TARTE A L’OIGNON
(Alsatian Savory Onion Tart)
The following recipe for a classic onion tart, a.k.a. quiche, is adapted from LindaDannenberg’s collection appearing in ParisBoulangerie-Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen OutstandingFrench Bakeries . My version of this recipe foronion quiche is adapted from a 1995 article in The Washington Post.
FOR THE PATÉ BRISÉE:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for working the dough
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cold water, plus more as needed
FOR THE FILLING:
½ ounces slabbacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound onions (about 4 medium), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
½ cup crèmefraîche or heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt(optional)
To make the paté brisée: Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and form a wellin the center. Add the butter and cut the mixture together with a pastry cutter or, ifusing a food processor, pulse the mixture until crumbly. Add the water and stir the doughvigorously, or pulse in a food processor, until the dough comes together. Add 1 or 2 moretablespoons of water if the dough is dry. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Formthe dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thin 11-inch circle and transfer itwithout stretching to a 9-inch tart pan* with a removable bottom, preferably black tin orsteel. Trim the edges and place the tart pan on a baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
To make the filling: In a heavy-bottomed skillet, sauté the bacon cubes overmedium heat, stirring, until lightly golden, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 or 2 T. of the baconfat from the pan, then add the butter.
Sauté the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are tender andtransparent, about 10 minutes; do not let them brown. Stir in the flour, then remove thepan from the heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, crème fraîche or cream and the optional salt.Stir the bacon and the onion mixture until combined Pour the filling into the crust.
Bake the tart in the preheated 400° F. oven until the pastry and filling are lightlygolden, 30 to 35 minutes
Cool for 5 min. on a wire rack, then carefully remove the sides of the tart pan.
Serve hot, cut into wedges.
Yield: 6 servings
*NOTE: This tart can also be made free-form on a baking sheet, pizza-style. Roll outthe dough to a 13-inch circle and gently transfer to a baking sheet. Brush around theouter edge of the dough with cold water and then roll the edge inward about 1-inch to forma raised border. That could result in a very, thick crust on outer edge; a regular pieplate is another alternative and avoids the “pizza effect” but disallowspresenting a free-floating quiche to your guests.
BACON and CHEESE QUICHE
This quiche from “How to Bake” by Nick Malgieri is a perfect example of asimple, yet elegant, brunch or lunch dish. This version of Malgiens recipe isadapted from an article in The Washington Post, appearing on Wednesday, October 18,1995.
FOR THE CRUST:
¼ cups bleachedall-purpose flour, plus extra for working the dough
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon bakingpowder
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cold water
FOR THE FILLING:¼ poundthick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ cup milk
½ cup heavy(whipping) cream
3 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshlyground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyere, Emmenthal, or Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
To make the crust: Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium mixingbowl or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, stir or pulse to mix. Addthe butter to the dry ingredients and toss or pulse once to coat the pieces of butter. Rubthe butter into the dry ingredients with your hands or a pastry blender, or, if using afood processor, pulse at 1-second intervals, until the mixture resembles coarsely groundcornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible. Beat the egg and water together ina small bowl and pour over the flour mixture.
Stir with a fork or pulse 10 times or so, until dough begins to form a ball.
Scatter a teaspoon of flour over the work surface and scrape the dough out onto it. Pressand knead the dough quickly 3 or 4 times, until it is smooth and uniform.
Press the dough into a circle. Sandwich it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pressinto a 6-inch circle. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour., can be longer,depending on when you plan to use it When ready, roll out the dough to fit a 9-to-10-inchtart pan with a removable bottom.* Chill the crust while you prepare the filling. Set therack at the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375° F.
To make the filling: Place the bacon in a 1 1/2-quart saucepan and cover with coldwater. Bring to a boil over low heat and drain the water off immediately. Return the baconto the pan and cook over low heat until the bacon renders some of its fat and begins tosizzle, about 5 min. Do not cook the bacon until it is crisp, or it will be hard in thequiche. Remove the bacon pieces from the pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towelto drain.
Combine the milk, heavy cream, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk to blend.Arrange the bacon and grated cheese evenly over the chilled crust and strain the fillingover it. Dot with the butter.
Bake the quiche in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the pastry is bakedthrough and the filling is set and puffed.
Place the pan on a rack to cool for a few minutes. To unmold, stand the pan on a large canor canister and allow the rim to fall away. Slide the quiche from the pan’s bottom onto alarge, flat-bottomed platter.
Yield: 8 servings
*Note: Special tart pans are not absolutely necessary for quiche. A regular pie platewill do. Presenting the uncut quiche out of the baking pan is an aesthetic consideration.
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