French Onion and Zucchini Tart Recipe:
A delicious vegetarian French style tart with Caramelized Balsamic Onion and Zucchini filling.
‘Anu it’s been a while since we’ve had some delicious new dish from your kitchen’ remarked my dad who is visiting us these days. I took my cue and knowing that he’s a vegetarian, a diabetic and a foodie I really wanted to treat him to a savory delicacy. After a little contemplation I decide to make a savory tart, and going for a caramelized onion variation was my best bet for no one can ever dislike the flavours of caramelized onions (I was in no mood for criticism, all I wanted was to win hearts and earn praises :p )
Well, jokes apart my vegetable vendor had brought me some fresh looking zucchini and it was still there in the fridge, thus the inspiration for the twist in my recipe came easy. So I made a 9 inch French Onion and Zucchini tart, to make my perfect crispy-crumby pastry crust I went with my favorite sour yogurt recipe with no eggs.
All in all my kitchen last evening gave out a tart that won me all praises and why not for the smoky flavours of caramelized onions were quite subtly toned down by the mildness of Zucchini, a perfect golden top with just a tad bit moist filling, and delicious brown crust that was both crispy and crumbly. Trust me I am not boasting but am only happy and excited, take a look or better still try the recipe and you’ll know yourself.
For the pastry:
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ cup chilled cubed unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 heaped tbsp chilled Curd/Yogurt
- 2 tbsp chilled water
- A little cold milk for brushing
For the filling:
- 3 large red onions, peeled and diced into thin strips
- 1 medium Zucchini, diced into small cubes
- 50ml heavy cream
- 2 tbsp cream cheese (you may use any Cheese spread)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan (or Any favourite cheese even Cheddar or Blue cheese)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 and ½ tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt and pepper for dressing
- A few fresh parsley leaves, optional
The Pastry Dough:
- Mix salt into the flour and blend the butter and flour together in a mixer giving small whizzes until it resembles the consistency of bread crumbs.
- Mix water and curd together, add 1 tbsp to the flour butter mixture and give another whizz.
- Take this mixture in a bowl and gently knead into dough gradually adding the water-curd mix. Do not work too long, just until its incorporated.
- Grease the sides of a 9inch tart pan; wrap a butter paper on the base of the pan. It is advisable to use a removable base tart pan.
- Roll the dough into approx 11 inch round in between two plastic wraps; else you may even roll it out on a slightly dusted work surface.
- Carefully remove the top plastic sheet, place the rolling pin diagonally across the centre of the pastry and lift using the pin and the base plastic wrap. Gently roll out the pin placing the pastry over the pan, remove the plastic wrap ensuring that the pastry is at the centre and draped around the pan.
- Press the dough gently across the base and sides of the pan, trim the excess off the edges. Pop the tart base into the fridge while you make the filling.
- In a thick bottom frying pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter, add the cut zucchini, dress up with salt and pepper, simmer and cover cook for 5 minutes.
- Open the lid, check if the zucchini is soft then raise the heat else cook a little further. Fry till there is no liquid. Strain and keep aside
- In the same skillet heat remaining olive oil and butter, stir in the onions. Then reduce the flame and cover cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add salt and turn the flame to high. Stir fry continuously till the onions are completely caramelised and all the liquid has dried up, approx 8-10 mins.
- Add balsamic vinegar and fry for 1 minute scrapping all the caramelised brown liquid along the edges and once it is completely dried remove from the heat.
- Now beat the cream cheese and heavy cream together using a hand blender. Dress with a little salt and pepper and keep aside.
Arranging the Pie:
- Preheat the oven to 250OC.
- Grease an aluminium foil and cover up the crust, fill up the pan with baking beans or kidney beans and par bake the crust for 10-12 minutes.
- Turn the oven to preheat again to 250OC
- Now fill the base of the tart with entire cooked zucchini, followed by the caramelised onions and the pour the entire cram mixture all around and over the filling. Tap gently with the back of a fork or spoon to ensure that the filling is levelled. Brush the sides and the top with cold milk.
- Top up with the entire grated Cheese and bake at 220OC for 12-13 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180OC and bake further for 10-12 minutes until a sharp knife inserted comes clean without any liquid.
- Decorate with fresh springs of parsley and serve warm.
Dos and Don’ts:
- You may use pumpkin instead of zucchini.
- Do add an egg to the cream cheese mixture; in this case you may have to bake it a little longer until the liquid is all cooked up.
- Do not knead the dough too much, and make sure to keep in the fridge before baking.
- Do brown the top of the pie a little extra (or that is how I like it) to give it a caramelized feel.
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