In Season: Red onion tarte tatin

This is a fantastic tart; the contrast between the sweet red onions caramelised with the balsamic vinegar and finished with flaky puff pastry is a wonderful example of perfect partnerships in food. Add a simple rocket salad and perhaps a sprinkling of goats' cheese and you have a meal to remember.

Red onion tarte tatin
Serves 4

225g puff pastry (well chilled)
4 large red onions or 6-8 small
25g butter
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves and 4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp caster sugar
250ml red wine or 1/2 cup beef stock
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 180degC.

Prepare the onions - remove their papery outer skins and cut them in half lengthways from stem to root.

Place a 20cm heavy-based pan on a medium heat, add the butter and sugar. When the butter begins to bubble scatter in the thyme leaves and sprigs, then carefully arrange the onions on the base of the pan, cut side down. Remember to do this neatly, as when you serve your tart the bottom is the top.

Once all onions are fitted in, drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and red wine. Turn down the heat and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Now cover with foil and place into preheated oven. Leave to cook for 30 minutes and then remove the foil. Finish off by cooking for another 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.

While the onions are cooking, roll your pastry out to 1/2 cm thick and large enough to generously cover the frypan, cut into a 25cm round.

Test onions with a skewer. They should be cooked through, but you don't want them to collapse. When they are cooked, remove the pan from the heat; increase the temperature of the oven to 200degC.

Place the pastry on the onions and press the overhanging pastry edges neatly into the sides of the frypan. Place into hot oven and bake until the pastry is puffy and golden (10-15 minutes). Remove when cooked and let sit for a few minutes.

Carefully place a large plate on top of the pan, hold firmly and flip the pan and plate together so the plate is now on the bottom.

Carefully lift the frypan off to reveal your beautiful caramelised onion tarte tatin.

  - Alison Lambert


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