THE THINGS THAT MAKE ME
I smile to myself when I see a pair of auburn-bronze maple leaves on the floor, Autumn leaving its trail in my path. I melt like cold butter in a warm pan when I see an old couple holding hands, their eyes filled with years of love for each other, and when the wind rustles the yellowish-brown leaves on the trees I dance so very slightly, swaying to their happy tune.
My heart skips a beat when I hear Juan’s voice at the end of the day, when we’re both done with work and are free to talk and spend some time together. And I feel like I’m on the top of the world right now, because my mum and my sister are coming to visit me in July (I’m jumping up and down in sheer ecstasy! Just imagine it!).
There are a gazillion tiny things that make me happy; you can safely say that it doesn’t take much for me to be contented. I’m the girl who gets tipsy after one single glass of crimson red wine (the cheap drunk in other words); the girl who gets tickled by and laughs at most jokes; and the one who daydreams of writing a masterpiece one day. I’m also the girl who falls in love with art and beauty after completing one acrylic painting after another.
I’m the kind who gets excited over buying and using a pasta machine, and then exclaims to the world that she’s made pasta for the first time. Or the one whose enthusiasm bubbles over from trying steak tartare (raw meat in its essence) and loves her friends for making it.
And you know, I’m also the one who can’t wait to tell you about this amazing quiche, made of sweet and salty caramelized onions which melt in your mouth.
This quiche is for onion lovers, and if you’re like me, for whom the one thing that my pantry always has is onions, then trust me, you’re about to fall head over heels in love with this.
Sauteed over low heat until they turn from a bright greenish-white to a very pretty transparent caramel brown, onions cooked this way have become a favorite of mine. The exquisite salty-sweet taste, combined with the fragrance of the caramelized onions, is a truly pleasurable experience.
Obviously, the highlight of this quiche are the caramelized onions, which, once mixed together with a couple of beaten eggs and whipping cream, and then sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste, are distributed on a tart shell. But the tart shell (or crust) is also extremely important – a crunchy homemade crust made from well-kneaded dough and baked to crispy perfection makes every bit the difference.
Now, do me a favor will you?
Please, please, please don’t buy pre-packaged tart shells if you can afford the time and effort to make your own – once you’ve learnt how to make your own tart shells from scratch, the joy and satisfaction you get from kneading and rolling the dough, and then later biting into the crispy crust, will never ever allow you to go back to buying pre-made ones.
The first time I made a tart shell from nothing but flour, butter and eggs, and whipped up the savory French tart Quiche Lorraine, I found that I enjoyed cooking at a greater level. The second time I made a tart shell for a strawberry & lemon mascarpone tart, I fell in love with baking all over again.
And now, the third time I made one for this caramelized onion quiche, I’ve come to realize that cooking has become my therapy – something I dedicate time to because it makes me feel liberated.
Once the tart shell is golden and the quiche has been baked for 15 to 20 minutes, take it out of the oven. You could eat it plain like this, and feel the onions dissolve in your mouth.
Or you could also sprinkle on some freshly shredded cheese if you like, return the quiche to the oven for a couple of minutes to let the cheese melt just a little. Then eat it warm, savoring every bite of it.
CARAMELIZED ONION QUICHE (Serves 4)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s french onion tart recipe
For the tart-shell:
1) 150g of all-purpose flour
2) 75g of cold butter, cut into cubes
3) Salt & ground black pepper
4) 1 egg
For the filling:
1) 1kg of yellow onions, sliced thinly
2) Salt and pepper to taste
3) 100g of whipping cream
4) 20g of butter (t0 saute the onions in)
5) 2 eggs
6) 200g of shredded cheese – Optional (I used mozarella, but you can use gruyere or any other cheese you fancy)
1) Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add salt and pepper, and distribute the cubes of butter in the middle of flour
2) Using two knives, cut the pieces of butter with the flour until you get a sand-like texture
3) Add the egg and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is formed
4) Roll dough into a ball on a flat, cool surface (without kneading it) and place in a bowl, covering it with plastic
5) Let dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
6) Pre-heat your oven to 180 deg cel
7) While dough is chilling in the fridge, peel and dice your onions
8) Heat some butter in a pan and saute the diced onions until it turns a nice caramel brown, and leave to cool for 5 minutes
9) After the dough has rested, remove from fridge
10) Sprinkle flour over a cool, flat surface, and flatten dough with a rolling pin until it forms a circle large enough for your tart mould (which should be 18-20cm in diameter)
11) Grease your tart mould
12) Place flattened dough circle over tart mould, pressing it so it takes the shape of the mould, and use a fork to poke holes in the shell
13) Bake in tart shell in the oven for 5-10 minutes, then removing once it is slightly baked
14) Mix caramelized onions with whipping cream and the beaten eggs, adding salt and pepper to taste
15) Pour caramelized onion filling over the slightly-baked tart shell, and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until shell is golden
16) Optional: If you like cheese, arrange shredded cheese over onions, return quiche to the oven for a few minutes until cheese melts, and then eat it warm.
*Suggestion: you can pair the quiche with a fresh salad made of greens of your choice
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add salt and pepper, and distribute the cubes of butter in the middle of flour:
Using two knives, cut the pieces of butter with the flour:
Until you get a sand-like texture:
Add the egg:
Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is formed:
Roll dough into a ball on a flat, cool surface (without kneading it):
Place dough in a bowl, covering it with plastic, and let dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes:
While dough is chilling in the fridge, peel and dice your onions:
Heat some butter in a pan and saute the diced onions until it turns a nice caramel brown, and leave to cool for 5 minutes:
After the dough has rested, remove from fridge, sprinkle flour over a cool, flat surface, and flatten dough with a rolling pin until it forms a circle large enough for your tart mould (which should be 18-20cm in diameter):
Place flattened dough circle over flattened tart mould, pressing it so it takes the shape of the mould, and use a fork to poke holes in the shell:
Bake in tart shell in the oven for 5-10 minutes, then removing once it is slightly baked:
Mix whipping cream and eggs:
Mix caramelized onions with whipping cream and the beaten eggs, adding salt and pepper to taste:
Pour caramelized onion filling over the slightly-baked tart shell, and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until shell is golden:
Arranged shredded cheese over onions and return quiche to oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted: