You Deserve It Tarte With Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola Tatin
The classic tarte tatin is sweet, stuffed with apples, and requires a little fiddling with the caramel sauce. It’s worth the effort when you’re looking for a sweet dessert, but you can also use the same technique for a superbly savory dish. For a simple, affordable, and rather impressive plate, make Tarte Tatin with Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onions.
What makes tarte tatin tarte tatin is a puff pastry cap that flips over when served and becomes a tender, buttery, crumbling crust underneath. The bottom then pops open like some kind of fruit drenched in mahogany caramel sauce. We keep everything here except fruit. Instead, we caramelize the onions with butter to create a divine umami flavor that tastes like we’ve added 10 different ingredients, when in fact it’s only the natural sugars from the onions that take on their own flavor. A splash of balsamic adds sweetness, acidity and a bit of smoke, balancing out the salty richness of the onions. This base gives the impression of a delicious French onion soup. After adding gorgonzola and puff pastry, you can be sure that the finished dish will be excellent.
Make sure you have a defrosted puff pastry sheet. I usually get a box from Trader Joes and defrost it in the fridge the night before. The package should tell you how to defrost the brand of dough you are using. Unroll the dough and, using a plate or baking pan as a guide, cut the dough into a circle the size of the pan you will be using. Cut out a few vent holes in the dough, leave it on the paper backing, and put it back in the fridge or freezer. Cut four onions into long slices. I usually cut the onion in half, on the side. Lay the onion cut side down and slice it from the side, from the root to the stem. The pieces should be about ¼-inch slices. Grease a cast iron skillet with butter and arrange the slices in a pattern you think you’ll like later when you turn it over. If you’re worried about the onion sticking, you can lay down a piece of parchment first and then add the onion pieces. Sprinkle the onion in the pan with a little brown sugar. Throw the rest of the onion into a saucepan with oil and salt. Cook them over medium heat, covered, for about ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. The onion will begin to color and soften; as you stir, the color dissipates and becomes deeper. Keep the onions covered so they don’t dry out or burn. Set them aside to cool slightly, about five minutes.
Arrange the caramelized onions on top of the decorative onion layer in the skillet, then crumble the gorgonzola. I add dried thyme on top, but you can use any other seasoning you like. Remove the puff pastry figure from the refrigerator and remove the paper from it. Quickly place it on top of the onion pie in the pan and press down so it makes good contact with the onions. If the edges are a bit wide, tuck them inside the cake. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 400°F oven until the top is browned and the mixture starts bubbling around the edges. Let it sit for a few minutes, then run a spoon around the edges, flip the plate over and, using a kitchen oven mitt, flip the pan over to remove the cake. If you used parchment, you can now remove it. If you haven’t done so and any bits of onion are stuck, use a fork or a curved spatula to pull them out and put them back into the cake. Nobody will be wiser.
Serve this pie in small slices as an appetizer or with a crispy fresh salad as the gorgonzola and caramelized onions are rich and salty. The cake keeps covered in the refrigerator for about a day or two, but it’s much better if you eat it the first day.
Gorgonzola Tart with Caramelized Onion Tatin
- 4 medium onions (cut into 1/4″ wide strips on the side)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons gorgonzola crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 sheet of defrosted puff pastry
Preheat oven to 400°F. Using the round guide, cut out a circle of puff pastry that will fit in the top of the pan (or cake pan if you don’t have an oven-safe pan). Combine the dough and put in the refrigerator or freezer. Use 2 tablespoons of oil to grease the pan and place a circle of parchment on the bottom if you want to be safe in the end.
Lay the raw onion slices decoratively on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the onions in the pan with brown sugar. Place the rest of the onion in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil and salt. Cook this over medium heat until caramelized and set aside to cool slightly. Stir in balsamic vinegar.
Spread the caramelized onion mixture evenly over the chopped onion in the skillet. Sprinkle gorgonzola crumbs and thyme over the top. Take out the puff pastry and put it on top of the onions in the skillet. If there are any protrusions, tuck them in at the sides.
Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or until browned on top and bubbling on the sides. Let the pan rest for a few minutes, but no more than five minutes or the caramel will stick. Turn the tart onto a plate. Remove parchment paper if used and replace onion. Sprinkle gorgonzola on top and serve warm.