Made this Tart for lunch. Perfect for vegetarians as this is absolutely meat free. If you love onions as much as we do, then you will like this. The cornmeal gives the pastry a crumbly texture. The recipe calls for Fontina Cheese, which I do not have, and have not even seen it before nor heard of this cheese, so I googled for info on this cheese, and found out that Fontina Cheese is a semi-soft cheese which comes from Italy. It makes a good table cheese and is mild and smooth when melted. Since I only have Cheddar Cheese, I just used that instead. From the picture in the book, the Fontina Cheese seems to melt beautifully into the onions. But not the Cheddar Cheese, it melts but the tart looks like the top of a pizza. :) I should have grated the Cheddar Cheese instead, then it would be easier to spread it evenly over the tart. I am imagining the flavours of the melted Fontina Cheese, should be really good! Use Fontina, instead of Cheddar!
- Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, fresh thymes (from my garden :) ) and black pepper powder in a large bowl, stir to combine.
- Add in butter and rub or cut in.
- Rub till mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Bind pastry to a soft dough. Shape into a ball.
- Flatten slightly, wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll out and line a tart pan, prick base all over with a fork, cover sides with strips of foil, bake for about 12-15 minutes till lightly browned.
- Sliced onions thinly, heat some oil and cook over low heat, covered for 20-30 minutes. Add in thymes and garlic and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat slightly and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
- Remove foil, fill pastry base with onion filling and place cheese on top, drizzle with a little oil.
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes until filling is hot.
Fresh from the oven! Garnish with some chopped fresh thyme.
Serve hot! It tastes better while it is still hot. Don't forget to make a pot of tea to go with this!
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Red Onion Tart With A Cornmeal Crust
Serves 5 to 6
For The Filling
60ml (4tbsp) olive oil
1 kg (2-1/4lb) red onion, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5ml (1tsp) chopped fresh thyme, plus a few whole sprigs
5ml (1tsp) soft dark brown sugar
10ml (2tsp) sherry vinegar (I use balsamic vinegar)
225gm (8oz) Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
salt and ground black pepper
For The Pastry
115gm (4oz / 1 cup) plain flour (all-purpose)
75gm (3oz / 3/4 cup) fine yellow cornmeal
5ml (1tsp) soft dark brown sugar
5ml (1tsp) chopped fresh thyme
90gm (3-1/2oz / 7 tbsp) butter, diced
1 egg yolk
30-45ml / 2-3 tbsp chilled water
- To make the pastry, sift the flour and cornmeal with 5ml/1tsp salt in a bowl. (I used salted butter, so I only add in a pinch of salt). Add plenty of black pepper and stir in the sugar and thyme. Rub or cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Beat the egg yolk with 30ml/2tbsp water and use to bind the pastry, adding more water if necessary. Gather into a ball, wrap in clear film (plastic wrap) and chill for 30 minutes.
- To make the filling, heat 45ml/3tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the onions. Cover and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the garlic and chopped thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Increase the heat slightly, then add the sugar and sherry vinegar. Cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes until the onions start to caramelize slightly. Season and cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Roll out the pastry thinly and use to line a 25cm/10 in loose-based flan tin (quiche pan). Prick the pastry all over with a fork and support the sides with foil. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is just lightly coloured.
- Remove the foil and spread the onions in the base of the pastry case. Add the Fontina and season to taste. Drizzle over the remaining oil, then bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling is hot. Garnish with a few thyme sprigs and serve immediately.