For the Tart Crust:
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water, or more as needed
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a little more for kneading
A little extra-virgin olive oil, for the bowl and the baking sheet
3-4 tablespoons fine cornmeal

For the Tart Filling:
1 fat leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fresh white onion, if available, or 1 bunch scallions, including green tops, thinly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1/4 pound creamy taleggio cheese
2 tablespoons cream, if necessary
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. For the tart crust, start at least 11/4 hours before serving. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup of very warm water and let sit until dissolved. Add the flour and stir until it forms a soft dough. Add more warm water if needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until you feel the gluten stretching and the dough becomes springy to the touch. Rub a little olive oil around the inside of a large bowl, add the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic and set aside in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled.
2. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured board. Punch it down and spread it into a rough circle. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the top, roll it up and knead for 5 minutes, until the cornmeal has been thoroughly incorporated. The crust may be made ahead to this point and the dough refrigerated until ready to use. Bring the dough back to room temperature before continuing. Kneading refrigerated dough will help to warm it up.
3. Lightly oil a baking sheet or a 12 inch tart or pizza pan. Roll the dough into a circle about 12-14 inches in diameter and place on the prepared pan. Cover with a dish towel and set aside in a warm place while you make the filling.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine the olive oil and leeks in a saute pan over medium-low heat and cook the leeks until they are melted. Do not let them brown. Add the fresh onion or scallions and the red onion, adding another tablespoon or so of olive oil if the mixture seems very dry. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are meltingly soft. The entire process may take as much as 45 minutes. Do not let the onions brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
5. In a medium bowl, beat the egg briefly. Beat in the taleggio, a little at a time, beating just long enough to mix. If the taleggio is very firm, beat in a tablespoon or two of cream to lighten the mixture. Stir in the cooked onions with their oil. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Spread the mixture into the prepared dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border all around or pour it into the prepared tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, scatter the grated Parmigiano over the top and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.

Recipe courtesy of The Chefs of Cucina Amore, West 175 Publishing, 1999.

Taleggio is an Italian dessert cheese, but here Nancy Harmon Jenkins uses it to make a rich sauce for a savory tart. Fresh white onions are those that have not yet formed a papery skin on the outside. Substitute green onions or scallions if you are unable to find them.

Three Onion Tart
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