So, you’ve got your easy all-butter flaky pastry, yes? This is one of the many, many delicious things you can do with it.
I love a good tart. Individual tarts are particularly good if you live on your own or as a couple; they look impressive and have the best crust-to-filling ratio.
This one is simple, requiring only a bit of time, and you’ll be rewarded by a tender, deeply savoury onion filling, crisp pastry and a nice egg on top. You won’t need a special tart tin for this recipe, just a baking tray, or perhaps even just a thick layer of foil to bake the tart on.
…. You can make the pastry and caramelised onions in advance ….
This is a very flexible recipe. You can make the pastry and caramelised onions in advance so all you need to do is assemble and bake the tarts. If you don’t want to use pastry at all, a nice wide flatbread works—not as luxurious but still doughy, warm and crisp. Simply adjust the cooking time as needed; you may, for example, need to cook the egg separately. I’d recommend sticking to fresh eggs as they stay nice and round when you cook them; egg white becomes runny with age.
Makes 2 tarts about 18 cm/7 inches across, enough for a decent meal for 2 people with something on the side.
- . 4 medium white/yellow onions
- . 1 tablespoon butter
- . ½ tsp sugar
- . Salt and pepper to season (nutmeg is nice, too)
- . About 200g flaky pastry dough
- . A little flour for dusting
- . 2 handfuls of any grated cheese you like
- . A few pinches of thyme, or any other herb you like
- . 2 fresh eggs
- Top, tail, and peel the onions. Cut into thin slices from root to tip. Use a medium-sized sharp knife for speed and less grief.
- Melt butter in large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, and a grinding of salt and pepper. Stir to coat the onions evenly with butter and cook at a gentle but lively sizzle until the onions are completely soft, fragrant, and lightly browned. Adjust the heat as needed; if the onions starts scorching, lower the heat and splash in a tiny bit of water to loosen. The browning may take a while â?? about 25 - 30 minutes â?? and the onions will shrink to about a quarter of their original volume. Turn out into a bowl and leave to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/180 fan.
- Prepare the tart base: cut the pastry dough in half. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll one dough portion out into a circle that's a bit thinner than a Â£1 coin (about 2mm) and about the size of a side plate (around 23 cm/9 inches).
- Transfer rolled dough to a baking tray (wrapping it round the rolling pin is easiest). Spread half of the onion filling onto the middle of the circle, just to cover the pastry with a thin layer. Leave a 4cm/1.5 inch border of bare pastry around the filling.
- Make the crust by folding the bare pastry over the filling in small pleated sections. Try to make sure the crust evenly encloses the filling as this will help provide a stable foundation for the egg later.
- Heap a handful of grated cheese in the centre of each tart and sprinkle over the herbs.
- Repeat with the other half of the pastry.
- Bake for 25 â?? 30 minutes in total until the crust is crisp and well browned, adding the eggs 8 â?? 10 minutes before the end of baking, 8 minutes for a completely runny yolk and 10 minutes for a firm (but not chalky) yolk.
- To add the eggs: you can carefully take the tarts out crack the eggs directly on top, aiming them at the middle of the tart. I prefer to crack the eggs into a small bowl and slip them on top. It doesn't matter if a bit of egg white runs off; the cheese should have melted down and the crust should have puffed up, providing a slight hollow for the egg.
- Serve immediately, perhaps with some wilted greens.