Washington, DC, is a bit of a late bloomer: Fall is only really hitting the district as we speak. Yes, the fall I’ve been longing for since the heat wave in June. The fall that carries a breeze, the fall that tints foliage into my favorite color (orange), and the fall that finally satisfies you with the comfort of staying in on a Friday night to make French onion soup.
That fall. It finally showed up. Fashionably late.
Oh, who am I kidding? The weather has been beautiful for the past month or so, but the foliage is only really settling in to its natural golden state. Friends have been talking about visiting apple orchards for months now, but I brushed off any attempts for recruitment. Apples, no offense to them, have never floated to the top of my favorite food pyramid, and physically working to gather such a thing never really appealed to me. But now that it really feels like fall, the apples caught my radar.
In high school, someone introduced me to snacking on apples with cheddar cheese. It was weird at first, but the flavors actually pair very well together… and it’s been an elusive flavor that has somehow disappeared from sight, until I recently saw a similar tart on Foodgawker.
And only then did I find the urge to make something with apples.
Apple, Cheddar, and Caramelized Onion Tart
1 perfect tart crust, recipe by David Lebovitz
1 baking apple, sliced
1 large yellow onion
About 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
Salt, to taste
First, roll out the tart dough, and transfer it to your tart pan. I’ve found that the metal tart dishes with the removable bases are the best; also, be sure to aerate the base of your raw crust with a fork.
I like to take the tart scraps to form a better crust lip – roll the scraps into a long, skinny piece of dough, and just attach it to the edge of your crust. Press it firmly to the edge, to prevent it from detaching or falling while baking, and press the teeth of a fork flat against the wall of the crust to fasten the lip firmly.
Line your crust with a piece of foil, fill the foil with legumes to prevent bubbles from forming, and then bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the lip of the crust just begins to turn gold. At that point, remove the crust from the oven and let cool on a drying rack while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Next, slice your onion in half, remove the skins, and then slice the onion into skinny half-circles. Drizzle olive oil in a shallow pan, and saute the onions on high heat, until they become translucent. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once the onions are translucent, reduce to low heat, and continue stirring until the onions begin to brown. The bottom of your pan should be building up brown substance from the onion – this is good. After about fifteen minutes, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of red or white wine (I prefer red), scrape the brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula, and continue stirring until the onions are a deeper brown – about another 15 minutes.
Transfer the caramelized onions to the cooked tart crust, and line the bottom of the pan evenly. Then, generously layer your sharp cheddar cheese, and top with sliced apples.
Drizzle with coarse sea salt, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. When finished, let cool for about 15 minutes before consuming.