Andre's Onion Tart

Andre Soltner, former owner and chef of the four-star restaurant Lutece in New York City, shares his recipe for a savory onion tart, traditional cafe fare in Alsace, France, where he was born.

Andre recommends blind baking the tart's crust, a process in which the crust is baked, then filled, then baked again; this helps keep the crust crisp.

If you don't have pie weights for blind baking the crust, you can use dried beans, rice, or clean, round pebbles.

Ingredients
Serves 6
    * 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for tart pan
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    * 1/2 cup ice water
    * 1 1/2 pounds onions, finely chopped
    * 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    * 1/2 cup heavy cream
    * 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    * 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    * 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese

Directions
   1. Butter a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom; set aside.
   2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled butter, and combine with fingers or a pastry blender until it has the texture of coarse meal. Add 1/2 cup ice water, and stir just until a dough forms. Form into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
   3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch-thick round. Fit dough into prepared tart pan; trim excess. Line with a parchment paper round, and fill with pie weights. Chill for 15 minutes. Transfer to oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven, and set aside.
   4. In a large skillet, heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly browned and softened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
   5. In a small bowl, combine beaten egg, cream, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in onions.
   6. Sprinkle baked tart shell with cheese. Spread onion mixture evenly over cheese. Bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

From Martha Stewart Living Television, December 2000