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La Belle Cuisine - More Appetizer Recipes

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Open-Faced Mediterranean Onion Tart



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“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate –
ou know somebody’s fingers have been all over it.”
~ Julia Child

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La Belle Cuisine


Would that I could tell you exactly where I encountered this excellent recipe.
It is not included in '
The Way to Cook', nor is it found in 'Baking with
Julia', '
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home', or 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' although each contains elements of this recipe and similarities.
Chances are it was published in one of the fine food magazines I've accumu-
lated over the years: Gourmet, Bon Appetit , Food & Wine, etc. One thing is
certain: It is definitely Julia Child in all her glory. No question about that...


Julia's Open-faced Mediterranean Onion Tart

Ingredients for 20 appetizer-sized servings

4 cups sliced yellow onions (1 1/2 lbs.)
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
Chilled pie crust dough (recipe below)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano or thyme, or mixed dried herbs
24 black olives (the dried Mediterranean type or
other salty imported smallish black olives)
3/4 cup grated cheese (such as
Parmesan, Swiss, Cheddar)

Equipment: a jelly-roll pan, nonstick preferred,
about 11 x 17-inches.

The onions.
Cook the onions slowly in 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a covered frying
pan or saucepan, stirring frequently, until they are soft and thoroughly
tender, but now browned--20 minutes or more. Ahead-of-time note:
May be cooked ahead. Keeps in refrigerator for several days.

Forming the shell.
Meanwhile, butter the inside bottom (not the sides) of the jelly-roll-pan.
Roll out the chilled dough into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick, and larger and
wider than the pan. Fit it into the pan, and neatly trim off the overhanging
edges. Fold the dough back in on itself, creating a narrow border inside the
rim of the pan. Make a decorative edging by pressing the tines of a table
fork into the border. To prevent the dough from rising as it bakes, prick
the inside surface all over with 2 forks. Ahead-of-time note: Pastry may
be made to this stage and refrigerated until you are ready to continue.

Final assembly.
When the onions are tender, season with salt and pepper, and let them
cool. Scatter them over the inside surface of the dough.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 425 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, arrange a design of black olives over the onions. Sprinkle the cheese over
all, and dribble on a tablespoons of olive oil. Bake in the lower third level
of the oven until the pastry has browned and is beginning to shrink from
the sides of the pan.

Slide onto a serving board or work surface. Cut into small, finger-sized squares. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Using the same pastry shell, you can also make a quiche. Calculate the custard by egg: Whisk 1 "large" egg in a measuring cup, blend in milk or cream to reach the 1/2-cup mark. For example, whisk 3 eggs in a 4-cup measure and stir in enough liquid to reach the 1 1/2-cup mark. Whisk in
a little salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste, plus perhaps a speck
of nutmeg or a few drops of hot-pepper sauce.

Julia's Pie Crust

Pie crust dough for two 8-inch tart shells or one 9-inch covered pie,
or double this for an 11 x 17-inch jelly-roll pan.

3 1/2 cups (1 lb.) all-purpose flour,
unbleached preferred
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 oz.) chilled unsalted butter,
quartered lengthwise
and diced
4 tablespoons chilled lard or shortening
2/3 to 1 cup iced water

Equipment: a food processor with its steel blade in place

The initial mixture.
Place the flour, salt, and diced butter in the container of the processor
and pulse 5 to 6 times in 1-second bursts, to break up the butter. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in 1/2 cup ice water. Pulse 2 or 3 more times. Remove the cover and feel the dough: it should
look like a bunch of small lumps and when you press a handful together
the lumps should mass--if too dry, pulse in droplets more water. Do not
over-mix: the dough should not mass on the blade - it should hold together when pressed.

The final blending.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface and with the heel, not the
warm palm, of your hand, rapidly and roughly smear the dough by
3-spoonfuls bits 6 to 8 inches out on your work surface. This accomp-
lishes the final blending of fat and flour. If the pastry seems stiff, sprinkle more droplets of ice water as you smear--but do not overdo! Press the
dough rapidly into a rough cake wrap in a sheet of plastic, place in a
plastic bag, and chill.

The dough should be chilled for at least an hour, preferably 2 hours,
before using. This allows the flour particles to absorb the liquid, and will
make for a more tender dough; it also allows the butter to congeal, for
easy rolling. Ahead-of-time note: The pastry will keep under refrigeration
for a day or two. For longer storage, use the freezer, where it will keep
perfectly for months, waiting to serve you.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Onion-Cheese Tartlets
Mushroom Tarts with Onions and Walnuts
Crustless Onion Quiche (Patricia Wells
at Home in Provence)


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