Well folks, as with all lovely things, today is our last recipe from French cook extraordinaire Rachel of the Delicious Balance blog. This past month she's been sharing her favorite culinary moments from a trip to Provence. There was freshly baked French bread, intriguingly delicious mashed parsnips (including our favorite French kitchen hack) and butternut squash soup. With this next recipe, she's ending things with a bang - a savory tart that will bring Provence straight into your kitchen. Thank you, Rachel! We loved getting a taste of France through your recipes. 

Today, I have a recipe and lesson from my favorite day of the whole trip when we cooked with chef Yvan who was a finalist on Top Chef France. I talked about that day in detail here, and now have an amazing caramelized onion tart recipe to share with you. The lesson learned was to never apologize for anything that happens in the kitchen.

Oh wait, that was Julia Child's philosophy. But Yvan definitely lived it out that day. 

The day spent with Yvan cooking was filled with so much joy and laughter. He is a professional chef but rather than making us feel intimidated, he made us all feel at ease. Our group of ten ranged from experienced home cooks to some who couldn't remember that last time they picked up a knife. That day, thanks to Yvan's cool attitude, we were all on the same playing field. 

Being the type A personality I am, I was constantly asking Yvan if I was doing things ok. He kept raising his glass of rose and saying "oh yeah, it's coooool" (insert dreamy French accent). When I forgot to brush my onion tart with olive oil before going into the oven, I confessed my mistake to him and he said "no problem, it's coooool". This, along with the music blaring and wine flowing, gave the day a light hearted feel that I try to recreate in my own kitchen. 

Rather than stressing out that we are eating dinner late or that a recipe I was testing wasn't quite up to par, I look at my husband and shrug my shoulders with a "sorry I'm not sorry" look. Taking the pressure off yourself can open up a world of possibility in the kitchen. So whip out that apron, grab your favorite knife, crank up the music, and get your groove on with this Caramelized Onion Tart. I promise this will wow your guests. It works great as a starter course or as a main dish paired with a nice salad or bowl of soup.

There are a couple steps involved between making the pie crust and the onion jam. The crust can be made in advance and frozen. Allow the crust to thaw in the refrigerator the night before you plan to make it. The onion jam can be made up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Once you finish these two steps, this recipe only requires an assembly line a hot oven, and hungry mouths to feed. 

Caramelized Onion Tart

Makes 4 servings

Crust: This is the recipe from my Paper Bag Apple Pie. You only need 1/2 of it. Save the other half in the freezer for later or use all if you are doubling the recipe. 

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup vegetable shortening, well chilled

4 to 8 tablespoons cold water

Onion Jam (I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 pound onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup water 

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

Remaining ingredients

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

1 can black olives, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Salt and pepper

Fresh herbs for garnish, optional

1. For the crust: Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Sprinkle spoonfuls of chilled shortening over dry ingredients. Pulse until mixture resembles the size of lima beans. 

Add 4 tablespoons of the ice water to the mixture. Pulse just until mixture begins to form a ball. Gradually add additional water if necessary. Turn dough out onto a lightly flour surface. Form dough into a ball. Divide dough in half. Gently press each half into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out.

2. For the onion jam: Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, approximately 15 minutes. Add water, vinegar, and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes. 

3. Blanch tomatoes by bringing a medium pot of water to boil. Add tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain. Peel the skins off of the tomatoes. Set aside. 

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to about 1/8-inch thickness, cut into discs with approximately 4-inch diameter. Transfer discs to a parchment lined baking sheet. 

5. Top each disk with a couple spoonfuls of onion jam, 4-5 tomatoes, and 3-4 black olives. Brush each disc with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until edges of disc are lightly browned. Before enjoying, lightly press down the tomatoes with a fork to allow the juices to release. Enjoy!

Not only is Rachel an excellent chef and writer, she also was the photographer for this post. Images are used with her permission. If you're interested in more of Rachel's recipes, she's one of 45 bloggers featured in the Casual Veggie Cookbook.