I have only recently come to terms with the notion of ‘less is more’. This was no easy change for me. I have always been a person disposed to the overuse of exclamation marks, hoarding possessions, saying too much, and generally overdoing everything. To address this inclination, I try to remind myself of the beauty of simplicity, with food. Exceptional food need not be complex. In fact the most memorable meals for me are almost always the humble ones. And somehow it is the simplicity that makes it exceptional. Lately I have been relating this kind of understanding to the other areas in my life. Like a little mantra – Make it beautiful, make it simple. Just like this tart.
Caramelised Onion & Cheddar Tart with a Polenta Crust
For the pastry
- 115g (4 oz) plain flour
- 115g (4 oz) polenta
- 115g (4 oz) butter, plus extra butter for greasing
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp iced water
For the filling
- 5 brown onions
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup natural yoghurt
- 1/3 cup cheddar cheese (cut into little cubes)
- Start by making the pastry. Place all the pastry ingredients, except the egg and water, into a food processor. Pulse until the butter is combined. Add egg and iced water and pulse again until the mix comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for a minute. Form the dough into a ball and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Next caramelise the onions. Peel and cut them in half, then slice them into half moons, about 4mm (1/6 inch) thick. Place them into a large heavy based pan with the olive oil and salt. Make sure the heat is low – I mean as low as you can possibly get without the gas going out. Give them a stir and let them go for an hour or so. Keep your eye on them and stir every now and then. You don’t want them crispy. When they are dark golden brown, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).
- After the pastry has rested, remove from the fridge and roll out both sides till you have a circular shape about 4mm (1/6th inch) thick, and wide enough to fit in a large flan tin. Grease a flan tin very well with butter, and lay the pastry over the top. Press the sides in with your fingers, then run the rolling pin over the top of the tin to trim off any excess – keep the left over pastry in case you need to patch up any holes. Blind bake by placing a sheet of baking paper over the top and filling it with dried beans. Place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.
- Fill the empty tart shell with the caramelised onion.
- Whisk together the eggs, yoghurt, and a big pinch of salt. Carefully pour this mixture over the onions, and use a wooden spoon to spread the onion and egg mix evenly. Scatter the cheese over the top and return this to the oven.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until set in the center. Cool on a wire rack and serve hot, warm, or cold.
* This post was first published over on the Lunch Lady website as I am sometimes lucky enough to be a contributor. You can check that out here