• 3 medium onions (about 1½ lbs.)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 ounces soft goat cheese rounds cut into 8 slices
  • rosemary sprigs, optional
  • 8 prepared tarts, purchase in freezer section or 1 batch of your favorite 2-crust shortcrust (pie crust) dough

1. Roll out dough into two 12″ rounds. Cut four circles 5″ to 5 ½” in diameter out of each round (slightly larger than 4″ mini-tart pans with removable bottoms). Carefully ease the rounds into the tart pans, pressing gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Chill in fridge.

2. Thinly slice onions. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and salt and cook covered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring until deep, golden brown and any liquid in skillet has evaporated. Add thyme, vinegar, and sugar and cook 10 additional minutes until mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from heat, let cool. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Prick shells a few times with a fork. Blind bake the shells (partially bake the shells before they are filled) on one or two cookie sheets 5 or 6 minutes, just until firm. Whisk butter and sour cream in a large glass measuring cup until smooth. Whisk in eggs and nutmeg, continuing to whisk until well-combined. Season custard with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over bottoms of tart shells. Pour custard over onions, dividing evenly among the eight shells. Place a goat cheese round on each tart and garnish with a sprig of rosemary, if desired.

4. Bake in center of oven until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Carefully remove from tart pans and serve on individual plates.

yield: 4 to 6 servings

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