Onion tart with Lancashire cheese

Sweetly soft onions set in a creamy savoury custard make Paul Merretts little savoury quiches absolutely irresistible
By Paul Merrett
Onion tart with Lancashire cheese
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 4 tarts
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hr chilling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the short crust pastry

  • 200 g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • pinches salt
  • 100 g butter, cubed
  • 2-3 tbsp water

For the filling

  • 100 g butter
  • 4 large onions, finely sliced
  • 1 egg plus 3 egg yolk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 g quality lancashire cheese, such as Black Bomb, crumbled

For the salad

  • 4 small handfuls lambs lettuce
  • 4 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar

Tips and Suggestions

If you don't have heatproof cling film, you can use baking paper to line the tart cases.

Method

1. For the pastry: sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Quickly and lightly stir in enough of the water until it forms a smooth dough. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, lightly press into a flattened ball and wrap in cling film. Rest for an hour in the fridge before using.

2. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until 3mm thick, then use to line four 12cm loose-bottomed tart tins and place them on a baking tray.

3. Press a piece of heatproof cling film into each tart tin to cover the sides and base and fill the case to the brim with uncooked rice. Pinch the edges of the cling film together so the rice is sealed in the cling film.

4. Bake the pastry cases for about 10-20 minutes, or until the sides of the tart shells are cooked. Remove rice and bake for a further 5 minutes in oven, or until the base is cooked and feels dry to the touch. Set aside whilst you make the filling.

5. For the filling: melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and fry over a gentle heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to cook the onions until all the liquid has evaporated and the onions colour very slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

6. Once the onions have cooled, turn the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Stir the eggs and cream together in a bowl and add the fried onions. Season well, then add the crumbled cheese.

7. Divide the custard mixture between the tart cases and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to 170-180C/150-160C fan/gas 3-4 and bake for a further 5 minutes, to brown the tarts. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

8. For the salad: whisk the vinegar and oil together to make a dressing. Place the lambs lettuce and apple slices in a bowl, pour over the dressing and stir until combined.

9. Serve the tarts with the salad.

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