Tarte á l’Oignon (French Savory Onion Tart)

I’m a big fan of the savory tart. Sometimes I think about starting a tart business, maybe a fresh frozen dough company, maybe opening a little tart stand where I serve savory tarts and salad. Anyhow, this is another tart favorite at home.  It makes the house smell amazing and the result is a super tasty dish. This recipe is a French Alsatian delight from my mother in law, Brigitte Helzer. For a perfect flakey dough recipe see below. Timing tip: Have savory dough ready – I like to have it rolled out on my tart pan then I keep it cold in the fridge til I’m ready for it. Vegetarian optional – cut the ham if you’d like.

Music: “Cabin by the Sea” by The Diskettes

Onion Tart Ingredients:

4-5 large onions, roughly chopped
1-2 tbs. unsalted butter
salt, pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 slices ham or prociutto, roughly chopped
1 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup emmentaler, grated (could sub in some gruyere or swiss or other cheeses)


Preheat oven to 450
Heat butter over low-medium flame
Add onions, stir and cover to sweat
This is a good time to grate cheese, roughly chop ham or prociutto
Add ham or prociutto to sweated onions
Add flour
In a separate bowl, whisk egg and milk together
Turn off flame, add mixture to onions
Pull out your prepped dough, pour in onions
Generously sprinkle grated cheese on top
Bake at 450 for 20 mins, then reduce heat to 350 for another 20 mins, cheese and edges of crust should be golden brown
Let cool for 10 mins on cooling rack before digging in

Savory Dough Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1½ stick butter
1/3 cup ice water (more if air is dry)


Combine flour, salt and butter in cuisinart or bowl
Prepare the dough
Add ice water slowly while pulsing in cuisinart until it gets clumpy
Gather the dough together, being careful not to over handle it (if overworked it won’t be light and flaky)
Place the dough in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before rolling it out. (It can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or can be stored in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Just thaw in the fridge the day before you’ll use it.)

Au Cœur du Jura

Au Cœur du Jura directly translates to “at the heart of Jura,” which is exactly what this cheese shop has become for us. More importantly, we have become fans of owner, Ema, at Au Cœur du Jura. Her shop is a small but well stocked crémerie and fromagerie, located in the covered market in the small city of Dole. While spending the past couple of months here in Jura, in eastern France, we’ve fallen in love with a few fantastic locally celebrated and locally produced fromages.

Comté is the most celebrated and well-known of all Jura cheeses. Jura is, afterall, a part of the Franche-Comté. It’s a firm cheese. As comté ages, it becomes stronger, more salty, sharper. You can buy it as young as 4 months old, up to 2 years old. Ema cut into a well-aged round for us. Together, we tasted small pieces of the fresh round, she smiled “it sings, doesn’t it?”

Morbier is another Jura cheese that we’ve come to relish. From the look of it, you might think it’s a real stinky cheese, but the blue line through it has nothing to do with mold. Back in the day, after they made comté, they’d take the leftover curds and use ash to keep the curds overnight until they’d add more milk. The layer of ash is what gives the cheese it’s distinctive blue line. Ash is still used now, but as an aesthetic choice, based on the old tradition. It’s a creamy semi-soft cheese that is rich and creamy with a touch of sourness or bitterness at the end.

There are many many types of tomme, made with goat milk, sheep milk and of course cow milk. The tomme unique to this area is simply called Tomme du Jura and it is a cow milk cheese. (One thing I learned in buying cheese, is unless otherwise marked, all cheeses are made with cow milk.) After making heavier, creamy cheeses, the leftover skim milk was historically used to make tomme. The result is a light, smooth cheese. It’s flavor is mild and milky, with hints of brine. In terms of texture, it’s not as hard as comté, not as soft as morbier. Tommes are fun to try because they are always different. It seems like everybody makes or sells a version of tomme around here.

So if you make your way to Dole, please pop into the covered market and say hi to Ema. (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday before noon to see the place really bustling.)

Thank you, Ema, for being so friendly to us from day one and for supplying us with such fantastic fromage. You kept us coming back for more and we hope to see you again.