Rick Stein’s onion tart from Alsace

Is there anything more gorgeous than lots of onions cooked with butter for up to an hour? In this recipe, they’re simply combined in a shortcrust pastry case with egg yolks and cream then baked. This is the sort of tart the French do so well. Go easy with the nutmeg – a soupçon is enough but still makes a difference. 

onion tart from alsace
James Murphy

SERVES 4-6

PASTRY

225g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
130g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp ice-cold water

FILLING

60g butter
800g onions, finely sliced
200ml double cream
4 egg yolks, beaten
a rasp or 2 of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and black pepper

1. For the pastry, put the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until you have a mixture resembling breadcrumbs. Transfer it to a bowl, add the egg yolk and just enough of the water to bring the dough together; too much water makes tough pastry.

2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board. Roll it out to a circle about 26cm in diameter and use it to line a 23cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Cover and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.

3. While the pastry is chilling, make the tart filling. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onions, stirring to coat them in butter. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the onions over a low heat for 30-45 minutes until they are meltingly soft and sweet, checking occasionally to stir.

4. Take the pan off the heat then stir in the cream and the egg yolks. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans then bake for about 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper then put the pastry back into the oven for 3-4 minutes to dry out the base a little. Turn the oven down to 170C/150C fan.

5. Pour the onion mixture into the pastry and bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set. Serve warm or at room temperature with a green salad.

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rick stein secret france recipeRick Stein’s Secret France by Rick Stein will be published on Thursday 31 October by BBC Books, price £26. To pre-order a copy with free p&p for £20.80 until 10 November, visit mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155.