French Onion Tart Paired to Pinot Blanc

Compliments of Chef Nanette Smalley

SIP_ad_smSierra Madre Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley produces a creamy, delicate true Pinot Blanc that offers a hint of clove with a silky texture and mouthfeel. Produced from an authentic clone from Alsace, this wine distinguishes itself markedly from the other wine also called Pinot Blanc but which is actually the delightful yet less complicated Melon de Bourgogne.

A savory onion tart is a traditional pairing with Pinot Blanc. Chef Nanette Smalley of Chef Nanette’s Feast shares her favorite recipe for French onion tart to pair with this lovely wine. She has long experience with preparing French cuisine for discriminating clients, having worked for years as a private chef for folks in New York City. Everything she makes is delicious.

Pick up some onions from your local farmers market, support your Central Coast neighbors, and indulge the foodies in your life by bringing this pairing to life.



  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2-2/3 cups of flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Chef Nanette, ready for guests to enjoy another simply delicious feast

1) Cut butter into pieces. Add to flour, thyme, salt, and sugar using a food processor. Using the metal blade, process until this mixture resembles coarse meal (8 to 10 seconds).

2) With the motor running, add the ice water in a steady stream. Process the dough just until it just begins to form a ball. The moment it becomes a ball, stop the food processor: do not over process (about 10 seconds). If the mixture feels too dry, add a little more water.

3) Shape the dough into a disk, wrap or seal in an airtight container and chill for at least an hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

4) Roll out the dough into a circle about two inches past the edge of a 9-inch tart pan or springform pan. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use your pan of choice just as long as it has a removable bottom.

5) Set flattened pastry into pan, tuck into the corners, make a crust design along the edge, and prick bottom of the shell with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment and pre-bake using either pie weights, dried beans or rice for 10 to 15 minutes or until just starting to turn golden. Of course, remove weights and parchment before adding filling.


  • 4 bacon slices (1/4 pound) cut crosswise into 1/8- to 1/16-inch-wide strips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds onions, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise (10 cups)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1) Prepare filling while shell bakes.

2) Cook bacon in a nonstick or cast iron skillet over moderate heat, turning occasionally until crisp (6 to 8 minutes).

3) Transfer bacon with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain. Pour off bacon fat from the skillet. Return to heat.

4) Add butter to skillet and cook onions with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper over moderate heat, stirring until just wilted (about 2 minutes).

5) Cover surface of onions with a round of parchment or wax paper (or cover skillet with a tight-fitting lid) and continue to cook, lifting parchment to stir frequently, until onions are very soft and pale golden, about 20 minutes. Stir in bacon, then remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.

6) Whisk together in a large bowl crème fraîche, eggs, nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in onions.

7) Fill and bake tart: pour filling into pre-baked shell spreading onions evenly.  Bake until filling is set and top is golden (25 to 35 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.

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