For a fresh, unique dinner to mix up your summer and fall tables, try this sweet and savory and gooey apple onion tart recipe.
If a sweet brunch or dessert dish comes to mind when you think of tarts, this is a great recipe to expand your repertoire. Savory tarts were actually the original tart and date back to Medieval times. They were originally filled with meat and considered the fancier version of the poor man’s meat pie.
As sugar availability increased, so did the craving for tarts with sweet fillings, and now we mostly just think of sweet tarts rather than the savory original. Most tarts are made with Gruyere, or with eggs in the case of quiches.
Gruyere makes an ideal cheese for tarts because of its flavor and consistency. It has a distinct, almost nutty flavor that is not as intense, or as polarizing, as some other stinky cheeses. Fair warning – the combined smell of the onions and cheese in this dish may be a little overpowering; I recommend cooking this on a day you can leave the windows open.
The combination of the cheese and caramelized onions makes for a savory base with already deep flavor, and the remainder of the ingredients tack on more layers to create an interesting dish that will leave you going back for bite after bite to study the profile.
The combination of the creme fraiche and dijon mustard cuts the Gruyere with a bit of tang and creaminess, and then the sweet apple gives it some crisp. The aromatic thyme tricks your senses into thinking you are eating in a garden.
Eat this apple onion tart fresh for the best results. Making it the night before gives the crust time to get soggy. If you do want to serve it for brunch or are otherwise short on time, pre-bake the crust in the tart plan, and just add the ingredients to the shell and warm before serving.
If serving this as a meal, a fresh spring salad with a honey mustard or balsamic vinaigrette would be a perfect accompaniment.
Tips for Working with a Tart Pan
Tart pans usually have a removable bottom piece so that you can pop the tart up and out of the sides without having to flip the delicate crust as you would a cake. To keep this bottom piece from coming out at inopportune times, like when you have a completely full tart that you are transporting to the oven, keep the tart pan on a baking sheet at all times until you are ready to remove the tart from the pan. This way, you can hold onto the baking sheet rather than trying to maneuver the tart pan and jostling the delicate crust.
The other thing that can be challenging with a tart pan is keeping the crust in place. You will want to firmly press the dough against the ridges on the sides of the pan and the crease along the bottom. Then, add a round of parchment paper to the bottom and fill the pan with pie weights, beans, or sugar to keep the crust in place.
You actually want to add enough beans so that they can really press up against the sides of the pan and support the crust.
Whether your crust is a little crumbly or picture perfect, this will definitely be a welcome meal.
Apple Onion Tart: Ingredients and Instructions
- 1 9-inch pie crust, either store-bought or homemade
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups Gruyere, shredded
- ¾ cup creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place a pie crust over and in a 9-inch tart pan. Firmly press the crust into the pan, and then cover with parchment paper and pie weights or beans.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and remove the parchment paper and weights from the crust. Bake for another 10 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the apple onion tart’s filling. Warm the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and swirl to combine.
- Cook the onion slices until brown on each side, which should take several minutes. Smaller onions will need to be removed from the pan first, so keep an eye on their progress.
- Shred the Gruyere; thinly slice the cored apples; and remove the thyme leaves from the stems and give them a little chop as well.
- Combine the mustard and creme fraiche. After removing the baked pie crust from the oven, spread the mustard mixture over the bottom of the crust.
- Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the mustard mixture. Cover the cheese with a layer of apples, and top the apples with the caramelized onions. Sprinkle one-half of the thyme on top of the apples and onions.
- Top with the remaining cheese and time.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 20 minutes, and then enjoy!