A light onion tart with a hint of nutmeg served with mixed pepper chutney.
Happy holidays! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season, and that you have been eating very well! Today I am sharing one of my all-time favourite dishes to make for the holidays – a lovely savoury onion tart that is served with a delicious sweet mixed pepper chutney.
Years ago, my husband and I lived in a small town called Nelson in the Kootenay mountain range in the British Columbia interior. Our favourite restaurant was called the All Season’s Café, and it is there that I first tasted and fell in love with this delicious onion tart. It was served as an appetizer with a tasty red pepper chutney.
The restaurant is still there, but it has been under new management for years and they no longer serve this tart. Fortunately, I managed to get the ingredients of the chutney out of the bartender and recreated the entire dish in my own kitchen using Martha Stewart’s pie crust recipe and what I remember about the original tart.
This tart is extremely versatile and can be served for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner with a nice salad on the side. It also works well as an appetizer or pot luck item. I have been making this dish nearly every Christmas and many a Thanksgiving for years, and it has become a favourite of the entire family.
I hope you enjoy this tart as much as we do. It takes some time to make, but is well worth the trouble!
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into pieces
1/2 Cup Ice Water
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Peppers (Red, Orange, and Yellow), thinly sliced
2 Red or Vidalia Onions, thinly sliced
2 Large Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
10 Pods of Cardamom, peeled and ground with mortar and pestle
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1. For the pâte brisée (pie crust): Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor until just mixed. Add the butter and continue to pulse for about 10 more seconds, or until the mixture has the consistency of crumbs.
2. With the pulse still going, add gradually add the ice water just until the dough holds together without being sticky or wet (you can test this by squeezing it between your fingers). This mixture should be pulsed for no more than 30 seconds total.
3. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape each part into a flattened disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and put one in the freezer for future use (this can be frozen for up to one month, then thawed overnight in the refrigerator before use). Chill the other disc in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to 12.
4. For the chutney: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan, then add the sliced red or vidalia onions and the peppers. Let these cook on low heat until they are softened, then add the cardamom, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste and sautée for another 5 minutes until well blended. Add half of the brown sugar and half of the vinegar and continue to sautée the mixture until the liquid is reduced. Add the remainder of the sugar and vinegar and continue to sautée until it is reduced. When the liquid has evaporated completely, remove the mixture from the heat and set it aside to allow it it cool.
5. For the tart: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the discs of pâte brisée and roll it out on a flat, flour-dusted surface, then stretch it over a 9″ tart shell (ideally one with a removable bottom). Cover it with plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator while you prep the other ingredients.
6. Heat the rest of the oil in a large pan and sautée the onions, stirring them regularly until they start to soften.
7. Beat the egg with the cream in a medium-sized bowl, adding the salt and pepper and some grated nutmeg. Add the onions and mix well, then pour the entire mixture into the tart shell and grate some additional nutmeg over the top.
8. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the tart sets and the top turns golden brown. Serve hot or room temperature with the chutney on the side.