Onion Tartlet cut into squares to be served as an appetizer
Mary Anne here. As an addendum to the recipes we posted for Afternoon Tea for 20 this past spring, we wanted to add a few more, since we’re in the thick of Bridal Shower and Tea Luncheon season. Mariel’s bridal shower is coming up in July, and naturally, I’ll be catering it.
I originally created this recipe as a first course for a formal dinner party but given its popularity, I have gone on to use it as an appetizer for cocktail parties as well as an alternative to tea sandwiches (which can be incredibly time-consuming). As a first course, this recipe is truly economical and as an hors d’oeuvre it may well be the cheapest ever! If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, treat yourself and reheat it for lunch or dinner alongside a crisp green salad and a chilled glass of white wine.
Caramelized Onion Tartlets
Makes 84 Hors d’Oeuvres or 18 First Courses
Tip: I often prepare the components of this the day before, and then assemble and bake the tart at the last minute. For a “fancier” look you may want it to look like miniature tartlets. Simply cut out the pieces with a 1½ inch round cookie cutter. (Then feast on the scraps!)
Equipment: For this recipe you will need a 12x17x1 inch cookie sheet, your largest sauté pan, a large mixing bowl, and a wire whisk. If preparing a homemade crust, you will also need a food processor. Store-bought crusts or puff pastry sheets will also work.
Ingredients for the Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour – stock
2 sticks (8 oz.) cold, unsalted butter, cut up – stock
1 Teaspoon salt – stock
¾ cup ice-cold water
Directions for Crust:
1. Place the first 3 ingredients into the bowl of a food processor armed with the metal blade. Press pulse to blend; the pastry will look like coarse meal.
2. Very gradually, add the cold water while briefly pulsing until just moist and blended. It should be easily gathered into a large ball. (Remember, the less you handle the raw pastry, the flakier the end product, so be gentle!)
3. Place the ball of dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gently flatten into a round disc. Refrigerate for 1 hour. *Ahead-of-time note: the dough can be made the day before.
4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit a 12x17x1 inch baking sheet leaving a 1” overhang. Fold the overhang of pastry back onto itself to create a thicker edge of crust.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of pastry all over with a fork and then line with tin foil. Scatter pastry weights (or dried beans or rice) evenly over the bottom and all the way to its edges.
6. Bake the prepared shell for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake an additional 15 minutes until the pastry is pale gold and the bottom is dry.
Ingredients for the Filling:
1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into slices - stock
8 cups of Vidalia onion, diced (about 3 large onions) – $2.42
1 clove garlic, minced – stock
Splash of Balsamic vinegar – stock
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated (8 ½ oz.) – $7.07
8 large eggs, lightly beaten – stock
1 cup cottage cheese – $0.84
2 cups light cream or half & half – $2.00
1-Teaspoon Kosher salt – stock
½ Teaspoon black pepper – stock
¼ Teaspoon nutmeg – stock
¼ cup flat-leaf parsely, chopped – $0.24
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $12.57
Per Serving as an appetizer: $0.15
Per Serving as a First-Course: $0.70
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On the stove top, over medium flame, heat the butter in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the onions.
2. Add the onions to the melted butter and sauté, stirring frequently for 20 minutes until pale and golden.
3. Lower the flame slightly and add the garlic and a splash of Balsamic Vinegar. Sauté an additional 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, cottage cheese, and seasonings.
5. Spread the onion mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pastry shell. Follow with the grated Gruyere cheese.
6. Pour the wet mixture over the onions and cheese and bake until the custard is set and the top is puffed and golden, about 35 minutes.
Allow the Tart to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Using a sharp knife, cut into either 84 squares or larger portions if serving as a first course or luncheon entrée.