in the kitchen with: susan schawke of artstream studios


this week’s apple onion cheese tart recipe is from susan schwake of artstream studios. it is another must for your recipe portfolio! despite the written length of the recipe it is very easy to make- just make sure you have all the ingredients out and ready to go (except the items which need to stay cold till the last minute), or you’ll end up having to use a funnel to pour in the cream through the hole in the top like i did. this is the perfect fall dish for dinner parties, but it is also wonderful in individually sized tart dishes. thanks again to beth and jai jai from harlem vintage and nectar wine bar for the pairing! click here for the full recipe and more pictures, or just click “read more” below. [today’s cooking photos were taken by kristina gill] -kristina


about susan: susan schwake is a new hampshire based artist, and owner of artstream studios, in rochester. in 2003, she opened artstream with husband, graphic-designer rainer schwake, and friend mary jo monusky, in a restored 100 year old building housing a full fine arts gallery. the gallery promotes emerging and established artists, media/graphic design studio, and art academy in beautiful downtown rochester right on the cocheco river. today, artstream collaborates with other artists to offer arts programming for all ages.


Apple Onion Cheese Tart
{Wine Pairing: Kurt Darting Riesling Kabinett 2006}

For the tart crust:

3 cups sifted white flour, unbleached
6 oz. cold unsalted butter
dash of sea salt
1/2 cup ice water

For the filling:

1 large sweet onion chopped finely (sauté first in 2 tablespoons of butter)
6 tart apples, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 cups shredded strong cheddar cheese – if unavailable in your area use a Swiss cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper

To make the crust: Place the flour in a large bowl and combine the flour, butter and salt with a pastry blender until it looks like small peas. (If you prefer you can use a food processor for this step.)
Add the ice water slowly combining each addition just until a dough forms. Divide the dough into two portions and cover them and chill for an hour.

(Anna Harrington of Deadly Squire provided excellent crust making tips by hand or with food processor with her tart apple tart recipe.)

To prepare the filling: Preheat your oven for 425 F (220 C) Melt two tablespoons of butter in the pan and slowly cook the onion for about 20 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the thinly sliced apples and cook for 5 minutes. They should still be firm, with some texture. Put them in a bowl to cool. Add the grated cheese and heavy cream and spices. Mix well and start rolling out the crust.

Assembling the tart:

Between two sheets of wax paper, roll the dough to a circle about 11-12 inches across. Place the first piece of dough in the pie pan and press the dough around the edges gently, patching any holes, if you made some! Repeat for the second dough ball, which will become the top of the tart. At this point you can use a sharp knife to create a few “steam holes” in decorative patterns upon the top.

Fill the bottom pie shell with the filling piling it up in the middle. Carefully place the top crust upon the filling and crimp the two pie crust together all the way around the edges. Trim off excess crust with a sharp knife or pastry wheel. Brush with a beaten egg or milk and bake for 30 minutes or until brown.

Why Susan chose this recipe: I chose this recipe as it embodies autumn for me here in Rochester, New Hampshire. Picking apples is something we find time to do every fall to savor the last warm days of the year and to get our hands on the freshest fruit we can to make our apple, cheese and onion tart. This was the first savory tart I had ever tasted, in the Lakes district in England and I fell in love. I learned to make pies at age 8 and was always trying to find new things to fill them with! Butternut Farm is a local orchard run by our friends Mae and Giff Burnap (Giff pictured in collage). This is great served hot from the oven, warm or even cold. I like it with Branston pickle, a nice mango chutney or a few bread and butter pickles.

Wine pairing:

With apple season right upon us, when I see this recipe I can’t help but think of the Wisconsin tradition of topping slices of hot apple pie with Wisconsin cheddar cheese. I would pair this savory tart with a sweet Riesling, such as the Kurt Darting Riesling Kabinett 2006 (Pfalz, Germany). This echoes the fruit, with sweet-tart apple flavors and baking spices, while possessing ample acidity to stand up to the richness of the cheese and cream. – Beth

  1. Kristin says:

    I was so excited to see a designer from Rochester featured on here, and then I realized she was from Rochester, New Hampshire. I’m from Rochester, New York. :(

    But still, the recipe looks delicious!

  2. Mjam ^^
    Looks very delicious.

  3. claire says:

    Wow, Susan has beautiful and wonderfully intense eyes. I bet she doesn’t miss a trick! I love that picture.

  4. Amy G says:

    My dad lives right nearly in Strafford, NH! I had no idea there was some good art stuff going on in the area — I will definitely visit the gallery the next time I am in town!

    This recipe looks great. And to Kristin, the above commenter? I live in Niagara Falls, NY, so we’re practically neighbors! :)

  5. susan says:

    amy- do drop in next time you are visiting your father!
    claire- thank you for the compliment!
    kristin- there are so many rochesters it is unbelievable!

  6. I’m baking this right now and it smells delicious! Perfectly autumnal, just the kind of thing I was looking for, thanks Susan!

    I loved visiting Susan at Artstream in September on my way to Squam Art Workshops — the gallery is gorgeous and I even picked up a beautiful birdie sculpture by Abby Glassenberg!

  7. Jesse says:

    I feel like this is the apple pie recipe I’ve been waiting for. Thank you!

  8. Cotton Heart says:

    This looks fantastic! I am not baking yet but once I start, this will be one of the first experiments!

  9. Courtney says:

    This looks amazing, and so simple! I am going to make a pear version of this tart for brunch next weekend!!

  10. Mimi says:

    This is absolutely delicious, though I have to wonder if the recipe uses a deep-dish pie pan–I had almost a half a pie’s worth of filling that I couldn’t fit into my regular-sized one….

  11. Hampton says:

    is strong cheddar the same as sharp cheddar? i tried googling strong cheddar but it kept pulling up brand names. i would hate to think i’m missing something wondrous in the world of cheese…

  12. susan says:

    mimi – a deeper dish pie pan or large tart pan works best –
    hampton – strong sharp cheddar is best!
    (strong = sharp for me…)
    :)

  13. Gretchen says:

    So great to see Susan here! That dish looks delicous too.

  14. kristina says:

    I will make another confession here… I had a TON of filling left over as well, but I just piled my tart to the ceiling in a 9″ Emile Henry pie dish I put some of the cheese on the bottom of the tart first, since it isn’t blind baked and I didn’t want it to get soggy. With the scraps left over, I made an individual sized tart which is what you see pictured. With the smaller tart, you can just hand slice the ingredients very finely without sauteing, and pop them in the oven. I also followed the advice from Deadly Squire about using frozen butter.

  15. delicious recipe, though i had way too much filling thanks to washington’s humungous apples.

    check it out!

  16. Susan J says:

    I just had a wonderful conversation about food with Susan! Susan, I’m the one in the process of opening a cafe in Beautiful Downtown Rochester. And I think we know eachother from somewhere else. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person.

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