Caramelized Onion Galette - free form tart food & wine

Caramelized Onion Galette – Free Form Tart

When normal people go to a party, they think things like, “Who’ll be there? Who should I bring?” and of course, “What should I wear?” When I’m invited, the first thing that pops in my mind is “What will I bring?”

Caramelized Onion Galette - free form tart food & wine

Caramelized Onion Galette

Fiesta Friday’s extravaganza of a block party is no exception, and after much inner debate, I settled on this gorgeous, free-form Caramelized Onion Galette. Here’s my thought process when choosing an appetizer for a party, and my thanks to Arianna Bolini and Buzzfeed for the photos from her post, 21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes:

fondueI was excited when I first got the invitation. I leafed through my favorite cookbooks for inspiration. I wanted just the right thing. Something frugal, of course, but fantastic. Something that had just the right level of sophistication without being overly fussy. And something that didn’t require a lot of equipment that not everyone would have. Alas, that would leave out the lovely fondue on the left.

limaThen it came to mind that a salad featuring local ingredients might just be the right thing. Salads can be wonderful at a party, but they require a plate. Perhaps something that could be easily picked up would be better as an appetizer. Unfortunately, although Spam is local to Minnesota, in January, the Lima Beans are only available in their frozen state. *sighs.*

I leafed through my recipe box and thought about the parties I’d been to recently. Nothing seemed right. Everything seemed somehow too too common, too overdone. Although Ina Garten says, “…food is not pateabout impressing people, it’s about making them feel comfortable,” I did want to impress a bit. I think we all want to be at our best and bring our best to such a festive occasion like the Fiesta Friday one year anniversary party!

Then I thought, perhaps a simple pate, like the one on the left, shaped like a pineapple, would be just the thing. And I dismissed it. The brininess of the olives would certainly cut through the richness of that cheese, but pate and cheese? It seemed a bit too show-offy, plus I just knew that there were many vegetarian bloggers coming to the party and I wanted something every one could enjoy. Plus the cheese covered Pate may be hard to transport.

Then my baby Sis saved the day. She had just come across a lovely recipe from Food & Wine, what they called a “Free Form Onion Tart.” That, of course, is a Galette, a lovely dish of caramelized onion enriched with a bit of crème fraîche, spiked with a touch of thyme, baked in a flaky, buttery crust. It seems to be a bit of a play on an Alsatian Tarte Flambée. I did modify the recipe just a bit, with better instructions and a minor touch or two of my own.

Caramelized Onion Galette - free form tart food & wine

Caramelized Onion Galette – free form tart

I really had to get cracking to get the recipe done. Not at all difficult, this is a recipe that takes rather ordinary ingredients and transforms them into something lovely, lush and elegant. And all that takes time. This is a great recipe to break down into parts, and do a little here or there in the preceding evenings.

  • I wasn’t going to spend a bundle on crème fraîche when it’s so easily made at home, but a home-made takes about 24 hours (time varies widely according to the temperature, if you keep your house cool in the winter it can take longer) to alchemize into a lovely thick, rich marvel. I mixed that up a few days ahead (just to be sure) and put it in the fridge, ready to go.
  • Then the onions, to properly caramelize, take time – a good hour or so, because this is a large pot of them. Recipe writers, even the best, often minimize the amount of time it takes, probably because they think no-one will make it if they really know. I always  make extra because they’re like having gold – I’ll be posting a little surprise later in the week using them!
  • The pastry crust, too, takes some time – after it’s mixed together it will need to sit in the fridge for about an hour before it’s rolled out. Overnight is just fine, too, but let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes or it might be just a bit too hard to roll.

Other than all that 🙂 this recipe is a piece of cake…er…galette! Nothing is especially difficult, nothing too fussy, just simple food lovingly prepared and offered. A luxurious dish with humble roots. This is very rich, so for an appetizer, consider cutting into small diamonds or squares rather than wedges.

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @I think I’ll bring the Gallette to the Fiesta Friday Fiesta Friday Anniversary Party at the Novice Gardener. She’s been hosting bloggers for a year, now, and giving us a platform to show off our best dishes. This, I’m hoping, will be just as big of a hit there as it is here.

Thank you Hilda and Julianna for co-hosting!

Caramelized Onion Galette - free form tart food & wine

Caramelized Onion Galette; just look at that gorgeous crust

Caramelized Onion Gallette

  • Servings: varies
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Note: I caramelize 3 pounds of onions (makes two cups) and set aside about a third for another use. These keep well for about a week, for longer storage put them in a heavy freezer bag and freeze.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 5 tablespoons ice cold water

In a bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Add butter cubes and toss to coat each with flour. Using your fingers or pastry cutter, pinch the butter into the flour until the mixture has small lumps about the size of peas. A few coarser lumps are just fine.

Drizzle the water over the flour and toss with a fork until mostly incorporated. Turn out on a counter and rub across the mixture two or three times. By now, the pastry should be mostly coming together with a few dry areas. Work on those areas by pinching and pushing them into the dough. If necessary add a few sprinkles of water.

Gather the dough together into a pile, gently flatten into a disk, wrap in parchment paper or plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Overnight is fine, too, and wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month. If refrigerated more than an hour, leave the dough at room temperature for 5 to 20 minutes before rolling out.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough, from the center to edges, to a 12-inch round and transfer to a large baking sheet.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and lower oven rack to bottom rung.

Caramelized Onion Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds onion, thinly sliced (I use three pounds and set aside 1/3)
  • 3 thyme sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crème fraîche *
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
  • Sea or kosher salt, to sprinkle on crust

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions and thyme and cook covered over medium heat, until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove lid and reduce the heat to moderately low and cook until the onions are dark golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes longer. Stir from bottom, scraping with a spatula, about every 10 minutes.

If very dark bits are beginning to form on the edges of the onions between stirring, turn the heat down a little. When desired color is reached, remove from the heat and discard the thyme stems. Let cool, stir in about three tablespoons of the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven or position a rack on the lowest rung and preheat the oven to 375°.

Working with the dough (which is now on a baking sheet), leaving a 1 1/2 inch border around the edges, spread the remaining crème fraîche on the bottom of the tart. Gently dollop the onions around, carefully nudging them into an even layer with out disturbing the thin layer of crème fraîche.

Working with about a two-inch section of dough at a time, fold and tuck the dough up and over the edges of the filling. Best results are had by working around the tart in one direction. Brush any visible dough with the egg wash and sprinkle a little coarse salt on the wash.

Bake the tart on the bottom shelf for about 40 minutes, until the dough is richly browned on the bottom. If necessary, transfer the tart to the top shelf and bake for about 5 minutes longer, until the top of the crust is browned.

Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool slightly. Cut into wedges, diamonds or squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any left overs.

* No crème fraîche? An emergency substitute can be made by mixing 1/2 sour cream and 1/2 cream together. No cream? Simply thin out sour cream just a bit with some milk or buttermilk.

Caramelizing Onions:

The onions for this tart, plus a little extra (3 pounds total) took me about 75 minutes to make. The time could have been sped up a bit with a bit more babysitting and frequent stirring.

I prefer to let them go slow and low, stirring about every 10 minutes or so, until the very end, where I stick around and stir them as needed.

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34 thoughts on “Caramelized Onion Galette – Free Form Tart

  1. petra08

    Your galette looks so good! The onions perfectly caramelised and full of flavour, I hope I am not too late for a slice! 🙂

    • Thanks much! It was very good, although very rich – and gone immediately! Except for a small slice I hid when I did the dishes…which I had for breakfast, of all things! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely compliments!

    • I’m so glad you stopped by and commented so I could find your blog! I still want to explore more, but I didn’t see a single thing on there that I wouldn’t happily scarf down! Your oatmeals look so amazing, and I can’t wait to try your stuffed pepper soup!

    • Thanks, the tart was surprisingly good! I still remember my first taste of caramelized onion – love at first bite. I was pre-primed to like them, though, because I’ve always loved French Onion soup.

  2. Gorgeous! This is the perfect dish to celebrate FF’s first anniversary! Galette is so flexible and I love what you had filled yours with…caramelized onions are pretty much magical! Thanks so much for sharing this with us all!

    • Funny thing is, I always think a rustic tart like this will be easy, then once I make it, I realize that the only time I saved was pulling out the chair and rooting around in my upper cabinets for the pan…


  3. Mouth.Is.Watering. Can I have a smidgeon of those excess caramalised onions you mentioned? And I am the same – when invited somewhere my first thought is, what can I bake? And coz I tend to go OTT I usually end up baking multiple cakes and then force feed everyone 🙂

    • LOL! You’ll have to pry those onions out of my dead, cold hands!!

      Ha! That’s why you’re my Aussie twin!! I tend to be the same way = I have been told I need to go on a 12 step program. Well, for one, I usually am excited about some recipe I’ve seen and it seems the time to make it when I’m invited somewhere, or else who would eat it but me? Then I have a doubt whether or not it will turn out right, so I make a back up. Then I usually remember someone only likes chocolate, or doesn’t like chocolate, or whatever, and heck, it seems a small thing to whip up some other dessert…

      Before you know it, I’ve gone overboard! 🙂

  4. After all your considerations and recipe hunting, you came up with a perfect recipe. I have only made small batches of caramelized onions, but I think it’s time I made enough to squirrel some away. After all, with the time it takes, I may as well enjoy them more than once. Your galette looks delicious. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

    • Thanks, Hilda, you are a most gracious Fiesta Friday Host! It was so nice of you to stop by and comment! I have to say, your post was an eye opener to me! Sunchokes are not readily available here, and I thought the fermenting process was really cool.

      I agree about the large batches, although they take longer, better to get the crying and the cookin’ done at once! 🙂

  5. Pingback: First Fiesta Friday Anniversary (Part 1) | The Novice Gardener

  6. Great looking tart. I’d invite you to my house and tell you you didn’t have to bring anything to take the pressure off. 🙂

    Making a big batch of caramelized onions and storing it in 1 cup containers in the freezer is a great way to have them available when needed … like for tossing a batch of perogies in it. Or for putting on pizza with goat cheese and prosciutto.

    • Thanks much, Suzanne! You know I always have a bit of anxiety about pie dough! I had a bit of trouble with the photos, and they all looked so good on the view finder…unfortunately, not so much on the computer!! You can see I had to put the tart back together to try to get another shot at it! 🙂 It was absolutely delicious, though…

    • Thanks, Nancy! It’s always a fine line, though! 🙂 Every time I make caramelized onions, I think this is nuts, why go to the trouble. Then every time I taste them, I know why! 🙂

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