Apple, goat cheese, and caramelized onion birthday tart

Our friend Kurt loves pie. No, that’s not quite right, it is more like he is obsessed with it, perhaps unhealthily so. So in April, when his birthday rolls around, he invites everyone to come over to his house and share pie.

Minos and i came up with a plan for a pie with apple and goat cheese. She suggested adding caramelized onions to it, and i suggested adding fresh rosemary. So this was a group effort, really. I ended up baking it in a shallow pan, which made it more of a tart pan really. And as an added bonus, it was very simple.

tart_crustIng

Ingedients – crust
1 1/3 cups of flour
1 1/4 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of shortening (i used Crisco)
1 teaspoons of salt
1/3 cups of water

Steps – Crust
1. Dump everything into the food processor.
2. Pulse until everything forms coarse crumbles.
3. At that point, pulse slowly while watching closely. As soon as the crumbles form into a big crust ball, stop immediately.
4. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

NOTE: This crust recipe is located all over the internet as Julia Child’s Pie Crust. We did not make this up. Also, this recipe makes a full crust — top and bottom of a standard pie pan. Since we used a shallower tart pan and did not put a top on it, there was crust left over. Enough, in fact, for a second tart. Hmmm…

tart_fillingIng

Ingredients – Filling
1 cup of soft goat cheese
1/2 large sweet onion — about 1 cup before cooking
2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
dash of coarse sea salt
2 large Granny Smith apples, washed
1 tablespoon of fresh Rosemary (see notes)

Steps – filling
1. First, slice the onion very very thin. I slied it with a mandolin to get nice, thin pieces.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the onions.
tart_onionsInPan

3. Sautee the onions until the just start to turn brown, which takes about 20 minutes or so.
tart_carmelized

4. When the onions are brown, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool. At that point, preheat the oven to 375 F.

5. Take the pie crust out of the fridge, where it has rested for the half hour you cooked the onions.

6. Dust a work space and a rolling pin with flour and roll the crust out thin. I got mine about 1/4 of an inch thick, but go with a thickness that works for you.

7. Place it in your pan however you want — if you want to have a top as well, go for it. These instructions are for an open faced tart, but i think it could work with a top crust as well. I layered my crust in the bottom of the pan and use a pastry cutter to remove any excess.

8. Smear goat cheese on top of the crust, but do this carefully as the crust is still rather soft. I sliced the goat cheese and pressed it flat on top of the crust.

9. Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp of fresh rosemary on top of the cheese.
tart_layer1

10. Now take the washed Granny Smith apples,. If you want to peel them, go for it. I left the skins on. Either way, slice them very thinly. Again, i used the mandolin, after cutting each apple in half. But do whatever you like.

11. Lay the apple slices on top of the cheese, trying to layer them so that the layers are even. What i mean is, spread slices around to form one layer, then add another layer, etc. I ended up with about an inch thick of apple slices from the 2 Granny Smiths i used. As i reached the end, i stacked them so that there was a little indention in the middle, like i was making a small volcano of apple slices, with a crater in the middle.

12. Fill the crater with the cooled carmelized onions. I made sure the scrape as much of the cooking olive oil as i could into the pie.
tart_constructed

13. Top with the rest of the rosemary.

14. Place in hot oven, on a rack at the lower third of the oven space. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. You will know it is done with the little bits of crust you can see aroudn the edges have turned brown, and the apples look dry.

15. Let it cool.

NOTES:
1. I used a sweet onion because i live in Georgia and sweet onions are everywhere here. If you can’t find them, a regular onion should be okay. Since you are going to caramelize it, most of the bite will be neutralized by the cooking process. Then again, a little bit of oniony bite might be a good thing.

2. The only thing i was disappointed with here is the rosemary — unless you happened to get a mouthful with a rosemary leaf, you couldn’t really taste it. I think that i should have added the rosemary to the onion as it cooked, thereby infusing the onion with a good rosemary flavor. If you like the taste of rosemary, try that and let me know how it turns out.

Overall, this was a success. People at the party at 75% of the tart, and Kurt himself liked it, despite the surprised expression in this photo. (I think the flash is what surprised him.)

Kurt

I enjoyed it too, with the one caveat that i would have liked a hint more rosemary taste.

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