I always used to eat my vegetables first. Who are we kidding, I still do, nothing’s changed. I’m a big fan of getting things over with. So bad news first: I have been longing to make this Alsatian Onion Tart as soon as I laid hands on Baking with Julia. I was pretty thrilled throughout most of the preparations, but as I smeared the soft, sweet onions over the puff pastry dough, it hit me. This is not dinner. Lovely in a rustic sort of way, and promising to be delicious, yes. But dinner? Nope. Absolutely not substantial enough to be a meal. The good news is, I think it would make a fabulous appetizer for a party if you cut it up into nice bite size pieces. It is sweet and buttery rich. In fact, I’m packing up the leftovers and bringing them to my mother’s for snacking on during tree decorating. I’m thinking about making it for our Christmas Eve dinner. I’m planning cocktail parties, just so I can serve it again. But it is not dinner.
Alsatian Onion Tart
adapted from Baking with Julia
2 -3 large onions chopped (I know it sounds like a lot. I used 1.5 and was sorry it was so skimpy).
1 cup chicken stock
4 slices bacon chopped
1 sheet puff pastry dough, defrosted and rolled out to the size of a large cookie sheet or thereabouts
½ cup shredded gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350. Put the onions and chicken broth into a pan over low heat and cook for 30 minutes until the onions are very soft. Drain off any extra liquid (I had none, but Julia says to do it, so if you have extra liquid…) In a separate pan, cook the bacon. Don’t let it get too crisp, because it will be going back in the oven, and you want them non-charred. Roll out the puff pastry dough until it’s very thin, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. This will keep the dough from rising, which is what you want.Transfer the dough to a large ungreased cookie sheet (or a pizza stone I suppose).Spread the gruyere over the dough. Add the onions and spread the onions all the way to the edge. Top with the bacon. Cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Surprise Treat: Palmiers
So, it turns out that the Alsatian Onion Tart only requires the use of one puff pastry sheet. And honestly, who’s going to wrap the other sheet up and stick it in the freezer when you could be using it to make palmiers instead!
Recipe halved from Barefoot Contessa
1 C of sugar
1 sheet puff pastry dough
Prehead oven to 450.
Pour half the cup of sugar on the surface you will be using to roll out the dough. Lay down the dough and then pour the other half of sugar on top. Spread the sugar all over the top of the dough, the goal being to coat the dough with sugar. Roll out the dough to a 13x13 square. Then fold the two outside edges in towards the middle so they go halfway to the middle. The fold them again so they touch in the middle, then fold one more time so all the layers are stacked on top of each other. Cut into 3/8" slices and put cut side up on your baking sheet. The recipe tells you to use parchment paper, but I don't own any so I went with out. Lucky for you, things were awfully chaotic in the kitchen when I was making these, so I got to test out several different methods. I have learned: Pepperidge Farm is not kidding when they say not to cook puff pastry in a toaster oven. It heats up far to unevenly. Bad call. Also, if you have a light colored baking sheet (as opposed to your older, deeper gray to black ones), it makes for lighter colored (urm, Not Burnt) palmiers. Cook for ~6 minutes on the first side, and then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Cool down on a baking rack.