Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tart Alsace with Caramelized Onion

There is a wonderful Alsatian Tart at Trader Joe's, one of the very few ready-made dishes I buy. Although it is called a tart it looks rather like a flat bread, but it is neither. It is not really a tart, because is not made on a short crust, and it is not a flat bread, because flat breads are usually made using a pizza type, yeast dough, which this tart is not. It is very flat, crispy, and aromatic thanks to a rich topping, which contrasts nicely with its ascetic base.

Because this tart is imported from France I am afraid that it may disappear from the shelves one day as many other good items did. And since it is my whole family's favorite tart I decided to try to make it at home in case it will be discontinued one day.

I started to look for the right recipe on the internet but unfortunately none of them was exactly the same as the one which is used for that particular tart. The list of ingredients on the box is really short. For the base they include just flour, oil, and water. I decided to give it a try and make the dough from those ingredients. After a couple of adjustments, and modifying their proportions, my tart base was ready. I finished with the topping and after just ten minutes of baking the whole kitchen was filled with a smell of onion and melted cheese. A perfect Tart Alsace with caramelized onion was ready for dinner.

Tart Alsace with Caramelized Onion
(Serves four)


For the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour,
3-4 tbsp olive oil,
1 cup water,
1 tsp salt.

For the topping:
2 medium onions peeled and sliced,
1/2 cup sour cream,
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese,
4 oz pancetta or bacon,
2 tbsp olive oil,
1 tbsp fresh thyme,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. To make the dough, place flour and salt in a bowl of a standing mixer with a hook attachment. Mix water with oil and add to the flour. Run engine and mix all the ingredients until a smooth ball of dough forms. It will take between 3-5 minutes. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
2. To prepare the topping, heat the frying pan and fry chopped pancetta or bacon until it releases all the grease. Drain the bacon and set aside on the plate. Discard the grease.
3. On the same frying pan heat the oil and fry the onion until gold. Season with salt and pepper. Add fried bacon and mix with caramelized onion.

4. Grease a large baking sheet with oil.
5. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
6. Sprinkle a working surface with flour and roll up the dough as thinly as possible (to obtain a circle of about 12 inches in diameter). Using a rolling pin transfer the dough on the baking sheet.
7. Spread the sour cream on the top of the dough. Sprinkle with onion and fried bacon. Finish with Gruyère cheese, salt, pepper, and chopped thyme.
8. Pinch the end around the of the dough with fingers making a slightly thicker edge.

9. Put in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until tart becomes gold.

Serve with green salad and beer.