Walla Walla Sweet Onion & Ham Tart and Corn Rye Bread

Walla Walla Sweet Onion & Ham Tart

3 medium (1 lb.) Walla Walla sweet onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter

2 teapoons caraway seeds

8 ounces ham, diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms (1/2 lb.)

1/4 cup flour

4 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose cream

1/4 cup apricot preserves

1 10-inch tart pastry (recipe follows) or prepared pie crust

In a large saute pan, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons butter for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Add remaining butter, caraway seeds, ham, and mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes, add the flour, cook another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the eggs and mix in the cream. Add egg and cream mixture to the onion mixture. Pour into a 10-inch tart shell. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Glaze by brushing heated apricot preserves over the top. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool. Serves 6 to 8.

Tart pastry

1/4 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup butter, chilled

2 large eggs

1/3 cup very cold water

Egg white for glaze, optional

Sift sugar and flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course cornmeal. Beat the eggs and add them to flour mixture, stirring to combine. Add enough of the cold water to bind the dough and allow it to be formed into a ball. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface with a few swift strokes, making sure all ingredients are combined. Do not knead too much. Allow the pastry to sit for two hours in the refrigerator before forming. Makes two 10-inch tart shells.

- Adapted from the Timberline Lodge Cookbook (Graphic Arts Center Publishing, Portland, Ore.)

Corn Rye Bread

This bread, seasoned with caraway, dill, and onion is hearty and full-flavored.

1-1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup honey

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornmeal

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup milk, warmed

1/4 cup vegetable oil

About 4 cups unbleached flour

1 cup rye flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup medium-diced Walla Walla or other sweet onion

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon milk

Combine yeast, lukewarm water and honey in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside until foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1 cup cornmeal and boiling water (if mixing by hand, use a wooden spoon). Allow to stand until mixture cools to lukewarm. Stir in warm milk, oil, and yeast mixture, mixing well. With the motor running on low, or by hand, gradually add 2 cups unbleached flour. Add rye flour, 1 cup more unbleached flour, salt, onion, caraway, and dill.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil; let stand in a warm place until dough is ready for rising. Turn dough out onto a well-floured board and knead, gradually adding remaining 1 cup flour, until elastic and smooth, about 15 minutes.

Place dough in the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Sprinkle a pizza pan or a large flat baking sheet with remaining 1 tablespoon cornmeal. Form dough into a large, round loaf and place on the pizza pan or baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush top of bread with milk. Bake until golden on top and bottom sounds hollow when rapped, about 50 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm. Makes one loaf.

- Adapted from 'Onions, Onions, Onions,' by Linda & Fred Griffith (Chapters Publishing, Ltd., Shelburne, Vt.)

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