India’s famous baked goods have won worldwide acclaim. In addition to positively unapologetic quantities of butter and sugar, the Subcontinent’s sweets feature spices, seasonings and homegrown fruits and nuts that make cookbook author Chetna Makan’s new collection shine. Take a savory turn with this curry onion tart.
My twist on quiche, this tasty tart is filled with onions cooked the South Indian way, with fresh curry leaves, mustard seeds and red chilies. They work a treat with this smoked paprika pastry, which has an attractive reddish hue. Serve slices of this tart with a spoonful of coconut chutney.
For the pastry
- 1 1/3 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2/3 cup chilled salted butter, diced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4-6 tablespoons cold water
For the filling
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- Handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- Scant 1/2 cup double cream
For the tart
To make the pastry, mix the flour, salt and paprika together in a large bowl. Add the butter and coat it with the flour. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the lemon juice and measured water together and pour in just enough of the liquid to bring the dough together. Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few seconds, then shape it into a ball. Wrap the ball in clingfilm and chill for 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350ºF), gas mark 4. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 millimeters (⅛ inches). Line a 23-centimeter (9-inch) loose-bottomed tart tin with the dough, leaving the excess dough overhanging the edge. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then line it with nonstick baking paper, fill it with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry looks dry and crisp. Use a small, sharp knife to trim away the excess pastry from the rim, then leave the tart crust to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
While the tart crust is cooking, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried chilies. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onions and cook over a medium heat until light golden. Stir in the coriander and salt, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Whisk the whole eggs, yolk and cream together in a bowl. Fill the baked tart case with the onions and press them down a little. Sit the tart tin on a baking tray, then pour the egg mixture over the onions. Bake for 35 minutes or until the filling is set and golden. Leave the tart to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a serving plate. Enjoy it warm or cold. This tart will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.