Saturday, August 16, 2008
Onion Tarts and the OSS
I have been a long time fan/admirer of the late great Julia Childs. She's an icon here in the U.S. for making french cooking accessible to anyone willing to learn. Julia Child's spent the greater part of her life teaching others to cook, through both her cookbooks and her TV series.
When I was growing up, my mom would get out Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbooks, and read them like they were novels. Of course unlike a novel, when mom pulled out those books we got a pretty amazing meal! Still to this day those tattered books are my mother's go to cookbooks. Almost every time I ask my mom a cooking question, I get a response that starts, "Well Julia says to..." So I guess Julia is responsible for helping me to learn cook as well.
This week we found out that Julia was not only a master chef, but a spy for the OSS as well! Wow she was one amazing woman.
While my husband and I were living in Germany, I fell in love with the onion tarts we had there. We visited the Alsatian region of France several times and Julia Childs recipe for Alsatian Onion Tarts are just like the ones I loved. Now that I know she was a spy, I can't help but wonder if Julia ate these tarts while working on missions for the OSS.
Alsatian Onion Tart
Baking with Julia
1 sheet puff pastry
4 lg onions, diced
1 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp cream
1/4 pound slab bacon (I used sliced bacon)
salt and pepper, to taste
Roll out puff pastry until it is 1/8-inch thick and cut into a 10 to 12-inch circle.
If you want to make indivdual tartlettes, use a 2" round cutter and cut out rolled out pastry.
Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.
In a medium saucepan, combine onions and chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil. reduce heat and cook until onions are very tender - about 25-30 minutes. Drain onions and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Toss onions in cream and a bit of salt and pepper. Spread onions on rolled pastry all the way to the edge. Top with the bacon pressing the pieces down a bit so they flavor the onions. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes for the 10 inch tarts and about 20 min. for the 2 inch tartlettes, until light gold.
I had some puff pasrty leftover so I did what Julia suggested andnput a few blueberries on top of the pasrty and baked it until golden brown. Then brushed the tops with apricot jam that I heated and thinned with a little bit of water. A tasty way to use up those pasrty scrapes.