" Back To The Future (Part 3)" Travelin' Through Thyme and Onion Tart 3

Much like our original recipe for "Back to the Future 1", this recipe sequel features onions cooked so slowly that time seems to stand still. Of course, we've taken our cue from the movie and changed a few of the featured players: While this film features Mary Steenburgen as Doc's new love interest, this time around we've added leeks to the mix. Why? We just love them.


For the Thyme and Onion Filling:

  • 1 Vidalia onion, thinly diced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large leeks, very thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup full bodied red wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • To taste, salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Tart Shell and Toppings:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough (the most popular national brand contains two 10" sheets per 17oz. box)
  • 1 egg beaten with one tbsp of cold water
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 roasted and sliced red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
  • A little more thyme on your hands


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced onions, leeks, garlic, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt; cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. Add the red wine and increase the heat to medium high. Continue cooking another 20 minutes until the wine is reduced completely and the onions have the consistency of thick marmalade. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside.

  2. Add the cream to the hot pan, stir in the chopped thyme and reduce by half, until thickened. Pour the thyme cream over the onions and mix well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a large cookie sheet on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425°F.

  3. Lay out the puff pastry sheet flat on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll the dough to a 10 inch square, dusting with a little flour to avoid sticking. Transfer the dough to a well-buttered sheet of aluminum foil. Using a small pastry brush, paint a one-inch border of the egg mixture around the perimeter of the pastry square. One at a time, fold over each egg washed edge to create an inch-wide, double thickness border around the tart. Using the tines of a fork, lightly prick the dough at 1/2-inch intervals, only in the area inside the border. This will prevent the bottom crust from puffing. Brush the egg mixture over the doubled edge.

  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parmesan evenly over the fork-marked pastry base. Spread the cooled thyme and onion marmalade over the Parmesan; scatter the chopped olives and peppers over the onions, and top with the remaining Parmesan. Carefully lift the tart by the edges of the foil and slide onto the hot cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated 425°F oven until puffy, crisp and golden brown. Garnish with chopped thyme and serve either warm or cold.

  5. After dinner, skip the dishes and return to a time when the kitchen was still clean.

    Makes one 10" tart

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