October 14th, 2010

Caramelized Onion-Chanterelle Tart



It’s been a busy-busy two weeks since we last gathered at Good Food Matters, what with The 10-10-10 Wedding and all related pre-and-post preparations and festivities. I confess, part of it is a blur, a whirling happy extended dream sequence of flickering lights and flowers, dotted swiss organza, families, friends, more families, beautiful food, brilliant toasts, divine cake, crazy soulful dancing,

from which I’m only now awakening.

To be sure, I couldn’t have dreamt a lovelier occasion.

I figure my thirty years of working with food, catering countless receptions, was all for this moment. Friends and colleagues came together to help create a gorgeous event. So much love. So much gratitude.

In the midst of all the planning for the Big Weekend, I had decided to host a farewell brunch, especially for those who were traveling, on the morning after the wedding party.

I know what you’re thinking–what was she thinking?

But when you are a recovered caterer planning your daughter’s wedding, you feel invincible. You believe you can do anything. And, you know that you can do just one more thing. You think, Hey, it’s no big deal…Just a few people for bagels and schmear, a little fruit salad, maybe a quiche or two…

Towards the end of the wedding evening, as people were leaving, many with the same parting words, “I’ll see you at the brunch tomorrow!” it was clear that a much larger get-together was looming. And, in my rhapsodic mother-of-the-bride blur, it dawned on me: “What was I thinking?”

My, my. It would be a righteous early morning.

With the help of Bill and houseguest Carissa, we put together a pretty nice spread. One of the things I whipped up was this caramelized onion tart. Yep, whipped it up. You can too. It was much loved at the brunch of 35 guests; not a speck left. I didn’t (get to) eat any, but the word was Sublime, I was told.

I’ve recreated it today, so that you and I could enjoy it. And, guess what? Ours is even better! Because I found the delectable Chanterelle mushrooms at a discount (from $24 lb. to $16 at Whole Foods! sounds obscene, but you only need $4 worth) I decided to treat us. We deserve it!


The tart combines all those elements that create Umami, the “fifth taste,” savoriness.

There’s gruyere cheese, with its salt, and milky caramel richness. Onions cooked down to almost candy. Background herbal notes from fresh thyme. Little bites of sharpness from coarse grained mustard. And, finally…the chanterelle. Hmmm. Golden trumpets that need just a hint of heat and butter to become sultry sirens of umami.



If you make your pastry up ahead of time, and keep it refrigerated, it rolls out easily—and thin.


I learned this trick a long time ago–rubbing the mustard into the dough adds another layer of flavor.


Eggs and Half-and-Half comprise the custard. If you find the cheese called Comte, try it! It is as complex and wonderful to use as Gruyere.



1 c. All Purpose Flour, sifted
1 t. Salt
6 T. Butter, chilled, cut into pieces
3-4 T. Ice Water
later: 1 T. coarse grain mustard

In a food processor fitted with the pastry swivel, pulse together the flour, salt, and butter. Add water–3 Tablespoons to start–and pulse until the dough gathers into a ball. Add another Tablespoon of water if necessary.

Wrap the dough ball in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour
—but does well to make in advance, and refrigerate overnight.Roll out dough on a flour-dusted surface until round, thin and pliable. Place into tart dish (I used a 12″ tart pan) and press onto the sides.

Coat surface with 1 Tablespoon Coarse Grain Mustard. Refrigerate until
ready to fill.

1 Tablespoon Butter
4 medium Onions, sliced lengthwise
a few sprigs of fresh Thyme leaves
2 cups Half-and-Half
3 large Eggs
1 c. shredded Gruyere cheese
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
4 oz. Chanterelle Mushrooms, sliced lengthwise

Melt butter in a deep skillet on medium heat and slowly saute onions until soft, slightly browned, and very sweet. This may take fifteen minutes.

Season with salt and black pepper. When cooked, stir in the fresh thyme leaves, and place into a small bowl. In the same skillet, melt another tablespoon of butter and gently stir the sliced chanterelles until they are butter-coated, soft, and golden. Remove from heat.

Beat eggs and half-and-half together until well blended–no trace of egg yolk remaining.

Bring out the tart shell. Sprinkle a layer of shredded gruyere on the bottom.
(about half of what you have) Spoon in all the onions. Pour in the egg mixture. Place pieces of cooked chanterelle all over the top, along with the remaining gruyere.

Place into a 375 degree oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown, and mixture is set.

Delicious warm, or room temperature. Serves 8-10.



Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Breakfast, Egg/Cheese Dishes, Recipes

31 Responses to “Caramelized Onion-Chanterelle Tart”
  1. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    Your daughter is absolutely stunning! I love that picture with that soft light casting over them.
    My what a decadent treat! And I still can’t believe that you managed whipped this up after being so involved with this beautiful event. I am looking forward to trying this recipe the next time I can get a hold of chanterelles.

  2. Cristie Says:

    What a wonderful write up of the feelings of a generous, all be it a bit crazy, fabulous Mother of the Bride! Beautiful thoughts and what kind actions to rise early for your guests. No doubt they’ll remember the delicious meal and warm hugs as they went back to their own cities and homes. The tart is going on my list. Love the tip about the mustard, never heard of that before, and the picture of the couple is perfect! Do take some time to relax, would you?

  3. Kath Says:

    What a beautiful daughter you have and what a lovely wedding photo. Very glad that you had a marvellous time. A recovering caterer – I love that. I always do that – invite people for a bit of food and then realise that there will be forty people all of a sudden and I wonder why on earth I do these things. I bet it was a fantastic brunch.

  4. FOODESSA Says:

    Chanterelle…Oooh La La…of course you deserve it and sooo much more!!! What an amazing and generous heart you have Nancy. Mothers like you are rare and I could only assume that your daughter must be pretty special too in order to get sooo much special attention ;o)

    Alright…about this quiche…you got me at the caramelized onions…luv em!
    Believe it or not…I’ve still been shying away from making pie crusts…it must have something to do with the funny feeling I get when my fingers touch flour…I know…what I’m saying is weird. For some it’s touching earth and for me it’s flour. I’m going to have to work on that ;o)

    Love the recipe and the momentous occasion surrounding your amazing energy!

    Ciao for now,

  5. Karen Says:

    Nancy, your daughter looks gorgeous! Congratulations! So glad to hear the wedding was such a wonderful event. I can’t believe you hosted brunch the next morning for 35 people. Hats off to you! And your tart looks so delicious – such a great combination of flavors. Chanterelles are my favorite mushrooms, so I’ll definitely have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Barbara Says:

    Yes my precious niece did look stunning, and so did her mom! It was so beautiful, every moment! You are amazing big sister! This dish looks wonderful and I will try it over the holidays perhaps.

  7. Faith Says:

    A huge congrats to the lucky couple! I have to echo the words of the commenters before me — your daughter is lovely! I’m glad the wedding and reception went so well. What a delicious farewell brunch too!

  8. Fluffy Says:

    what about the father(step) you know the guy with the big check where is the picture of him
    Nancy you are the best and a great show you deserve many rounds of applause Fluffy loves Nancy V

  9. rhonda Says:

    WOW…so glad everything turned out so beautifully….for a beautiful family! hmmm, “serves 8-10″….will be by shortly ;-)

  10. Michelle in DC Says:

    Oh, this looks delicious – since I missed it at brunch, I may just have to make it for myself this weekend. And, every time people host a post wedding brunch I always think they are nuts (Shanley and her husband did one themselves at their own house the day after their wedding), but they are always such a fun way to wrap up a great celebration. Yours, of course, was no different!

  11. Wendy Says:

    What a beautiful,happy couple and what a special wedding!It is difficult to believe our daughters are really such grown women–aren’t thay lucky to have such wonderful recipes to enjoy in their own homes. I’m sure this one will not be forgotten–feeding 35 hungry travelers the morning after. I have never known a Mother of the Bride to host sugh a brunch. Good on you!!!

  12. Maggie Says:

    Nance, as always, you amaze! Madeleine is gorgeous and I’m so glad you shared a photo of the happy new couple – just lovely! Can’t wait to hear some details!!

  13. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thanks, all, for such kind comments. I am beginning to catch up on reading, writing, and rest!

    It’s true, as Michelle writes, this was a wonderful way to wrap up the celebration–despite those early morning prep hours–I was happy to be able to see everyone, and visit a little more intimately with family and friends.

  14. my little expat kitchen Says:

    Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding Nancy! She looks so beautiful!
    I can imagine how wonderful it must have been for you to plan her wedding and cook for her special day.
    Your brunch tart looks amazing. Gotta love those chanterelles, I sure do!

  15. Katie@Cozydelicious Says:

    So glad the wedding was wonderful! And your tart looks amazing – I love the touch of mustard in there. Yum!

  16. Tammy Says:

    Your tart is beautiful Nancy and so is your daughter. I adore chanterelles and posted an onion pie a while back. Love the photos that you shared.

  17. Tracy Says:

    Silly lady :) I love love love the last photo. AND the tart. I might have to borrow this recipe for the weekend…

  18. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Tammy–I remember that post! No doubt I need to thank you for planting the vision for that tasty tart.

    Tracy! thank you. as for the recipe–take it–it’s yours! :)

  19. Jenn Pylant Says:

    we didn’t get to try them until Madeleine’s speech at the reception…and were so delighted we did! Deeelicious. Thanks for sharing them.

  20. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Your tart looks wonderful and your daughter looks so happy and so pretty.

  21. foodonfifth.com, Teresa Blackburn Says:

    Beautiful tart, beautiful weekend, beautiful couple…I was so happy to be part of it.

  22. goodfoodmatters Says:

    terese–your artful eye made all the difference! so grateful to you and Wouter.

  23. Barbara Says:

    Your daughter is beautiful, Nancy! Don’t they look happy?I know everyone had a marvelous time…..
    And the onion/chanterelle tart looks delicious!

  24. Nirmala Says:

    I love chanterelles and carmelized onions. I bet this recipe could be made into a quiche w/out the crust if you’re pressed for time. Can’t believe you hosted a brunch the day after the wedding.

  25. Juliana Says:

    Wow, this tart looks delicious, somehow so delicate…beautiful picture of the couple…

  26. gg loyd Says:

    BRAVA! I am so blessed to know you. Congratulations all around. Your daughter shines….

  27. Madeleine Says:

    Yes, I do have the best momma. And yes, she’s extremely talented and giving in oh so many ways!

    Thank you for everything, Momma.

    And thanks to goodfoodmatters many commentators for their well wishes and compliments. Tony and I are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and good will. I’m also flattered.

    Finally, the tart is magnificent!

  28. heather Says:

    Oh wow, this one is a winner, all my favorite flavors. Great picture of the bride and groom!

  29. Jackie (Phamfatale.com) Says:

    All my bests wishes to the beautiful bride. I love the lighting in the photo. Absolutely stunning!

    And delicious quiche, using my fave mushroom :)

  30. DSLR-A850 Says:

    Néhány igazán érdekes részleteket még written.Aided nekem sokat, csak amit kerestem: D.

  31. Good Food Matters » Blog Archive » Chanterelle Confit Says:

    […] years it works out, prompting me to make the likes of chanterelle tart, risotto, and savory bread pudding. When I discovered the cache this year, I knew in an instant […]

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