You know how sometimes things just stick with you from so early on in your life? This recipe is one of those things for me. Often called onion “pie”, this Caramelized Onion Tart features sweet onions and THE flakiest quiche-like crust you will ever eat.
I first remember seeing this recipe on an old t.v. show called Great Chefs of The World when I was a teenager. Years later saw another version on the same show by a different chef. Both either used cream or eggs…definitely not vegan. I decided to keep it simple and it absolutely worked!
The most difficult part of this recipe is patience. In order for the onions to caramelize properly, it takes time. If you can find sweet or Vidalia onions, this is a good place to start. If all you can find are white onions or traditional yellow onions, don’t despair. One tablespoon of sugar solves that problem and in fact, that is how I prepared mine today.
I wanted to show you the stages of caramelization for comparison purposes. In photo 2 are our raw, thickly sliced onions. This is important because if you slice them too thin, they will just disintegrate and we want them to retain their shape. They also stay really plump and juicy this way.
Photo 3 shows the now translucent onions after they have cooked in just under 1 Tbl of olive oil, a pinch of salt and 1 Tbl of sugar. The sugar helps the caramelization process along and they must be covered during this first 10 minutes or so.
After 10 minutes, I remove the lid and the end result, which you can see in the final photo 4, is a deep, golden color. The vapor hits the lid, the condensation goes back into the pan and the evaporation of this liquid is where we get our flavor through caramelization.
Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, the best advice I can give you are on the processes involved. To me, the crust just makes this dish what it is. I cannot stress how important it is not to overwork the dough. I don’t even let it come together in the food processor. This is when I call it “done”. You can still see bits of vegan margarine and vegetable shortening and that is exactly what we want.
Take the crumbly dough and pour it onto plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, press it into a flat disc shape, wrap and chill immediately. Over handling the dough will make it tough and this crust is super light and flaky.
I used a 14″ x 5″ rectangular tart/quiche pan with a removable bottom (found on Amazon.com, of course) and pressed it evenly around the pan. By no means does this have to be perfect. The less you handle it, the better.
The caramelized onions go in and the tart bakes for approximately 30 minutes at 375 to 400 degrees, or until the crust is lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes, remove from the pan and slice into wedges. Serve with a salad of mixed greens, fresh veggies and Kalamata olives.
Final tip….add a pinch of salt before serving. It just brings out the flavor even more. It’s simple, yet elegant. Sweet, yet savory.
If you decide to try it, please snap a quick photo and tag me on Instagram so I can see @theveglife1 🙂
- [u]FOR THE CRUST:[/u]
- 1-1/2 C All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt (I used 1/4)
- 4 Tbl Chilled, Vegan Margarine (I love Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
- 1/4 C Vegetable Shortening
- 3-4 Tbl Ice Cold Water (I put ice cubes in a cup of water and take my measured Tbl from there)
- [u]FOR THE ONION FILLING:[/u]
- 4 Large Onions, thickly sliced
- 1 Tbl Organic Sugar
- 1 Tbl Olive Oil (any oil will do here)
- 1/8 tsp of Salt
- OPTIONAL: 1-3 Tbl Vegetable Stock
- [u]TO MAKE THE TART CRUST:[/u]
- In the bowl of a food processor, add all of the ingredients except water. Pulse to process. Begin adding water, 1 Tbl at a time until it just barely resembles a coarse meal. Do not overmix.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, form into a flat disc shape and chill for a few hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and allow to warm just enough to press into the pan. When it’s cold, you’ll see it cracking. When you can press the cracked areas together and they stay, it’s ready to use.
- [u]TO MAKE THE ONION FILLING:[/u]
- In a large saute pan, add 1 Tbl of oil, four sliced onions, a pinch of salt and 1 Tbl of sugar. If you are using sweet or Vidalia onions, the sugar can be omitted.
- Cover and cook on medium high for 10-12 minutes. They should become translucent at this stage.
- Remove the cover and continue cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- If the pan gets too hot or the onions start to stick, add 1 Tbl of vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. Those brown bits on the bottom of the pan have a ton of flavor.
- Once the onions are completely caramelized, spoon them evenly into the unbaked tart shell.
- Bake at 375-400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. I started at 375, but near the end turned the heat up to 400 degrees for a bit of extra browning on the crust. Do not overake.
- Allow to cool slightly (those onions are HOT). Remove from the pan and slice into wedges.
- Serve with salad greens and Kalamata olives. They go really well with this tart.