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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

cauliflower and onion tart

yesterday, i decided i wanted a tart. a cauliflower tart, to be precise. i'd never made one before but felt that the leftover meatball soup in the fridge at least had dinner covered in the event of tart failure. none of the recipes i found were exactly what i had in mind so i took some ideas from different sources and set out on my own. the result was absolutely delicious! the crust was buttery and crispy and the filling was rich but not heavy. exactly what i wanted.

i served with kale sauted with apple and onion. the hint of curry flavor was really nice, though it is easy to get mushy apples so add them late in the cooking time.

our tart was tiny, so these amounts will need to be adjusted for anything larger than a 6" casserole dish!

cauliflower and onion tiny tart for two

1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter
1 1/2 T ice water (or more)
1/2 T whipping cream

cut butter into 1/2" cubes. add to food processor with flour and salt. using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. add ice water and cream. process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoons if dough is dry. gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. can be made 2 days ahead. keep chilled. soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out. (i ended up using half of the dough and am saving the rest for a pear or apple tart later in the week.)

for filling:

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
4 medium to small garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp butter
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 cup hard swiss cheese, like gruyere, grated
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/8 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
olive oil

toss cauliflower florets and garlic cloves with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. roast uncovered at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until they are soft, golden, and beginning to char. (incidentally, this is my favorite way to eat cauliflower-- it's as good as potato chips...)

meanwhile, heat small pan with a couple of tablespoons olive oil over low to medium heat. add onions and cook, stirring often, for 40 minutes or until they are caramelized. if they start to crisp or burn, turn down the heat. they should be almost gooey when ready. add white wine and butter to pan and cook until reduced. remove from heat.

roll out dough to fit your pie pan or casserole dish. lay it in, repairing any tears by smushing the dough back together, and trim tops. the dough shrinks down, so trim it a half-inch or so higher than you think you'll need. pierce dough with a fork and line with foil. add pie weights (can use a cup of dried rice or beans) and cook 20 minutes at 350 degrees. remove foil and weights and cook 5 minutes longer.

to assemble, brush bottom of cooked pastry with mustard, then fill with cauliflower and top with onions and thyme. mix gruyere and whipping cream and season with salt and pepper. spoon over the vegetables. top with grated parmesan cheese.

bake at 350, uncovered, until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 lb kale, tough stems and ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water

Peel, quarter, and core apple, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges.
Heat oil in a 5-quart pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add apple and curry powder and sauté, stirring, until apple is almost tender, about 2 minutes.
Add kale and water and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender and most of liquid is evaporated, about minutes.
Season with salt.

this made a great dinner, and i can easily see it as a part of a fall lunch or brunch spread as well. i can also imagine tons of different vegetable and cheese combinations, depending on the whim of the tart maker. so good!


  1. Wait. That is a casserole dish? I have one of those! I can put that in the oven? Whaaaa!??!

  2. should be able to! is it a pyrex? i love my tiny casserole dish. it was my grandmother's, then my aunt's. it's so handy for making one or two servings of baked things. try it!