19 Jul 2022 New log entry: When in France… ↙ Report?
There’s something about being in France that makes me want to cook all those classic French dishes we associate with the country. Homemade galettes were a bit of a disaster – that thin lacy buckwheat batter is surprisingly hard to work with. Moules Mariniere went down rather better with my crew. And today’s French onion tart was one of the most popular on-board meals yet.
I started with a BBC Good Food recipe and adapted it to suit my ingredients and galley facilities. The pastry was actually incredibly easy and satisfying to make (and would be even easier if you had access to a food processor), but you can buy ready rolled pastry in most supermarkets if you’d rather take a shortcut for this step. And if, like me, you don’t have any baking beans to hand, fear not – dried beans such as kidney beans, or even dry lentils, work just as well to weigh the pastry down when you’re baking the tart case.
For the pastry:
- 200g plain flour
- 100g very cold butter, grated
- 50g finely grated Emmental / Gruyere / Comte cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
For the filling
- olive oil and butter
- 3 large onions, halved and finely sliced into half-moons
- sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 100g of your favourite cheese – I used a mixture of Emmental and a Dolcelatte-style blue cheese
- 300ml double cream
- 2 large eggs
- Grate the cold butter into the flour, and add the salt and a good grinding of pepper, along with the finely grated cheese and chopped thyme. Mix well, and add the water gradually until the pastry starts to come together. Wrap into a ball and chill for at least half an hour.
- Meanwhile, pour some olive oil and a knob of butter into a frying pan, and cook the sliced onions on a gentle heat. Sprinkle with sea salt and stir regularly to prevent them sticking. After 30-40 minutes they should have begun to caramelise and colour. You may need to add a sprinkling of sugar to speed the process up. Once the onions have softened and are looking suitably sticky, add the white wine vinegar and cook for a further five minutes until this has been absorbed. Then remove from the heat.
- Roll out the pastry dough and place into a lined tart tin. Lay a sheet of baking paper over the pastry, and fill the tart with baking beans or raw kidney beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then remove the beans and bake for a further five minutes, or until the dough no longer has any raw patches.
- Whisk the eggs and cream together, then add the grated cheese and the caramelised onions. Pour into the pre-baked tart shell and bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is set, but retains a slight wobble.
- Once you have taken it out of the oven, let the cooked tart cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving with green salad and new potatoes.