This weekend, I was over at my friend Kristen’s house, where she rather graciously allowed me to cook her dinner. Kristen and I are similar in the kitchen – commanding, authoritative, and . . . well, we like to be in control. We’ve taken to making dinners on the weekends, and we devised a plan: either she cooks and I watch and drink wine, or I cook, and she watches and drinks wine (okay, whoever cooks is also drinking wine). This weekend, I got to cook.
It’s easy, if not inevitable, to overdose on sweet stuff when you write a pastry blog, so I wanted something savory for a change. I’ve also been on a bit of a pie crust rampage, so I was determined to make something with pie crust. Savory . . . pie crust . . . this sounds like it calls for cheese.
Like, say, a goat cheese tart with caramelized onions – a recipe I adapted from Ina Garten. No, it doesn’t sound very summery, and it will heat up your kitchen, but Kristen’s air conditioning is much better than mine. And really, all you need is a tiny slice, and with a side salad and glass of Prosecco it makes a really lovely and light summer lunch or dinner.
Goat Cheese Tart with Caramelized Onions
Adapted from Ina Garten
For the crust
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes and frozen
2 tbs shortening, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
1 tbs butter
10 1/2 oz soft goat cheese
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Freeze the flour mixture, butter, shortening, and the processor blade for 1/2 hour before using. Fit the blade on the processor, and then add the flour mixture, butter, and shortening to the bowl. Pulse a couple of time, in five second bursts – until the butter and shortening are the size of small peas. Add the ice water through the feeder tube and pulse until the dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
While the dough is chilling, caramelize your onions: very thinly slice the onions. Heat butter in a large saucepan on low heat. Add onions and slowly cook, stirring occasionally until very brown and reduced for 45 minutes to 1 hour (for more info on caramelizing onions, you can check out my earlier post). Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a circle (dough should be approximately 1/8 inch thick). Place dough in a 9 inch tart shell with a removable bottom, gently pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. Cut off excess dough around the edges. Score the bottom of the tart shell with the tines of a fork, to keep the dough from rising.
Place a piece of parchment or buttered tinfoil onto the crust (it should cover the entire crust) and lightly press it down. Fill the foil with pie weights (dried rice or beans will also do). Bake tart for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment or foil and bake tart for another 10 minutes.
While the crust is blind baking, make the filling: with an electric mixer, beat the goat cheese until soft and creamy. Add the heavy cream, eggs, basil, salt and pepper and beat until smooth.
Spread the caramelized onions over the bottom of the pre-baked tart crust. Pour the filling over the onions, until the crust is full (you may have some left over). Return to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is puffed and lightly brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from tart pan to serve.