Sweet Vidalia Tart! 

The Mountain Life Team Blogger June 18, 2014

55b3352d5633518e69cd8d0ebb08b6f0Vidalia Onion season has arrived here in Georgia; the only location in the world where Vidalia Sweet Onions grow. True lover’s of this savory sweet goodness anxiously await every spring for the arrival. There are so many recipes for the use of the Vidalia, but this is a unique tart recipe.  From cookbook, Tart Love – Sassy, Savory and Sweet (Gibbs Smith, October, 2011).

If you have a favorite recipe – send it to us & we’ll post to our blog.

Master Savory Pastry

Makes two 9-inch tart crusts

2½ cups White Lily all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) AA grade unsalted butter, cold and cut into ¼-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or just enough to hold the pastry together

I will be paraphrasing here and I urge you to purchase Holly’s book for more detailed information on Tart baking. The key to “flaky, perfect pastry is minimal manipulation of the dough.” Flour contains gluten and over working the dough makes for a tough tart. I tried six times before the 7th came out adequate and the 9th time came out pretty close. I intend to master the art of tart making and will be signing up for classes in the near future.

Butter must be cold, cold, cold, not frozen but really cold. Freeze refrigerated butter for approximately 30 minutes before using. If you already freeze butter (because you buy in bulk) remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before using.

Pour water in a bowl with ice and then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Use either a food processor or mix by hand with a pastry blender. Combine the dry ingredients by pulsing 10-12 times in the food processor or by pasty blender.

The butter needs to be quickly blended in until it resembles the size of very coarse sand or seat salt.” This comes with 40-50 quick pulses using the processor or same for cutting with the pastry blender.

Next add the water. Slowly “trickle” the water into the dough while pulsing or cutting. When the dough forms a “big, messy ball, STOP!” At this point, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of flour. If it is sticky or gummy, throw it out and start over. (Which I did six times)

Turn out the pastry on a floured surface and shape into a 2-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Remember this recipe makes two 9-inch crusts. Divide in half and double wrap the dough and freeze up to two months. When ready for another tart, remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Now it’s time to roll out. On a floured surface, place the dough ball. Holly says “Give the pastry a few love taps to break it in” by use of the rolling pin. Turn the dough over, sprinkle flour and begin rolling out. Turn the pastry frequently in quarter turns adding bits of flour to top and bottom to prevent it from sticking to the surface. Roll the dough forming the shape of the tart pan you will be using. When the dough is ¼ thick, it’s ready to place onto the tart pan.

Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully place over the tart pan as you unroll. Once formed inside the pan read further to decide on how to finish the Edge/Border.

Finishing the Tart Border. There is Flush and Elevated. For a Flush Border, once the pastry is fitted into the pan, take the rolling pin and roll over the edges. The excess dough falls off. For Elevated, lift about ½ inch excess dough hanging over the edge back to the interior of the pan. Now roll the pin over the edging. Press the dough with your thumb and forefinger elevating the edging.

Pre-heat oven to 375° F oven and cook pastry 20 minutes, remove from the oven and paint this partially baked pastry with an egg wash using one whole egg and a little water and returned to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Note to self: Pay closer attention to crust edge and turn pastry in oven for even heating.

Prepare the Filling:

For one 9-inch tart

Three large Vidalia Onions, sliced
Three slices bacon, lardon (or cooked then chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste, preferably Kosher and freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon of coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup Marsala unless you have dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon honey
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon whole cream

Heat a large sauté pan (skillet) on medium high, cook the bacon lardon. When browned, remove to paper towels to drain. Pour from pan, all but a couple of tablespoons of rendered fat.

Add to this the sliced onions, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until onions have softened, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Do not let the onions brown. After 20 minutes, add the wine. Cook the wine down to a glaze. Reduce to medium low heat and add honey and chopped bacon. Mix well. Remove onion mixture from heat into a shallow pan or bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator. When cooled, drain off any excess liquid. Add the beaten egg and cream, incorporating well. Taste and season accordingly.

Reduce oven temperature from when you baked the pastry down to 350° F. Fill the pastry with the onion mixture and bake about 20 minutes or until the filling is set.

This can be served warm or at room temperature. So there you have it…A Tart of Vidalia Onions.