Irish Cook

A Lovely Winter Warmer

Photo courtesy of Ely Wine Bar

Photo courtesy of Ely Wine Bar

Well into winter now—make that “enough already”—you’ll appreciate this simple-but-delicious, warm and welcoming tart that can be made “from scratch” or with everyone’s favorite “cheat” — prepared or frozen piecrust. The caramelized onions add a distinctive flavor and Kerrygold’s Cashel Blue cheese a definite degree of elegance. The recipe originated at Dublin’s Ely Wine Bar and first appeared in my Flavors of Ireland cookbook.

Caramelized Onion-Blue CheeseTart
Serves 6

Tart Pastry
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
8 tbsp. unsalted Irish butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp. cold water
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 oz. Cashel Blue cheese, crumbled
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
6 large egg yolks
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Thyme sprigs for garnish

1. Into a food processor fitted with a metal blade, sift the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse 8–10 times or until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the machine running, add the egg yolk and just enough water to combine the dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 3 days. (The dough can be frozen at this point for up to 2 months.)
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 in. circle. Press the dough into a tart pan with removable bottom, leaving a 1/2 in. overhang around the rim.
4. Fold in the excess dough to form thick edges. Prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Cut a piece of foil or parchment to fit the pan, and top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
5. Remove weights and parchment and bake for 10–15 minutes more, or until the bottom is browned. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Reduce heat to 350°F.
6. To make the filling, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and thyme and cook for 3–5 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not browned. Add the sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool. Strain off excess liquid and spread the onion mixture evenly over the baked pastry. Sprinkle the cheese over the onions.
7. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, egg yolks, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over the cheese and onions and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the top is golden and the filling is set. To serve, cut into slices and garnish with thyme sprigs.

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