stage of golden brown and delicious. I like to cook them further to use on steaks or burgers, but remember that you’re going to be baking them in the tart so don’t go for deep golden brown. Taste and add a little salt if needed.
Well, actually, stop the onions just a little before they’re done. Add the apples. I like them julienned into say 1/4 inch matchsticks. Cook them with the onions until soft. They’ll break up some and there’s probably no reason that you couldn’t just chop them up. Don’t, however, cook them until they disappear. You want to still be able to bite into apples in the finished tart.
At some point, you probably should have cooked the bacon. I like to bake it so my bacon was baking as I did the rest of the stuff. But cook it however you like and chop it up. Stir the bacon into the apple and onion mixture. Allow this mixture to come to room temperature.
And this wait for the mixture to come to room temperature is why I wait until now to roll out my pie dough. In the ingredient list, I said we’d discuss par-baking the pie crust. I did not do this. BUT, I’m thinking it would be a good idea. The onion mixture is fairly moist. I think the bottom crust would be flakier if you par-baked it. I plan to try this the next time I make it but honestly, it’s fine if you don’t.
Note: I forgot to write that you should let your crust rest in the fridge for half an hour after rolling it out and putting it in the pie/tart pan. Apparently this helps keep it from shrinking when it bakes.
You should also pre-heat your oven to 375°F. You know, while the mixture is cooling and you’re rolling out your dough and/or par-baking the crust.
Scoop the onion mixture into the pie or tart crust. Whisk the eggs and cream together with a little salt and pepper. An immersion blender does a really splendid job of this but a whisk will be fine. Pour over the onion mixture and poke around a bit to make sure the cream goes all the way through the onions. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
Bake on a sheet pan (to catch possible drips) for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the tart comes out clean.
Allow to rest about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Oh, and by the way… This freezes uncooked remarkably well. I made 4 little individual tarts by lining the tart (mini springform) pans with plastic wrap, laying in the pie dough, adding the onion mixture, eggs and cheese and freezing them. When frozen, pop the tarts out of their little pans and wrap well, then place in a zip top bag and pop back in the freezer. When ready to bake, take one or however many you want out of the freezer, unwrap, stick them back in the tart pans and bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes. I imagine you could freeze the whole big tart but you’d have to adjust your cook time accordingly.