Garlic and Onion Tart with Oregano Pastry

I adore onion tarts; a mixture of garlic and onion makes the flavour sweeter and even better. This has a foolproof crisp pastry which can be baked blind without shrinking. Serve with a salad for a light meal.

Ingredients

  • about 10 large cloves garlic
  • 450-550 g/1-1¼ lb onions, the red-skinned kind if available
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15 g/½ oz butter
  • 225 ml/8 fl oz double cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • black pepper

For the pastry

  • 175 g/6 oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 100 g/4 oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the oregano. Gently melt the butter with the water in a saucepan, then pour the hot liquid gradually on to the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough sticks together. Using your fingers, press pieces of the crumbly dough over the base and up the sides of a fluted, loose-based 24 cm/ in flan tin. Pat all over to make the pastry smooth and even, bringing the edges up just a little above the rim of the tin. Prick the base lightly all over with a fork, then refrigerate while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Put the cloves of garlic under the flat of a wide-bladed knife and press hard. The skins should now come off easily and the cloves will be slightly crushed. Peel the onions, cut them in half and slice across thinly. Heat the olive oil and butter gently in a large, deep frying pan. Add the whole cloves of garlic and the sliced onions and stir around almost constantly for 15-20 minutes, until soft. Keep the heat very low as you do not want them to burn. Remove from the heat and leave on one side.

Cook the chilled pastry case on the centre shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, finish the filling: whisk the cream thoroughly in a large bowl with the egg and yolks and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Then stir in the cooked garlic and onions.

Take the pastry case out of the oven and turn the heat down to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Pour the filling into the pastry case and put back in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the centre is only just set.

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