This might be my new favourite dish. My mother-in-law gave me 4 random cookbooks for Christmas 2 years ago. I flipped through them all once and nothing jumped out at me right away so they went untouched on a shelf. While moving last month, I figured I’d better use them or give them away. Upon closer inspection of the vegetarian book, a recipe for a simple tart with onions, apples and gruyère cheese looked pretty good.
There’s cheese both in the crust and the filling, which I think adds a nice touch. Other than that it’s just a basic pie dough, so if pastry scares you, you could just buy a pre-made crust and use that instead. The first time I made the tart, I used 2 Golden Delicious apples as directed, but found the resulting filling a tad too sweet, so when I made it again yesterday I used Granny Smiths. This time it wasn’t quite sweet enough, so I think to get it just right a combination of the two should be used. But if you eat nothing but Macs or Spartans then by all means use those. A soft apple is just fine in this recipe; it gets grated anyway so you don’t need to use a particularly firm apple that’s going to hold its shape.
For the crust:
2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
6 tbsp soft butter
6 tbsp Gruyère cheese, finely grated
For the filling:
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely chopped or grated
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and grated
2 large eggs
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (I used cumin, thyme, basil and coriander)
4 oz (about 3/4 to 1 cup or so) Gruyère cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1. To make the pastry, stir the flour and mustard together, then rub in the butter until everything looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, and mix just until everything comes together into a ball. Wrap in cellophane and chuck in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (I made mine the night before.) Roll out and line a pie plate with the pastry. Line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with beans, baking it in a 400˚F oven for 20 minutes.
2. To make the filling, melt the butter in a pan and cook the onions with a good pinch of salt over medium heat until soft and translucent but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add the grated apples and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Check for seasoning and spread evenly into the cooked crust.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, cheese and spices. Pour over the apples and onions and bake at 375˚F for 20 minutes, until the top is barely golden and the filling is just set.