My neighbor has a big Fourth of July party every year. A couple of years ago, she made this tart to share with her guests. On the fifth of July (notice that “fifth” does not have the clout that “Fourth” does and therefore does not receive the initial capitalization), she called me to let me know that it had been a hit. But that there was just one problem. “They were upset that I made only one,” she said. I felt their pain.
If you’re feeding a crowd, it’s a good idea to make two of these. I, myself, have seen one tart wiped out by a backyard barbecue crowd in 30 seconds flat. You have been warned.
Caramelized Onion Tart with Fromage Blanc
1 sheet puff pastry
unsalted butter for greasing the tart pan
2 pounds onions, peeled and sliced in half, then cut across the grain into half circles
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
¼ cup Foxboro Cheese Company fromage blanc (plain, or chive for extra oniony flavor)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Pecorino-Romano
freshly ground black pepper
Defrost the puff pastry according to the package directions.
Grease a 9-inch tart pan (the tart pan should have removable bottom). Once defrosted, roll the dough out to 12 inches. I find that rolling the dough out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper makes the transfer-to-tart-pan task much easier - easier even than the wrap-around-rolling-pin transfer method.
Transfer the dough to the tart pan and tuck the dough in such that it fits snugly into the pan.
Trim overhanging dough corners such that a half-inch or so of dough overhangs, and gently press that overhanging dough into a small ledge around the perimeter of the pan.
Using a fork, stab the dough on the bottom of the tart pan all over and many, many times so as to allow steam to escape during cooking. Otherwise, your onions will be aloft on a puff pastry balloon, and that is not the desired result.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over top and stir to incorporate. Cook until the sugar begins to caramelize, turning a light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs so that excess liquid is left behind, lest you serve forth a soggy tart, remove the onions from the sauté pan to the tart pan. Strew them about so that they are spread evenly atop the dough.
Now, here is the important part: distribution of the fromage blanc. You will be wrangling it into smaller chunks, rather than spreading it as you might do on a piece of crusty bread. Place little pieces of the cheese, approximately the size of two or three ladybugs together (it’s summer, and ladybugs are generally considered pleasant, so I’m going with a bug reference here. I hope you don’t mind.), over top of the onions.
Next, sprinkle with the Pecorino-Romano, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the pastry crust and the onions are golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve it forth.
Copyright 2009, Amy McCoy/Poor Girl Gourmet. All Rights Reserved.