Jammy Upside-Down Onion Tart
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Onions take a backseat in most recipes, but when offered the spotlight, they shine. Don’t believe us? This jammy upside-down onion tart from Renée Kohlman’s Vegetables: A Love Story is an ideal example. It’s deeply savory and stunning to look at, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s deceptively simple to make.
“I have a soft spot for jammy, caramelized onions,” Kohlman writes, “and while this tart may look like a lot of work, it’s really pretty simple. I think the toughest part is inverting it onto a platter, but just take a deep breath and go for it.”
She recommends serving it with a Sunday roast “The deep, rich onion flavor is a natural fit for meat, but if you’re keen on something lighter, serve it as a main course with a salad of greens on the side.”
Recipe by Renée Kohlman from Vegetables: A Love Story, copyright © 2021 by Renée Kohlman. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.
4 medium yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
2½ tablespoons brown sugar, packed
¼ cup sherry
⅔ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 8-ounce sheet (250g) puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
1. Peel the onions and remove the tops and bottoms. Cut the onions in half crosswise.
2. In a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thyme and bay leaves and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the sugar, sherry and broth. Place the onions in the skillet, cut-side-down. (It’s okay if they overlap slightly; they’ll shrink while cooking.) Season with the salt and pepper. Cover with foil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the foil and carefully flip the onions over. If any loose bits fall out of place, try to place them back on the onions. Increase the heat to medium and simmer the onions, uncovered, until most of the liquid has reduced, 12 to 17 minutes. (Depending on the size of the onions, it may take longer.) You want some liquid coating the bottom of the pan, so don’t reduce all of it. The liquid should have the consistency of thin caramel. Turn off the heat.
4. Roll the puff pastry out into an 11-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick. If your sheet of puff pastry is already rolled out, trim it into an 11-inch circle, but don’t roll out any further as it may get too thin. Place the pastry on top of the onions, tucking them in snuggly. Try to get the edge of the pastry to fit under the onions slightly.
5. Bake until the pastry is puffed and fully cooked with a golden-brown color, 22 to 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the tart in the skillet for a few minutes. Cover the skillet with a larger plate or wooden serving board and carefully invert it. If any onions or herbs stick to the bottom of the skillet, just put them back into place with a fork. I like to use a spatula and scrape any of the caramelized goodness from the skillet back onto the tart. Cut into 8 wedges and serve. (This serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main with a salad.)
Note: If you can’t fit 8 onion halves in the skillet, 7 is fine. Some medium onions are larger than others. The main thing is to get the onion halves as snug together as possible.