Onion Tartlets Recipe

Savory tarts to serve at your next cocktail party.


1 recipe salted pastry (below)
2 tbsp butter
large pinch of sea salt
large pinch of sugar
6 onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp grated Gruyère cheese
24 small thyme sprigs

Salted Pastry:
1 egg
8.9 oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
4.4 oz butter, straight from the refrigerator
1.2 oz cold water


Salted Pastry:
Step 1:  Measure out all ingredients before you start, and break your eggs into a small bowl—there is no need to beat them. Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Take butter straight from the refrigerator and put it between two pieces of waxed paper, then bash it firmly with a rolling pin. The idea is to soften the butter while still keeping it cold. Put the whole slab into the bowl of flour. Cover the butter well with flour and tear it into large pieces.

Step 3: Flake the flour and butter together—this is where you want a really light touch. With both hands, scoop up the flour-covered butter and flick your thumbs over the surface, pushing away from you, as if you are dealing a deck of cards. You need just a soft, skimming motion—no pressing or squeezing—and the butter will quickly start to break into smaller pieces. Keep plunging your hands into the bowl, and continue with the light flicking action, making sure all the pieces of butter remain coated with flour so they don’t become sticky. The important thing now is to stop mixing when the shards of butter are the size of your little fingernail.

Step 4: Pour the egg into the flour mixture, add the water, and mix everything together. While it is still in the bowl, press down on the dough with both thumbs, then turn the dough clockwise a few degrees and press down and turn again. Repeat this a few times. With the help of your spoon or scraper, turn the pastry onto a work surface.

Step 5: Work the dough as you did when it was in the bowl: holding the dough with both hands, press down gently with your thumbs, then turn the dough clockwise a few degrees, press down with your thumbs again and turn. Repeat this about four or five times. Now fold the pastry over itself and press down with your fingertips. Provided the dough isn’t sticky, you shouldn’t need to flour the surface. But if you do, make sure you give it only a really light dusting, not handfuls, as this extra flour will all go into your pastry and make it heavier. When you flour your work surface, you need to do this as if you are skipping a stone over water, just tossing out a light spray of flour. Repeat the folding and pressing down with your fingertips a couple of times until the dough is like plasticine and looks homogeneous. Finally, pick up the piece of pastry and tap each side on the work surface to square it off, so that when you come to roll it, you are starting off with a good shape rather than raggedy edges.

Step 6: Rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably several or overnight.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 2: Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan with the salt and sugar. Add the onions, garlic and bay leaf and cook slowly until the onions are softened and browned a little. Remove the bay leaf.

Step 4: Lightly grease two 12-hole tartlet pans.

Step 5: Dust your work surface with flour, roll out the pastry 1/16″ – 1/8″ thick, and line the pans with pastry dough. Place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Step 6: Fill the chilled crusts with the onion mixture and top with a pinch of Gruyère and a sprig of thyme. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until the pastry crusts and cheese are nicely browned.

See more recipes from Pastry.

Reprinted with permission from Pastry (2013, Raincoast Books).