My son turned 8 the day before yesterday, and I can’t help but reminisce a bit about those early days. Before I had two children. Before I went back to work. When the lens I used to view the whole world had shifted and changed, and I was blissfully immersed in it all, yet shaky and unsteady on that new ground. One of the clearest memories I have from that first foggy fourth trimester is of my neighbor and her homemade onion tarts.
She had known my husband for a while as a neighbor, but we were not very well acquainted except for our once-a-year visits to her house. She and her husband threw the most terrific New Year’s Eve parties, ripe with interesting friends, wine from their travels, and food made with exquisite care. Their children were grown and out of the house, and she mentioned that I should come visit for lunch with my new little one. “You can sit and nurse and I’ll feed you” she said. I accepted.
I was at her house for hours that day, watching her create the loveliest little onion tarts by hand and fearing that I might overstay my welcome. I had never felt so understood as I did that day, when this experienced mother extended her home to me and just knew that I needed a bit of care so I could extend the same to my son. I hadn’t yet reached the point where I knew how critical self care was, but she knew. And she gave with nothing but kindness.
Now, I have this odd association with tiny, buttery onion tarts and time spent amidst the camaraderie of other mothers. The care she took to make them for me stuck with me like a core memory. (Can you tell I have Disney-obsessed kids now?) This particular recipe was designed with a busy mom’s schedule in mind, so you can make it with just a few minutes and a few ingredients. Nice, right? With premade pie crust and a sweet touch of apple butter, it’s a simpler version, but the purpose is the same. Enjoy them with your tribe: friends, other mothers, anyone who can provide the fellowship we all need but so often forget.
Mini Cipollini Onion Tarts with Gruyere and Apple Butter
Cipollini means “little onion” in Italian, and these tiny, sweet onions have a mild flavor and a texture that is perfect for roasting and caramelizing. We love to eat them whole, and they lend a ton of easy flavor to these quick tarts.
- 1 double pie crust recipe or storebought, premade double pie crust.
- 1 cup apple butter
- 1½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- approx. 18 cipollini onions
- ¼ cup melted ghee, olive oil or avocado oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring pie crust to room temperature. Roll out to fit six mini tart or quiche pans (we used 5" pans.) DIvide apple butter between pans and spread in bottom of crusts. To each crust, add about ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Peel and trim onions and add 3 to each tart. Lightly brush crust edges and tops of onions with ghee or oil. Sprinkle each tart with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place tart pans on baking sheet, lay foil across top and place in oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove foil. Bake about 10–12 more minutes or until crust is golden brown, onions are tender and cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and serve while hot.
Grab a bottle of wine and some dark chocolate. Pick up the phone and call someone who could use some kindness and conversation. And be sure to serve these tarts when they’re piping hot.