Adapted from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan
The ever-popular lardon-laced quiche Lorraine is off-limits for Jews who eschew pork. In an effort to adapt the regional specialty to fit their dietary limitations, the Jews of Alsace and Lorraine created this onion tart, which I find delicious. I learned how to make it from the great chef Andree Soltner, who, before he came to America, worked for a kosher caterer in his native Alsace. Trust me, you won't miss the bacon.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Pinch of salt
Dried beans for weighting the crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound (about 4 small) onions, peeled and thinly sliced in rings
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt to taste
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper to taste
A handful of chives
To make the crust, put the flour, butter, vegetable shortening and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse until crumbly. Gradually add 2 tablespoons cold water, pulsing until the dough forms a ball. Remove, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 10 inches in diameter. Gently lay it in an ungreased 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing the dough into the sides and trimming off any excess dough. Cover the dough closely with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. To make the filling, heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the onions, sugar and salt to taste, and sauté over low heat, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the onions are golden and soft. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Fill the foil-lined crust with enough dried beans to cover the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees, and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the foil and the beans.
Put the eggs, cream, nutmeg, and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, and beat them together until blended. Fold in the onions, then transfer the filling to the pie crust and scatter the chives on top. Return it to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is set and custardlike. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 6 servings