A brunch idea from Take Home Chef host Curtis Stone. "These upside-down tarts can be made well in advance; simply heat them up before you serve them. Delicious and so very indulgent. The directions below are for making individual tarts. If you don’t have four small pans you can simply make one larger tart in a 10” skillet and cut it in wedges to serve."
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 tbsp sugar
1 very large onion, peeled
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed*
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 oz. Taleggio cheese, cut into 4 slices
* Most commercial puff pastry is made with margarine as opposed to pure butter. If you are able to find all-butter puff pastry, buy it — it has a rich buttery flavour instead of a chemical taste.
Step 1: Spread 2 tbsp of the butter over the bottom of each of 4 small heavy ovenproof sauté pans. Sprinkle 3 tbsp of the sugar over the butter in each small pan. Cut the onion crosswise into four 1”-thick slices, keeping the rings intact. Place 1 onion slice atop the sugar and butter in each small pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the pastry.
Step 2: Unfold the puff pastry sheet and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to form a 12” square. Cut out four 5” rounds from the puff pastry sheet. Drape 1 pastry round over each onion slice, and tuck the edges down to cover the onion. Pierce the tops of the pastry rounds with a sharp knife, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Simmer the balsamic vinegar in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until it is reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon. Set it aside to cool. The balsamic reduction will continue to thicken and become syrupy as it cools.
Step 4: Place the sauté pans over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, or just until the sugar melts and forms a very pale golden caramel sauce around the tart. Transfer the pans to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the sauce has darkened.
Step 5: Let the tarts stand for 2 minutes, or until the sauce stops bubbling. Swirl the tarts gently to help loosen the onions from the bottom of the pans. Invert each tart onto a plate, using a metal spatula if necessary. Immediately place 1 slice of cheese atop each hot tart. Drizzle the balsamic reduction around the tarts, and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Curtis Stone's Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone (2009 Clarkson Potter). Food styling by Curtis Stone and Rochelle Palermo. Prop styling by Pamela De Silver.