Apple Butternut Tartlets (with caramelized onion, thyme, and local cheese)

Fall is here, and you know what that means–pie. I’m a fan of fruit plus a crust in any variation: pumpkin pie, apple tarte tatin, plum galettes … but I have to admit, I’m not the biggest sweet treat eater. I tend to prefer savory things, so with my bounty of butternut squash and apples from last week’s market, I decided that I would stick with the crust plus fruit equation that always makes me happy, but that I would make them for dinner, instead of dessert. 

Apple Butternut Tartlets.jpg

Apple butternut tartlets

For the crust

  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or regular whole wheat flour)

  • 2 c. all purpose flour

  • 7 oz. (1.75 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces* 

  • 1 t. salt

  • 1/4-1/2 c. ice water

Combine the flour and salt thoroughly in a bowl or the base of a food processor. Cut or process the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Add the ice water slowly until the dough just holds together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a disk, wrap in plastic or parchment and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the remaining ingredients. 
To make the tarts

  • 3/4 lb. (2 medium-sized) sweet onions, thinly sliced

  • 10-12 thin slices of butternut squash, cut from the stem so that you have round pieces*

  • 1 apple, cored, quartered and cut into thin slices

  • 3-4 stems of thyme, leaves picked

  • 1 c. of grated cheese, such as Sequatchie Cove’s Cumberland

  • butter and or olive oil for cooking

  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 t. water

*if you find that you aren’t safely able to cut these pieces into rounds, halve the squash and cut 20-24 half moon-shaped pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large saute pan or skillet, caramelize caramelize the onions over medium-low heat in a little olive oil, butter or a mixture of the two. When the onions have caramelized, remove from the heat and stir in the thyme leaves. 

Meanwhile, roll out the dough for your tartlets. To do this, I rolled the dough into a rough triangle, 1/4″ thick, and cut out circles using a large biscuit cutter (mine was 3 and 5/8″), then rolled the circles out further until they were 1/8″ thick. 

Arrange on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. In the center of each circle, spread 1 T. of the onions, leaving a roughly 1″ border on all sides. Sprinkle 1 T. of cheese over the onions, then layer with a piece of butternut squash and several slices of apples. 

Fold the edges of the tarts back over the filling, crimping as you go, if you like. Brush the dough with the egg and water mixture and bake for 20+ minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the bottom of the tarts are no longer soft. 

Cool slightly before eating and serve warm, or at room temperature. 

Makes 10-12 tartlets.