This onion tarte tatin is really just an upside down caramelised onion tart, made with store bought puff pastry for an easy meal?
The onions are softened slowly, and then cooked in a rich butter sauce. Brandy, sugar and vinegar are added to turn the onions into burnished gold discs, flavoured with aromatic thyme.
There's no pastry skill involved at all, because this rustic onion tart is made by tucking up the onions in a pastry blanket, by hand, before it goes in the oven!
Perfect for lunch, brunch or dinner, this is so easy and delicious, and, there are plenty of variations too, if you fancy a change.
I am sure that you have heard of an apple tarte tatin?
The story goes that two sisters, with the surname of 'Tatin', who ran a hotel in France, regularly served an apple pie. However, one day the apples were left to cook too long and they decided to put the pastry on the top and then bake the pie instead.
The diners loved it and it has evolved ever since into a French classic.
Rather than make a the traditional sweet version with apples, I've opted for a more savoury version, as an onion tarte tatin, although it is still rather sweet as who can resist caramelised onions?
This recipe is really easy to make because you really don't need to be very careful with the cooking or the preparation. It's a very rustic and simple dish and it's easy to vary the ingedients to sweet or savoury versions as you need to.
I like to serve this as a casual lunch or main meal with a green salad and another French classic; carrot and celeriac remoulade. They go perfectly together.
- Pastry - I prefer the flavour of all butter puff pastry. It's easier to work with if you can buy ready rolled into a round or a rectangle. If it's frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 3 hours. Take it out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before using, otherwise it may crack. If you have a block of pastry, roll it out to about half a centimetre thick.
- Butter - salted or unsalted. If you use salted then use half the salt in the recipe.
- Onions - I used normal brown onions, but any cooking variety will work.
- Sugar - plain white sugar for caramelising.
- Vinegar - apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to give a sweet and sour tang to the onions.
- Thyme- fresh thyme flavours the butter and is a great garnish afterwards. I don't recommend using dried thyme as the flavour and texture is very woody.
- Salt - flaked sea salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Brandy - or sherry - optional.
- Oil - standard olive oil or use vegetable or sunflower oil.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Sharp knife
- 10 inch ovenproof frying pan or skillet
- Wooden spoon
Peel the onions and cut into thick slices around 1.5 centimetres or half an inch.
Put the onions in a shallow tray and pour over boiling water.
Leave them to soften for 10 minutes undisturbed.
Roughly cut the pastry to 25 centimetre width circle to fit the pan.
Use a fork to make venting holes to stop the pastry from puffing up too much in the oven.
Heat the butter and oil over a medium heat with a few sprigs of thyme.
Add the onions to the pan, wider cut side down, and cook over a medium to low heat for a further 10 minutes.
Sprinkle over the sugar and allow it to dissolve, then add in the salt, pepper, brandy and vinegar and let the mixture bubble for a minute.
Remove the pan from the heat.
💭 Top Tip
- At this point the onions should have started to colour. Lift one in the middle carefully to check.
⏲️ Baking Time
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F /180 FAN / Gas Mark 6.
Place the pastry over the onions and roughly tuck the pastry around.
The juices will be extremenly hot, so work carefully.
It will seem as if there is too much liquid in the pan but this will absorb when it bakes.
Cook for 30 minutes until puffed and golden.
Leave the onion tarte tatin to cool for a few minutes.
Place a plate over the pan and invert, to turn out the tart.
Decorate with a few fresh sprigs of time and serve.
I find that it's easier to use a pizza cutter to serve the pie.
🥗 Side Dishes
- Fennel and Pear Salad
- Raw Mushroom Salad
- Greek Salad
- Carrot and Celeriac Remoulade
- Edamame Salad with Broccoli
- Tarragon Potato Salad
- Pomegranate Pistachio Couscous Salad
- Cherry Tomato and Feta Salad
- Pastry - use shop bought shortcrust pastry instead or make your own.
- Onions - use any type of onions you like. Red onions and shallots are particularly good as they have more natural sweetness.
- Cheese - make it a caramelised onion and goat cheese tart by adding slices to the top of the cooked tart before serving or placing it under a hot grill for a minute.
- Vegan - replace the butter with oil and use a puff pastry made with ol instead.
- Festive - use a combination of sprouts, chestnuts and onions for a festive vegetarian meal.
- Refrigerator - cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Freezer - Wrap well and freeze for up to a month.
- To reheat - place on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven.
More pie and tart recipes
Onion Tarte Tatin
- sharp knife
- 25 cm or 10 inch ovenproof frying pan or skillet
- wooden spoon
- 320 g puff pastry
- 50 g butter
- 5 onions medium
- 50 g sugar
- 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- 3 thyme sprigs
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt use ½ if using salted butter
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Peel the onions and cut into thick slices around 1.5 centimetres or half an inch.
- Put the onions in a shallow tray and pour over boiling water. Leave them to soften for 10 minutes undisturbed.
- Cut the pastry to 25 centimetre width circle and use a fork to make venting holes .
- Heat the butter and oil over a medium heat with a few sprigs of thyme.
- Add the onions to the pan, wider cut side down, and cook over a medium to low heat for a further 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the sugar and allow it to dissolve, then add in the salt, pepper, brandy and vinegar and let the mixture bubble for a minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F /180 FAN / Gas Mark 6.
- Place the pastry over the onions and roughly tuck the pastry around.
- Cook for 30 minutes until puffed and golden.
- Leave the onion tarte tatin to cool for a few minutes then place a plate over the pan and invert, to turn out the tart.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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