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Parsnip, camembert and caramelised onion tart

April 19, 2012

I was lovingly given the smelliest Camembert ever very recently. I lovingly crafted around half of it into a slightly-less-pungent-yet-still-as-tasty tart. And upped the score to Michelle 2:0 Pastry. Credit also due to the amazing and famous Michel Roux. Although I did wimp out slightly. He offers two pastry recipes for tarts, either pâte brisée or flan pastry. I used the latter, which he cites as being a bit more sturdy and thus handy for less, er, confident, hands.

PS, I know, instagram has crept in. I promise not to do it all the time. Monsieur Roux, forgive me…


  • 1 amount of flan pastry (see below)
  • 2-3 parsnips
  • 100-200g camembert (about half of one boxed camembert)
  • 2 red onions, plus some red wine or balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked with 100ml of milk
Flan pastry:
  • 125g softened butter, cubed
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 40ml cold water
Preheat the oven to 200 oC/gas 6. First get the parsnips roasting. Peel them and cut into small cubes. Drizzle over a tbsp olive oil, season lightly, and toss to be evenly coated. Roast in the oven for 30-45 mins, checking every 15-20 mins to turn them over. Leave to cool when done. Lower the oven to gas mark 5.
Ok for the pastry, we do what I haven’t tried before. It looks posh, feels messy, but overall requires 1 fewer bowl to wash (and does feel a bit well, french. Well, un peut). The idea is basically to make a mess:

Heap the flour onto the work surface, and make a hole in the centre. Put the cubed butter, egg, sugar and salt into the well. Use your finger tips to mix the wet ingredients together. Then, bit by bit bring in the flour, until it starts to form a dough, using cold water until it comes together. Using the palm of your hand, knead 5 times until it’s smooth, but don’t overwork. Wrap in cling film and chill until ready.

To make the pastry flan case, roll out the chilled dough on a floured worksurface. Turn frequently, and also flip onto the reverse, to prevent it sticking, creating a round that is thin and several inches larger than the pie tin. Grease the pie/flan tin well and line the bottom with paper. Roll up the dough loosely onto your floured rolling pin to pick it up, then unroll over the dish. See the middle picture. Press very gently into the sides, and roll the pin over the top to cut off any extra pastry. If you’re petrified of picking up the pastry (as is normal), you can also roll out the pastry onto baking paper. Then simply pick up the pastry using the paper to transfer.

Now to bake the case. Prick all over and leave to chill for 15 mins (you can chop the onion whilst waiting), to let the dough shrink at all. When ready, line the case with paper and baking beans / lentils, and blind bake for 15-20 mins. Remove from oven, remove the beans, and pop back in for another 5-10 mins to brown the pastry. Voila! Whilst that’s happening you can make the caramelised onions. Lightly fry in butter, adding a teaspoon or so of sugar, and some balsamic way through (or a little red wine vinegar), and cook until sticky and sweet.

Finally, you can put it all together. Mix the caramelised onions and now-roasted parsnips together and pile into the pastry case. Cube the camembert and dot the tart with as much as you dare / can fit in. Finally pour over the beaten egg and milk mixture  and bake for 20 mins until the cheese is bubbling and the filling set. Yes it’s a lot of effort for a tart, but it does look (and taste) neat. Homemade pastry is so worth the trouble.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2012 1:42 pm

    Ca a l’air SUPER bon! You had me at stinky Camambert really, so I’ve got to give this recipe a go…homemade pastry and all!

  2. The Happy Cook! permalink
    January 4, 2013 10:00 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe, which my husband spotted on your blog! I made the pastry a couple of days ago and it’s been sitting in clingfilm in the fridge, and then I made up the tart this evening. Substituted Brie de Meaux for the Camembert, and my husband (who has an aversion to eggs and milk) declared it fantastic! The sweetness of the roasted parsnips and the caramelised onions worked really well with the mushroomy flavour of the Brie – yum.

    To be honest though, I won’t be making it very often, as there were far too many stages with the pastry (and I even omitted the stage that says to put the pastry-lined flan dish back in the fridge to rest), and the whole thing took hours!!

    • February 20, 2013 12:51 am

      Hi, really glad you liked it! One cheeky cheat is to buy the pastry – it means you can focus on the filling and have a speedy but tasty supper 🙂 (or make the pastry and freeze lots for a rainy day….) Happy baking!


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