You know how sometimes you wish pizza crust was actually a croissant? No? Nobody else. Weird. Well, to the few of you who have wished that gluttonous thought, this one’s for you.
This creation came about after one of my very-dangerous-no-good trips to the grocery store when I had nothing but coffee for breakfast. I wandered the aisles, tossing kumquats, hot peppers, puff pastry and a variety of cheeses in my cart. Certainly all these random groceries would turn into SOMETHING good, right??
Later on as I was envisioning the future of specifically the puff pastry (kumquats can be tackled later…) I remembered a delicious pizza I had years ago with red wine braised onions and crème fraîche instead of pizza sauce (you’ll recall my aversion to a red sauce on pizza here). That led to “oh! I have quail eggs in the fridge! walnuts in the freezer!’ et voila! A recipe is born. Happy Birthday little party tart.
This easy to make tart is perfect for hosting friends. It’s semi-homemade, all toppings can either be prepped well in advance, or ready in under an hour, and puff pastry is hands down the easiest, tastiest and fanciest thing to come out of a freezer. I imagine you might make this if you are hosting a book club or an after-kids-bedtime-hang with friends. When you want something warm, flakey, savory, cheesy and buttery (so…basically anytime).
Paired with a glass(es) of red wine and friends, this is the best thing to hit bookclub since wine.
Red Wine Braised Onions & Gorgonzola Puff Pastry Party Tart
Makes one 12X12 tart (9 squares)
1 medium onion (about the size of a baseball)
1 C dry Red Wine
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, still frozen
1/2 C roughly chopped walnuts (toasted!)
1/2 C Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 C Crème Fraîche
5 quail eggs (or you could easily sub 1-2 chicken eggs)
1/4 C of finely chopped fresh basil
Place oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425F.
Unwrap frozen puff pastry from box and paper, and place on cutting board or flat surface to thaw for 40 minutes.
For the Red Wine Braised Onions:
While pastry thaws, cut one onion pole-to-pole in long slices (for more information than you need about slicing onions, check out this tutorial from Serious Eats). Place onion in 10in nonstick skillet over medium heat and season with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Allow the onions to start sweating and sizzling a bit, then put in 1C red wine. Let the wine come up to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and braise until liquid is absorbed and onions have turned a delicious shade of red, about 30 minutes. Place onions in small bowl and set aside.
For the Tart:
Now that the onions are done and your puff pastry is also thawed (the magic of good timing!), place on lightly floured workspace and roll to about a 12×12 inch square. Transfer rolled pastry to a parchment lined sheet pan, and dock the crust with a fork, leaving a 1 to 1.5 inch border all around. This will keep the insides of the square down and full of toppings, but allow the pastry on the “crust” sides to PUFF up in buttery glory.
Once the pastry is on the pan, and it’s sufficiently full of fork pokes, spread 1/4C crème fraîche all over the poked area using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Evenly distribute the red wine braised onions over the crème fraîche, and do the same with the walnuts and gorgonzola.
Place in oven for 15 minutes.
While you wait for the oven to do it’s magic, prepare the quail eggs (if using). Quail eggs are tiny and adorable, but that also makes for some tricky prep. Just tap tap tapping them on their side a la chicken eggs will usually break the yolk as there’s just not much real estate in there! The super high maintenance way to get a quail egg out is to take a serrated knife (I used a bread knife which was huge, but did the trick), and sort of saw your way through the fat end of the shell, cracking off the top. Once you take the lid off the egg, pour it out into a small prep bowl. I use 5 eggs for this tart, and therefore had 5 bowls (plus one for the couple i broke the yolks on….teeny scrambled eggs anyone?).
Once your eggs are prepped, take some fresh basil, stack the leaves on top of each other and chiffonade your way to freedom.
At the 15 min mark take a peek at the tart and make sure the crust is as golden brown as your heart desires. If it’s ready to roll, pull it out and carefully plop the eggs on the tart in a pattern to your liking (I find that placing them on there like the 5-side of a di is a good way for all to get some eggy goodness).
Place back in the oven for like TWO minutes, or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still jiggling and fluid.
Cut into slices and serve immediately!