Puff Pastry Part I: Savory Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart

Mustard cream, sweet onions, Gruyere cheese and sun-dried tomatoes crown this buttery, flaky tart.

This tart is red and white, and sure to chase away any blues.

Perfect for the Fourth of July, isn’t it?

“Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart” is an explosion of flavors on a crisp, buttery foundation of puff pastry. The recipe, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal in March of this year, is by that Quebecois madman, Chef Martin Picard. He’s best known for his outsized personality, his over-the-top interpretations of classic Canadian dishes (poutine with foie gras, anyone?) and for foisting a litany of rich foie dishes on Anthony Bourdain at his Au Pied de Cochon restaurant in Montreal until the “No Reservations” host practically had to cry, “uncle!”

Picard’s tart won’t cause you to do that. Instead, it’s layered with flavors: onions caramelized until they’re nearly as sweet as candy, fragrant thyme, nutty Gruyere, a dash of sharp Dijon, and sun-dried tomatoes to add just enough acid so you don’t feel too weighed down.

For the foundation of the tart, I used a new all-butter puff pastry by Pastry Chef Pascal Rigo’s Bay Area-based La Boulange. The puff pastry, of which I received samples, comes frozen in two 8-ounce sheets. A box is $8.99 at Whole Foods markets.

New, all-butter puff pastry by La Boulange.

The puff pastry comes in a sheet that you don't even have to unfold. Just let thaw.

The partially baked tart with the toppings added before going back in the oven for the final baking.

Just let the puff pastry thaw completely before using. You want it soft and malleable.

Its taste is quite buttery and wonderful.

And with these rich, nuanced toppings, it’s bound to make any day feel as carefree as a holiday.

The completed tart, cooling before serving.

Martin Picard’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart

(Serves 6 to 8 )

2 sheets thawed puff pastry, 9 by 9 inches each

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced onions

4-6 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt, to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup grated Gruyere

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sheets of puff pastry on a baking tray (if pastry sheets touch, use two trays). Prick surface with a fork, leaving a 1/2 inch border untouched. Bake until pastry bottom is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare onions. Set a large saute pan over medium heat. Swirl in oil and add onions, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn golden and sweet, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.

In a small bowl, mix mustard with cream. Once pastry is slightly cool, return it to baking tray and spread mustard-cream sauce over top, leaving a 1/2-inch border untouched. Scatter half of cheese over sauce and top with onions. Add remaining cheese and tomatoes over top.

Return trays to oven and bake until cheese melts and browns in spots, about 15 minutes.

From a Martin Picard recipe in the March 10-11, 2012 Wall Street Journal

Tomorrow: Puff Pastry Part II — Slim Apricot Tarts

More Recipes Perfect for the Fourth of July: Gordon’s Red Potato Salad with Whole-Grain Mustard Dressing

And: Corn, Tomato and Scallion Salad

And: Kokkari’s Sweet Green Peas & Feta

And: Romaine Hearts with Miso-Mustard Dressing

And: Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Galette with Basil Whipped Cream

And: Guilt-Free (Or Almost) Strawberry Shortcakes

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  • Those are great toppings! Scrumptious tarts.



  • I like using frozen puff pastry to make a quick and easy tart (or even flat bread). Just pile on seasonal ingredients that’s a mix of savory and sweet and you got a great starter for any picnic or party! I didn’t realize La Boulangerie was making its own puff pastry, but looks like a nice option. Hope you’re having some fun Fourth of July eating!

  • Wow, that does look super easy. I can’t wait to try this new puff pastry. 😉

  • This looks great! Are the sun-dried tomatoes the oil-packed or dry version?

  • Karen: I used oil-packed. You could use the dry ones, too. But the oil ones have so much flavor and work so well with the cheesy goodness of this tart.

  • Oh my yum. This looks so tasty! I think it’s time to buy some more puff pastry. 😉

  • I remember reading Picard’s recipe in the WSJ. In fact I saved it (I just checked!). He also had an interesting recipe for Fried Pancakes with Maple Cream Syrup. Anyway, nice job with the tart recipe. And thanks for the info about the puff pastry. It’s great to have some in the freezer. I’ll check it out next time I’m at Whole Foods.

  • I love those tarts with lots of dried tomatoes. It’s making me hungry. Have an enjoyable week, Carolyn! 🙂

  • Tomatoes are my all time favourite ingredients to put in anything so naturally I also love sun-dried tomatoes. Paired with the onions I’m sure this tart tasted lovely! It looks simple and delicious, will definitely give this recipe a try! 🙂

  • Oooh we ate at Au Pied de Cochon and loved it! I got so excited when I read his name in your post 🙂 BTW Happy 4th of July Carolyn and Meat Boy!

  • what a coincidence–puff pastry, sundried tomatoes, and caramelized onions are three of my favorite things!

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