So, being me, I set about trying to figure an easier, cheaper way to come up with the same flavor results. It took several tries, and I suspect that I will continue to tweak this recipe, but I am quite pleased with the results I’ve achieved here. And it has been a BIG hit with everyone I’ve served it to, so I think I have a winner.
Before I continue, I should emphasize again that this is something most seasoned cook will do with just about any recipe. We adapt and substitute all the time when cooking, depending on personal taste, the ingredients we have on hand (such as when I forget something on my list and have to make do without an ingredient), and the number of serving we want to get out of a recipe, for example.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, recipes are really mere guideline. You can personalize just about any one you find. That’s also the reason most cooks can’t tell you the exact ingredients they use in any given recipe; they simply do it by habit and feel without really thinking about it much.
So keep that in mind whenever you find a recipe you like. Don’t be afraid to tweak it – sometimes quite substantially - to accommodate your particular tastes and needs.
For this recipe, I used ricotta cheese on sale for $1.99 per pound vs. the goat cheese in the original recipe that runs about $10 per pound. I could have used milk, too, or cottage cheese, or a combination of any two of those ingredients. Those are just some examples of substitutions you can make to accommodate your budget.
And I’d also like to say a word or two about caramelized onions. I did not mention it in my blog about them here, but the fact is that most websites that mention them seriously understate how long it takes to cook caramelized onions. They are a delicious addition to a recipe, but they also lengthen the cooking time enormously. I’ve never been able to do it in less than about 40 minutes, so when I see a recipe that says 15-30 minutes, I just shake my head.
Once the onions are cooked, the quiche can be put together in minutes.
Here’s the recipe for the tart:
Makes 1 tart – 6 servings
Total Prep Time – 15-60 minutes (depending on method used for onion prep)
Total Start to Finish Cook Time – 1 hour-8 hours (depending on method used for onion prep)
Total Recipe Cost – Approximately $9.00
Total per Person Meal Cost with Tossed Green Salad – Approximately $2.00
1 home-made or ready-made pie crust
3-4 medium to large onions
4-6 tablespoons oil
2 cups ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, milk, or combination
2 cans of sliced or whole beets (15-16-ounce size)
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup balsamic or wine vinegar, or combination of the two
2 tablespoons maple flavored syrup
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Onion Prep (Takes from 1 hour to 8 hours)
Cut the ends off the 3-4 large onions and peel them. Then cut each onion in half through the stem parts. Place each half, flat side down, and cut crosswise to create thin half moon slices. Or you can dice them by first slicing them lengthwise into strips, and then cutting across the strips.
Either way is fine for the purposes of this recipe.
Mix the ½ cup of vinegar and the 2 tablespoons of maple-flavored syrup together in a bowl.
Preferred Slow Cooker Method - (To be done in advance. Get it ready the night before and plug it in just before you leave for work) – General instructions can be found here.
For this recipe, put the sliced or diced onions into a slow cooker. Add the 4-6 tablespoons of oil, and mix everything together very well. Add the ½ cup of balsamic vinegar, and the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and stir thoroughly to distribute and coat the onions evenly.
Cover the onions and set the slow cooker to high. Allow them to cook for 6-8 hours, or until tender and brown.
Drain the excess liquid off the onions into a pan, using a colander. Reserve the liquid, if desired. You can boil it, uncovered, over low heat on the stovetop until it reduces and thickens, and use it as a garnish/condiment for the tart.
The drained onions are ready for use in the recipe.
Measure the 4-6 tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan and heat it over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the sliced or diced onions and stir them well to coat the completely.
Mix the ½ cup of vinegar and the 2 tablespoons of maple-flavored syrup together in a bowl and add it to the onions.
Stir everything together. Cook the onions for about 45-60 minutes, turning frequently, until they are tender and deep brown in color. Drain off any excess oil or liquid, as needed, and set them aside until you are ready to use them.
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Mix the ½ cup of vinegar and the 2 tablespoons of maple-flavored syrup together in a bowl. Measure the 4-6 tablespoons oil onto a cookie sheet, and heat it in an oven for about 1-2 minutes.
Cook the onions in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, or until brown and tender, setting a timer to remind you to stir it about every 10-15 minutes.
As with the other methods, drain off any excess liquid and set the onions aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and leave it to warm up a bit on the counter.
- Meanwhile, open, drain, and rinse the 2 cans of beets in a colander.
- Dice or chop the beets quite fine (pieces about 1/8-1/4 inch in size)
- Sprinkle the ¼ cup of optional Parmesan cheese over the beets and stir to distribute it well
- Break the 6 eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk them briskly until well beaten. Add the 2 cups of ricotta (or the milk, or the cottage cheese, or a combination of any of those ingredients to make 2 cups) and the 1 teaspoon of black pepper in a mixing bowl, and blend well.
- Unfold the crust into a deep pie or quiche dish. Press it into the edges of the pan and up along the sides. Fold over any hanging edges and crimp them with your fingers or a fork.
- Spread the diced beets over the bottom of the crust.
- Cover the beets with the caramelized onions, pressing them down all around.
- Pour or spread the egg mixture over the caramelized onions.
- Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- If the pie pan is quite full, place it on a cookie sheet to prevent spillage onto the oven floor. Put the tart into the pre-heated oven and set the timer for 35 minutes. Check it at that point.
- The quiche is done when the top is golden brown and an inserted knife comes out clean. Add cooking time in 10 minute increments, as needed.
- Remove the tart from the oven when it’s done and leave it to stand for about 5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with a tossed, green salad and the reduced, leftover liquid from the caramelized onions, if desired.