French In A Flash: Alsatian Onion Tart

This recipe by Tastes of Burgundy host Annie Smithers is a wonderful combination of crisp, buttery pastry and soft, sweet onions. A dish that can be a delightful entrée or a delicious light lunch.

Serves 6

2 cups plain flour

pinch of salt

180 g unsalted butter, cubed

¼ cup cold mineral water

60 g butter, plus extra for greasing

1 kg onions, thinly sliced

salt and freshly ground pepper

6 egg yolks

300 ml cream

baby chard, to serve

Green pea sauce

20 g butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

500 g baby peas

1½ cups chicken stock or water

To make pastry, sieve flour and salt. Chop unsalted butter through flour. Make a well in the centre and add water. Carefully bring in flour mixture from the outside until dough comes roughly together. Push dough outwards with the palm of your hand to roughly blend butter – you should be able to see large streaks of butter in the dough. Shape into 2 discs and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, melt butter over a low heat. Add onion to melted butter. Stir until well combined. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes or until onion is soft and golden. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Whisk egg yolks and cream in a bowl. Add cooled onion and stir until combined.

Heat oven to 200ºC. Grease six 12 cm (base measurement) fluted tart tins with removable bases. Roll pastry out and line the prepared tins, trimming
any excess. Place tins onto a baking tray and fill with onion mixture. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until set and light golden on top.

To make pea sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until soft. Add peas and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1–2 minutes or until peas are just tender. Strain peas, reserving liquid. Put peas and 1 cup of reserved liquid into a food processor. Process until smooth, adding more liquid if required.

Serve tarts on pea sauce and top with baby chard.


For cooking enthusiasts with a penchant for French cuisine and a drop of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, TASTES OF BURGUNDY is the perfect experience. From May 2011 TASTES OF BURGUNDY will be running cooking schools from that iconic gourmet region of eastern France, La Bourgogne (Burgundy).

Home to such world-renowned and typically Burgundian dishes as coq au vin, beef bourguignon and Époisses de Bourgogne cheese, Burgundy is a gourmand’s dream come true. Now Australians have the chance to enroll in a one-week cooking school hosted by one of three well-known chefs: Manu Feildel, Christine Manfield and Annie Smithers.

These three popular foodies have signed up to teach two one-week schools each in May, June and July 2011. Each week will include three “cooking days”, involving market visits, menu design, afternoon cooking class and culminating in dinner that evening.

The non-cooking days will be packed full of trips and experiences including barrel tastings, visits to local artisan farms, restaurant meals ranging from small bistro to Michelin star, cultural visits, wine tasting and vineyard visits with a farewell degustation dinner at the famous Three Michelin Star restaurant, Lameloise in Chagny.

The week is all inclusive from being collected in Le Creusot, seven nights accommodation in a beautiful chateau, cooking classes, cultural visits, transport during the week, all meals, wine, spirits, champagne and the return transfer to Le Creusot for onward travel.

Participants must make their own travel arrangements to and from Le Creusot (which is serviced from Paris by the TGV high speed train).

For bookings and more information please go to www.tastesofburgundy.com

Annie Smithers is one of Australia’s best loved chefs and hosts the new culinary travel experience Tastes of Burgundy with Manu Feildel and Christine Manfield.

Annie grew up in outer suburban Melbourne and has been cooking professionally for nearly thirty years with some of Australia’s best chefs. Her eponymous restaurant in Kyneton is seen as the catalyst for the re-generation of the popular tourist strip, Piper St, and has been awarded a Good Food Guide Chefs Hat each year since 2006.

Two years ago, Annie started a collaboration with well known gardener, Simon Rickard, to turn her home property in Malmsbury into a market garden to supply the restaurant. They selected mainly French heirloom varieties of fruit and vegetables and now supply up to 90% of the restaurants needs. She has a passion for carefully sourced, local, seasonal produce and her cooking style is rooted in European traditions with some quirky Australian twists, which translate from the restaurant kitchen to the home with ease.