Onion, Walnut and Roquefort Tart

"A recipe from Ris Lacoste, Washington, DC chef extraordinaire. This can be made in an 11" tart pan or as tiny little hors d'oeuvre. If making for lunch or supper, serve with a green salad to which you add a bit of pear. A Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc is a nice accompaniment."
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  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • On a floured, cold surface, roll out the pie dough to a 14-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll onto the tart pan (use an 11" pan with a removable bottom).
  • Gently mold the dough around the edges to completely line the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the edges of the pan to cut off the excess dough. Patch any spots with the extra dough and then freeze any remaining for later use. Chill the molded pie shell for about 20 minutes before baking or freeze, well wrapped until ready to use.
  • When ready to bake, score the bottom of the tart shell with fork marks to prevent the dough from bubbling. “Blind bake” the tart shell by covering it fully with a sheet of parchment paper and filling the tart with rice or dried beans, making sure to completely fill in the shape of the shell with the beans. This weighted process will allow the crust to bake without shrinking or losing its shape.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, until shape has set and the dough is lightly colored.
  • Remove the beans and parchment and store for later use.
  • Return the tart shell to the oven and bake another 10 minutes until it is golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a heavy based sauté pan. Add the onions and cook gently over medium heat, until the onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  • Once caramelized add the sherry and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are dry.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove to a plate and chill in the refrigerator. The onions can be made two or three days ahead.
  • Toast the walnuts in the oven until lightly colored, about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the nuts and then place in a colander or large holed strainer and shake until most of the bitter skins or “dust” is removed. Set aside until ready to use. The nuts can also be prepared ahead and kept well covered.
  • To make the custard, simply whisk together the yolks and the heavy cream until mixed and season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • To assemble, cover the bottom of the tart shell with an even distribution of the caramelized onions.
  • Repeat again with the walnuts and then the Roquefort.
  • Cover with the custard and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from the oven and allow to set before serving.

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<p>I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I cooked with my Grandmother who had endless patience and extraordinary skill as a baker. And I cooked with my Mother, who had a set repertoire, but taught me many basics. Then I spent a summer with a French cousin who opened up a whole new world of cooking. And I grew up in New York City, which meant that I was surrounded by all varieties of wonderful food, from great bagels and white fish to all the wonders of Chinatown and Little Italy, from German to Spanish to Mexican to Puerto Rican to Cuban, not to mention Cuban-Chinese. And my parents loved good food, so I grew up eating things like roasted peppers, anchovies, cheeses, charcuterie, as well as burgers and the like. In my own cooking I try to use organics as much as possible; I never use canned soup or cake mix and, other than a cheese steak if I'm in Philly or pizza by the slice in New York, I don't eat fast food. So, while I think I eat and cook just about everything, I do have friends who think I'm picky--just because the only thing I've ever had from McDonald's is a diet Coke (and maybe a frie or two). I have collected literally hundreds of recipes, clipped from the Times or magazines, copied down from friends, cajoled out of restaurant chefs. Little by little, I am pulling out the ones I've made and loved and posting them here. Maybe someday, every drawer in my apartment won't crammed with recipes. (Of course, I'll always have those shelves crammed with cookbooks.) I'm still amazed and delighted by the friendliness and the incredible knowledge of the people here. 'Zaar has been a wonderful discovery for me.</p>
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