My family always teases me about my sensual descriptions of tarts but the very name makes it hard to avoid. I think onion is my favourite kind of savoury tart; they are sweet, soft and altogether irresistible — there I go again.
The pastry here is very easy. You do not have to roll it out and there is no advantage in baking it blind — it is naturally crisp.
To make the pastry, put the flour, semolina and salt into a bowl and stir to mix. Gently melt the butter with the water in a small saucepan, then pour the hot liquid on to the flour, stirring it with a wooden spoon until you have a warm dough. Take bits of the dough and press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a
Peel the shallots and slice them across in fairly thin rings. Put the olive oil into a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, add the shallots and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until really soft — if they begin to brown, reduce the heat. Leave on one side to cool a bit.
Put the flan tin on top of a tin or jar, push the crumbly tart carefully up out of the rim of the tin and ease on to a serving plate with a spatula.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.