Right before finals last semester I decided the best thing I could do for my mental health was to take an evening off of studying and go to a French cooking class at a cooking school I had heard about from a family friend. One of the locations is actually on my street, but I decided to drive to the other location in Stillwater, MN. The cooking school, Cooks of Crocus Hill, is situated on Stillwater's historical main street that runs alongside St. Croix river. It's so beautiful! The drive to and through Stillwater would have been enough to relax me, but the cooking class was possibly the most amazing off-campus experience I've had in college. I was the youngest attendee present (probably by at least 15 years!) but it was so much fun! The class started off with a few demonstrations by the chef and then we broke into teams. Each team was responsible for one portion of the meal: Salade de Cresson et de Betteraves au Noix, Gruyère and Sorrel Tart, Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables, or Farmhouse Crème Caramel. Everything turned out to be better than I possibly could have imagined. And the best part (well, I didn't get to take leftovers...) was that I got to keep the recipes. 

A few weeks later I decided to try to make the tart at home, with a few substitutions. I didn't have Gruyère or sorrel on hand (no surprise there!), but I did have onions and goat cheese. So, I decided to make a caramelized onion tart with goat cheese using the egg and crust base in the recipe from my cooking class. I have to say, I think it's actually even better than the one we made in the class! It's incredibly flavorful, light but rich at the same time, and just makes me feel suuuuper cozy when I make and eat it. It's a little involved, so definitely set aside some time to make this one, but you'll find that it's definitely worth it once you take your first bite. 

I thought I'd include some pictures of the cooking school first, just because it makes me so happy:) But then I'll get to the recipe! I'll list the recipe for the crust first- feel free to do the same as I did and get creative with fillings! The recipe listed will make two shells, so either plan to make two 9-inch tarts, 1 large tart (as I do! I have four housemates to feed. I think my tart pan is probably a 16-inch?) or halve the recipe. If you make a larger tart, I'd caramelized two onions rather than one so you have enough filling. I'll also list a few substitutions I've made in the past to fit my college budget that have worked really well.

paté sublime

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons cold heavy cream
1 large egg yolk

Place dry ingredients in a bowl of a food processor and process 3-5 seconds. Add butter and pulse for 8 to 10 seconds, until butter is pea-sized. Add the cream and egg and process just until the mixture begins to stick together. Turn out onto a cold surface; smearing with the heel of your hand, press together in small pieces to blend together. Divide it evenly into two; form into flat discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least half an hour before rolling. When rolling, try to use as little flour as possible. Roll to the size of your tart pan, place in the greased pan, and place a piece of parchment paper over the dough. Weigh down with pie weights or beans, cover the edges with tin foil (to prevent burning during the final tart baking phase) and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Be careful not to break the shell when moving between the oven and the counter- your filling will leak when you pour it in!

* Substitution for heavy cream: Dissolve 4 tablespoons dry milk into 6 tablespoons milk

caramelized onion tart

1 large onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter

1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup white wine
½ teaspoon dried sage

3 ounces goat cheese
¾ cup milk
¼ cup Crème Fraîche
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon kosher salt
One 9-inch tart shell, prebaked

While the dough is setting in the refrigerator, caramelize the onion by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the onions to the skillet. It'll look like a lot of onions, but I promise they'll cook down to almost nothing! Sauté for 15 minutes, ensuring that the pan doesn’t dry out so that the onions don’t begin to burn. If they begin to dry out, add either more butter, olive oil, or water to the pan. Once the onions begin to soften, add the brown sugar. Sauté for another 15 minutes before adding the vinegar; then sauté for 10 more minutes until the onions have completely softened and caramelized. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in another skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their juices. Add the white wine and dried sage and sauté until completely cooked. When both the onions and mushrooms have cooked, add the mushrooms to the onions. When the tart shell has finished baking, increase the temperature to 425 degrees. Layer the onion and mushroom mixture over the shell. Cut the goat cheese into small pieces and distribute atop the caramelized mixture. Whisk together the milk and the crème fraiche. Add the whole eggs, one at a time, whisking until thoroughly blended. Then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the tart shell, caramelized mixture, and cheese. Carefully place the tart pan in the center of the oven and bake until the tart is puffed and golden, 25-30 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure that the edges don’t burn. If it looks as though the edges are turning golden brown before the tart is beginning to set, cover the edges with tin foil as before. Remove the tart from the oven, and remove the sides of the tart pan. Serve hot or at room temperature.

* Substitution for goat cheese: cream cheese
* Substitution for Crèmfraîche: sour cream!

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