Caramelized Onion Tart ♥ Vegetarian Recipe

Caramelized Onion Tart
Today's vegetable recipe: The last new vegetarian entrée idea for Thanksgiving in 2009, a simple but sophisticated tart, rich enough to serve in thin slices as an appetizer or in larger wedges for a main dish.

In some guest room in some home in some city in some country -- is a basket of gold, that is, a basketful of vintage issues of the now-defunct and already much-missed Gourmet magazine. I only wish I could remember whose home! I do remember being unable to sleep on multiple visits, so taken with the classic recipes of another time, madly copying especially enticing ones onto 3x5 cards.

This recipe was called "Swiss Onion Cheese Flan" in the December 1967 issue of Gourmet and no where, no where, is is to be found on the Internet. (I kind of like that, don't you? Vive le paper!)

It's quite lovely, onions cooked to that golden-brown stage where they're silky and caramel-like. The crust too is especially easy, just a fork-stirred dough of cream, milk and flour, rolled in cornmeal for a crisp bite on the outside, almost yeasty inside. Delectable - and a good option for the pastry-impaired.

Happy Thanksgiving, all, see you after the holiday!


Hands-on time: 50 minutes
Time to table: 75 minutes
Serves 8 in entrée-size wedges, 16 in slim appetizer servings

2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 268 grams
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon table salt
Fine-grained yellow cornmeal

Toss the flour, milk, cream and salt til soft and light. Form a disk and wrap with plastic, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Sprinkle a clean counter with cornmeal, with your hands, cover the outside of the dough with a light layer of cornmeal. Roll out the crust to be the size of the baking dish plus about an inch. Arrange in the baking dish, then the extra dough hanging over the side to the inside and pinch to form an attractive edge. If the filling is ready, great, otherwise freeze until ready.

2 tablespoons butter
3 medium brown-skinned yellow onions (which brown better), chopped

2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
4 ounces Parmesan, grated or even just roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, optional

In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium until shimmery. Add the onions and stir to coat with fat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions turn golden and then brown. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk, cream, Parmesan and thyme. Turn in the cooled onions. Turn the mixture into the prepared crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 325F, bake for about 25 minutes or until the center is set and crust golden and crusty.

DAY BEFORE Make the dough and refrigerate. Cook the onions and refrigerate.
DAY OF Roll out the dough and, if need be, refrigerate. Mix the egg mixture and refrigerate. Just before baking, preheat the oven, combine the onion and egg mixtures and turn into the pie crust. Bake and serve.

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2009
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. With vegetarian kids in our family, I'm always looking for substantial dishes that can be the centerpiece of a meatless holiday meal. This one will definitely be on our table during this holiday season.

  2. This sounds delicious and exactly what I'm looking for to take to a Thanksgiving party. One quick question - what kind of cream - 1/2 & 1/2, heavy?

  3. Judy ~ you could use half & half to substitute for both the cream and the milk, otherwise use heavy cream. Hope you enjoy it! BTW I used it for an appetizer for a party on Saturday, it had been out of the oven for a couple of hours and I just served at room temperature.

  4. I made the tart for a neighborhood Thanksgiving gathering. Well, I made the filling, which was really delicious and got lots of wonderful comments, including a "promise to make this for next year's gathering." I tried to make the crust and had nothing but a sticky mess - I used all 1/2 and 1/2 as you suggested (1 cup) and followed the rest of the crust recipe exactly. Fortunately I had a refrigerated pie crust available to use, so the tart came out wonderfully and no one knew the difference. I'm disappointed the crust didn't turn out tho - I'd much rather not use a refrigerated crust. Any thoughts? Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Judie ~ I'm so glad you had that extra crust hanging around, also that you got such good reviews for taste! But hmm, I just can't think what might have happened with the crust. I found it most easy to work with, not in the least bit sticky. Did you measure the flour by volume or by weight? I'm trying to give both pieces of information now but maybe you measured by volume and used less than the volume by weight? It's the only thing that comes to mind.

  6. I did measure by volume, using a scoop to get the flour into the measuring cup and then sweeping off the excess. Maybe the dip and sweep method would have worked better - or better yet, maybe I should invest in a scale and not have that problem again.

  7. This looks so good, I can't wait to try it out. Thank you for sharing and for making me hungry -

  8. I definitely recommend a kitchen scale and can't wait to make this as a side for Thanksgiving this year.

  9. I tried this recipe last night. The filling was really good - but the crust was left behind by almost everyone. Next time, I will experiment with the flavors in the filling and make the most excellent Joy of Cooking pie crust. Perhaps some sage instead of thyme. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Anonymous ~ Well heck, that's two of you who've had trouble with the crust. It's been two years now since I've made this but my notes from the time, "... crisp bite on the outside, almost yeasty inside. Delectable - and a good option for the pastry-impaired" match my memory that it was a great almost yeasty crust that was easy to handle. To you both, so sorry, my experience was obviously different. It may work its way onto a menu in the next few weeks ... I'll let you know how it goes.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna