My name is Ingrid, and I have a weak spot for homemade tart crusts. Sure, you can easily buy a prepared crust, but in my book, homemade is always better. Not only do you avoid strange mystery ingredients, but I’m convinced homemade crusts have a tender buttery flakiness you just don’t get from a package. Plus, when I make the crust myself, I can use whole wheat flour and tell myself the whole wheat counteracts the butter. Or something like that. Mostly, I love the nutty flavor of whole wheat, which is perfect with a savory filling.
I’ve shared a recipe for galette before, but this one here is one of my favorites. I love caramelized onions, maybe even more than I love buttery tart crust. Caramelized onions are also one of Jed’s favorite things – it seems like I always have to make extra because he steals bites before I can use them!
Caramelizing onions is simple, but requires a little bit of attention. The basic method is to cook them low and slow until the sugars in the onions caramelize and the onions soften into golden jammy deliciousness. Over the years, I’ve figured out a few tricks to get perfect onions every time.
First, I use a mandolin to slice the onions. In general, I prefer using a knife over a specialty tool, but using a mandolin really makes a difference here. Thinly cut, evenly sliced onions cook up more quickly and consistently. You could also use a food processor, but my mandolin is easier to clean, so I go with that.
Second, I start in a dry pan over medium-low heat, and add salt to the onions, but no oil. The salt draws out the moisture in the onions, and they will gently soften without browning. One problem that can happen when caramelizing onions is that the onions brown before they soften. This method alleviates that problem because the onions become totally soft before you start to brown them.
Third, after the onions have softened, brown them by gradually deglazing the pan. I turn up the heat a little bit and add a drizzle of olive oil. I stir occasionally, but I also leave them undisturbed for about a minute at a time. Once the onions start to brown and stick to the pan, I deglaze by adding about a tablespoon of water and scraping up the browned bits, which helps the onions color more evenly. I continue this process of browning and deglazing until the onions caramelize to my liking. You can use beer, wine or whiskey to add another flavor, but here I just use water, and the onions are still delicious.
You can even prepare the onions and crust in advance, and then assembly is very simply. I love galettes because there’s no pie tin to grease or clean; it’s a free-form tart with rustic appeal. Using an alpine cheese, such as gruyere or emmenthaler, makes this taste reminiscent of french onion soup.
You can serve the galette as an appetizer, or alongside a green salad for lunch or a light dinner. Or, you can share it with your husband while watching a football game and devour it in ten minutes flat, which may or may not have happened in our house last Sunday.
For the crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus flour for dusting
5 tablespoons butter, chilled
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup ice water
For the onion filling:
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup grated emmenthaler or gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Prepare the crust. Combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Use your hands to break the butter into pea-size pieces and mix into the flour. Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Dump the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and knead by using the corners of the plastic wrap to fold the dough on top of itself. When the dough forms a mostly smooth ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Prepare the filling. Thinly slice the onion into half moons. Add the onion to a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add the salt and toss to combine. Stir occasionally until the onions are very soft and have started to release their liquid, about 10 minutes. Once the onions are soft, turn the heat to medium, add the olive oil and stir to combine as the onion begin to brown. As the onions begin to stick to the pan, add water, one tablespoon at a time, to loosen the onions and scrape up any caramelized bits. Continue until the onions are golden brown and completely jammy.
Prepare the galette. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If the dough has been in the fridge or freezer, bring to room temperature. Roll dough to ¼-inch thick, it does not need to be a perfect circle. Transfer to rolled-out crust to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the caramelized onions onto the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the cheese over the onions. Fold the border of the crust over the onions, leaving the center open. Brush milk onto the crust.
Chill the prepared galette in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or in the freezer for 10 minutes. When ready, cook the galette for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is beginning to turn golden brown and the cheese is browned and bubbly.