Savory Apple Tart with Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese

Not quite a quiche, this wonderfully savory apple tart is more about the filling than the custard.

Caramelized Apple, Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese Tart

There is something magically transporting about this particular combination of flavors. WOW is the only word I can think of to describe this savory apple tart.

The buttery richness of flaky pastry, tart apple, mellow bite of onion, savory cheddar, and sharp blue cheese create a wondrous effect on the palate.

Savory Apple Tart with Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese


This was my first opportunity to try the custard tart proportions espoused by Jerome Audureau and Frank Mentesana of Once Upon a Tart, SoHo, New York bakery fame.

I’m a fan of their beautiful book and have long wondered about the proportion of 1 egg to 2 tablespoons cream for their custard tart, in lieu of the more standard 1 egg to ½ cup cream that is my standard. I am a custard lover and admit to wanting more, rather than less, custard in my tart.

Savory Apple Tarts with Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese

Nevertheless, less custard puts the focus on the filling, and that can be a very good thing, as this savory apple tart demonstrates.

Savory Apple Tart with Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese

Savory Apple Tart with Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese

This wonderfully savory apple tart is more about the filling than the custard binder. Not quite a quiche, it packs a multi-layered flavor wallop that is sure to please. Perfect for a special brunch, with perhaps a lightly dressed green salad alongside.

one 9- to 10-inch or four 5-inch shallow pastry shells, partially prebaked (use Quick & Easy, Flakey, All Butter, Short-Crust Pastry or your favorite pastry)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 large eggs
¼ cup cream (or half-and-half)
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
1 clove peeled, minced or pressed garlic
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh sage
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Cheeses for Layering
1 loosely packed cup grated, aged cheddar
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese

  1. To prepare the pastry, make one 9-inch pastry shell in a shallow, removable bottom tart pan, prebake, and allow to cool on a wire rack. (Or prepare four, 5-inch pastry shells in the same manner.)
  2. To prepare the onions, in a large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and slowly cook the onions until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Remove from the heat and reserve.
  3. To prepare the apples, in a large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter per batch and add apple slices to cover the bottom of the pan without overlapping. You will likely need to sauté the apples in two batches.
    Quickly brown both sides of the slices and then remove to a plate. The apples should not be fully tender at this point.
  4. To prepare the custard, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs to smooth them and then whisk in the cream. Mash the blue cheese with the back of a fork, and add it to the custard, along with garlic, mustard, rosemary, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To prepare the tarts, sprinkle a little cheddar cheese over the bottom of the pastry shell (melting it quickly under a broiler if you like, to help ensure a crisp bottom crust), and then evenly distribute the onion mixture over the top.
  6. Sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining cheddar over the onions and top with the Parmesan.
  7. Arrange the caramelized apples in a spoke-like fashion over the cheeses.
  8. Pour the custard over the apples, taking care not to overfill the pastry shell. Leave ¼- to ½-inch top edge clearance. (If there is custard remaining, fill a buttered ramekin or two and bake in a bain-marie later.)
  9. Sprinkle the top of the quiche with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheddar and 1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles.
  10. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes for a 9-inch tart or about 20 minutes for 5-inch tarts.
  11. Remove the tart from the oven and cool the slightly on a wire rack, allowing at least 10 minutes of set-up time before cutting. (Actually, this tart taste best when cooled just a bit and is excellent even at room temperature.)
  12. Remove the rim of the tart pan and cut into eight wedges to serve. (Or serve individual tarts.) Because of the delicacy of the pastry, I find it better to cut through the top edge with a serrated bread knife, changing to a flat-bladed knife to finish the bottom of each slice. This way the pastry does not break or shatter.

Serves 4.

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Copyright 2012 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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  1. Rachael says

    Could you make these ahead of time…and freeze them–either after they were baked or before….then allowed to thaw and cooked or reheated?

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Rachael, most likely yes, but some quality will be lost. Try freezing them after baking and see what result you get. On the other hand, why not make and freeze the unbaked tart shells (which, if well wrapped, will keep for months in the freezer), and then make the filling and store in the frig until needed (will keep for several days)? Then on bake day, take the tart shells from the freezer, prebake as directed in the recipe, fill with the prepared filling, and bake.

  2. says

    Susan, I don’t know how to tell you this…… but I actually dreamed about these last night. I dreamed I made them and brought them to a party. It was like it was in slow motion. I’ve dreamed of food before, (of course, I’m possessed) but never in such detail before. It was a little spooky. I guess I’m going to make these and take them to a party on Saturday. I’ll let you know how it goes!
    Dana Zia recently posted…Exploring zucchini; yet againMy Profile

  3. Marge at A Sweet and Savory Life says

    This looks outrageously delicious- like a cross between the old Leatherstocking Apple Cheddar Pies and a quiche. Definately on my to-do list, thank you!

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Dana, you crack me up. :-) You have inspired me to work zucchini into something soon. I have been neglecting it and it’s so versatile.

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