Skill level

Average: 3.3 (6 votes)


  • 1 kg (approximately 12) small red onions, 5-6 cm in diameter
  • 60 g butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to serve
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 sheet good quality butter puff pastry

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F). Peel the onions and set aside. Place butter and brown sugar into a 20 cm, ovenproof frying pan. Cook over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and season the pan with salt and pepper.

Place the onions root end down into the pan, packing them in tightly. Simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes and then carefully turn the onions over so that the top of the onion is down and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes or until onions are soft and caramelised. While still on the heat, pour over the balsamic vinegar and give the pan a swirl, continue to simmer for 1–2 minutes.

Cut a 24 cm circle of pastry. Don’t worry too much about the measurements, just make sure that you cut the pastry with enough to be able to tuck in around the onions. The idea is, when the tart is cooked, you turn onto a plate and the pastry becomes the pie shell. You’ll need edges to catch all those delicious juices. When the onions are all tucked in, bake for 20–30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Turn the tarte tatin onto a serving plate and top with extra thyme sprigs.


• This can easily be made into bite-size tartes to serve as an appetiser with drinks. Cook the onion as suggested above and then place them top-ends down into well-greased small muffin pans. Spoon over any pan juices. Cover with a circle of pastry, tucking in the edges, and bake until pastry is golden and puffed. Turn out and garnish with thyme leaves.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.