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.
Serve immediately.

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.


Nora B. said...

Julia Child was a late discovery for me. Making those blueberry puffs is a delicious way to use the craps :-) I usually brush some milk/egg wash and sprinkle sugar on leftover puff pastry.

Grace said...

the onion tarts look good, but it's the blueberry version that makes me weak in the knees. blueberries + puff pastry = heaven. :)

Camille said...

I had read about Julia Child's OSS work, which makes her even more remarkable.

I love onions. These look really good. And, I like that you saved the scraps and did something delicious with them.

Pam said...

Wow. I love onions and bacon so this tart is my kind of food. What a nice dessert too - the blueberries look fantastic.

Rosie said...

Julia Child is also a late discovery for me after finding her baking with Julia book.

Your onion tart looks really amazing and those blueberry tarts are sheer heaven :)


Deborah said...

I keep thinking I need to get a Julia cookbook. Maybe that's what I'll ask for my birthday! These tarts look great. I'm an onion lover, so I'm sure I could eat these all myself.

alison said...

mmmmm - these look delicious - great idea!

Bellini Valli said...

Julia taught many of how to coo. Her legacy still lives on:D

J.Danger said...

Yum! I love onions, so this looks like a great recipe to me. I need to get a Julia Child's cook book. I keep saying that...

Kevin said...

Bacon and onion tarts sound good!

Alexa said...

I love onion tarts. These look so yummy...

Anonymous said...

I used to watch Julia's cooking show on PBS weekdays after school. They were reruns, of course. Pokemon and Dinner at Julia's-- this is what a great childhood is built upon.

I love the looks of those tarts! So golden brown and delicious. With a good beef broth to dunk-- perfect winter dinner.

Cynthia said...

The tarts are so yummy, especially the onion.

N. said...

This looks so easy and delicious!

Do the onions or the blueberries make the puff pastry soggy if you prepare the tarts a few hours in advance?

Half Baked said...

Puff pastry is really best eaten right away but I made these ahead of time and they were still fine. I think they would hold for a couple of hours as long as your filling wasn't really juicy.
Hope that helps!