One of the best and most versatile recipes a savvy home cook should have in their repertoire is a simple pastry dough recipe. Well, are you in for a treat! One of the components for my Savory French Tart happens to be a buttery pastry crust made with a recipe that does not require any specialty equipment, ingredients, or large amounts of time. The dough can be transformed into either a sweet or savory base by just adding or subtracting ingredients like white pepper, rosemary, sugar, and other fresh herbs and spices. You can then use the dough for tarts, pies, quiches, and crostatas.
With the holiday season fast approaching I am always thinking of recipes that I can make in advance, have multiple uses, and serve to my guests in a few different settings. My Savory French Tart fits the bill! I can make it ahead of time and serve it with a simple salad and a bowl of White Bean Soup with Fresh Parsley Pesto for a dinner party, I can serve it at cocktail hour for an hors d’oeuvre, or even as part of a buffet, the list goes on and on! Happy entertaining!
Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Savory French Tarts for a complete tutorial:
French Savory Tarts
Ingredients (serves 4 - 6)
Flour – 1½ cups, all-purpose
Butter – 1 stick, diced, unsalted, very cold
Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon
Sugar – 2 teaspoons, granulated
White Pepper – ½ teaspoon
Rosemary – 1 tablespoon, fresh, finely minced
Water – 8 tablespoons, very cold
Yellow Onions – 4 cups, thinly sliced
Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted
Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons
Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced
Sugar – 1 teaspoon, granulated
Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon
Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon
Eggs – 4 extra-large, at room temperature
Heavy Cream – 1 cup
Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon
Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon
Nutmeg – ¾ teaspoon, freshly grated
Place the flour, salt, white pepper, sugar, and fresh rosemary into a medium sized bowl. Whisk to mix ingredients.
Next add the butter. Use a pastry blender to quickly break the butter into pea-sized pieces.
Add the ice water and with your hand slightly cupped quickly work the water into the flour.
Lightly flour you work surface (a granite or marble countertop is ideal as it keeps the dough very cold).
Press the dough into a roughly shaped ball.
Using the heel of one hand and rapidly press the dough in small amounts onto the board and away from you. Repeat this process two times. Doing so will ensure that the butter has been completely blended.
Gather the dough into a smooth ball, dust lightly with flour, and wrap it in waxed paper.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Butter an 11½ inch tart pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it onto a lightly floured work surface.
Quickly roll out the dough to be slightly larger than your pan and to be about ⅛-inch thick, making sure to lift and turn the dough during the rolling process to prevent it from sticking.
Fold the rolled piece of dough into quarters and gently place it in ¼ or the prepared tart pan. Unfold the dough inside the tart pan.
Gently press the dough onto the bottom of the tart pan. Then lift the edges of the dough from underneath and work it around the sides of the tart pan. Trim off the excess dough by rolling your pin over the top of the pan.
Prick the bottom of the dough all over several times with the tines of a small fork. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill it to the top with dried beans or pie weights.
Place the tart pan onto a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Carefully remove the parchment paper and beans, prick the bottom of the dough again with a small fork, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Set aside. Leave the tart pan on the sheet pan.
In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and sugar.
Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are very tender and caramelized.
Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
Spread the onions in an even layer on the bottom on the partially baked tart shell.
Custard & Assembly
Whisk the eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Pour the mixture slowly into the tart shell over the onions.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the tart is slightly puffed and golden.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes, then unmold the tart from the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Optional Garnish: Before baking, dot the top with goat cheese and ⅛-inch thick sliced rounds of peeled red onion. Bake as directed.
Tip: Finished tart can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Idea: You can make the dough 2 days ahead of time. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Follow all preparation and baking instructions as written.