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baking American, French
Caramelized Onion Tarts Recipe-15709

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This reminds me of a really good onion soup, with its sweet onions cooked with a little sugar until soft and then simmered until they turn into a golden, glossy confit. A touch of vinegar ensures that the tart filling is sweet without being cloying. Don’t be surprised when you start with a large pile of raw onions in your pan--they will melt down a lot as they cook. In classic style, onions for confit are cooked in duck fat. If you want to substitute it for the olive oil, it is available in specialty food stores.

Caramelized onion tarts are the perfect appetizer to make ahead of time. The onion confit and the tart shells are prepared separately, and the baked shells are filled just before serving. You can make a single 9-inch onion tart, but it will be a little difficult to cut neatly; individual tarts are much easier to handle.

Serve onion confit under a seared and roasted fish steak or fillet. For caramelized onion and duck tarts, add 1 cup of Braised Duck Meat to the onion confit.

This pate brisee is good for sweet or savory tarts; it will make one 9-inch piecrust.

Yield: Makes 6 appetizer servings


For the pate brisee:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 stick plus 7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup cold water

For the onion confit:

  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 pounds red onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ to ¾ cup Veal Stock, Vegetable Stock, or low-salt canned broth (optional)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 3 teaspoons minced chives
  • 6 tablespoons Chive Oil, optional


For the pate brisee:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, use dough hook on low speed to combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter by chunks. When the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal, add the water and mix thoroughly, but do not overmixed. The dough will be moist (but it will be tough if overmixed).

Gently shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight

When ready to hake, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. On a lightly floured board, roll each piece 1/8 inch thick and press into a 4-to 4½-inch tart pan, making sure it extends ¾ inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line each shell with aluminum foil and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes, then remove the foil and beans, reduce the temperature to 375°F., and bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

For the onion confit:

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over high heat until shimmering. Add tbe onions, sprinkle with the sugar, and cook without stirring for 5 minutes. Stir, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook 5 minutes more. Raise the heat to high, add ½ cup of stock, and boil for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and continue cooking 10 to 12 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-high as the onions begin to brown.

Taste and add stock if the onions are too tart, or vinegar if they are too sweet. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

To serve:

Remove the shells from the tart pans. Spoon about ½ cup of the onions into each shell, sprinkle with the minced chives, and place on individual serving plates. Drizzle each plate with the optional chive oil.


Substitute balsamic vinegar for sherry vinegar, Perfect Flaky Piecrust or frozen purchased puff pastry for the pate brisee.


Order of preparation:

• Prepare the pate brisee and refrigerate.

• Prepare the chive oil

• Blake the tart shells.

• While the shells are baking, prepare the onion confit.

• Assemble the tarts.

Make-ahead notes:

• The pate brisee can be refrigerated as long as overnight; it can be frozen up to 1 month.

• The baked tart shells can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature overnight or in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

• The chive oil can be refrigerated up to 2 days.

• The onion confit can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

© 1996 Debra Ponzek and Joan Schwartz

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, but does not include Veal or Vegetable Stock, or optional Chive Oil. For nutritional information on Veal or Vegetable Stock, please follow the links above.

591kcal (30%)
68mg (7%)
17mg (28%)
260mcg RAE (9%)
81mg (27%)
500mg (21%)
21g (103%)
38g (59%)
2mg (13%)

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