Tarte Gratinée

tarte gratinée, baked and topped with arugula

Ham (ok, Prosciutto), two varieties of Gruyère (young and cave-aged) plus slowly caramelized onions on top of bread (pizza crust). What’s not to love? I seldomly find inspiration in the freezer aisle, but on each of the rare occasions that David’s enjoyed a Trader Joe’s Tarte d’Alsace, I’ve been stricken with serious food envy. Even if I wasn’t hungry, the idea of all of those elements combined caused me to practically drool salivate prolifically all while fawning over how goooood it smelt. (First, I must apologize for the imagery. Secondly, in writing this behavior down, I’ve come to realize that I may spend too much time around my dog, Sirius. As long as the mimicry stops here, I think we’ll (I’ll) be ok.)

Although not the most authentic of tarte gratinée — the addition of fromage blanc or crème fraîche seems unnecessary to me when one’s already committed to using other cheeses — it is immensely savory and satisfying for a late-winter, early-spring meal. Since I had some leftover arugula from another recipe hanging out in the fridge, I topped each pizza with a handful after they cooled slightly (I like a little wilting action, not instant mush). The peppery flavor is a fantastic addition to the pies, and there’s no need to dress the greens with any oil or the like (I did for my first, the one pictured, but there is plenty of oiliness from the melted cheese that any extra is overkill). Its power to boost the aesthetic of the dish is also much appreciated.

While all of that bready, cheesy, meaty goodness is great, I’m even more thrilled to report that it’s possible to fully assemble and freeze the unbaked pizzas for later enjoyment. I find the texture to be slightly less crisp, but by no means is it soggy — it only takes a couple minutes of extra oven time to bake, everything else remains the same. Surely I’m not alone in loving to have homemade, frozen meals (or late-night snacks) at the ready. What better way to celebrate National Frozen Foods Day, right? (Disclosure: It was only after I already had this post drafted that I took a peek at my Twitter feed and was alerted to today’s holiday — purely an odd coincidence.)

tarte gratinée

Tarte Gratinée

Preparation Time: 2 1/2 hours, mostly inactive

Baking Time: 5 – 7 minutes each

Serves: 2 – 3


  • 1/2 recipe gluten-free pizza dough (click here for the recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons (14 grams) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) halved (through core) and very thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon each Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 – 4 ounces (85 – 113 grams) cave-aged Gruyère (12 months+), finely grated
  • 3 – 4 ounces (85 – 113 grams) young Gruyère (120 days+), finely grated
  • 8 thin slices (about 4 ounces or 113 grams) prosciutto, torn into smaller pieces
  • Arugula (a few handfuls, optional)


Make Dough:

Prepare dough according to directions. While dough is rising, caramelize onions. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet (10 inch diameter or more) over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted and pan is warm, add onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 – 45 minutes, stirring every 10 until lightly caramelized and softened. Remove from pan to a heatproof dish and allow to cool to room temperature.

Bake Pizzas:

About 15 minutes before the dough is ready, remove all but one rack from the oven. Place remaining rack on the lowest level, set a large, rimmed baking sheet upside down on top of it, and preheat to 500°F.

Punch down dough and divide into 4 pieces (about 3.5 ounces each); cover with a barely damp cloth to keep moist. Roll one ball of dough out on a clean, millet flour coated surface into a very thin, about 1/8″ thick, circle. Transfer dough to a sheet of aluminum foil. Top with 1/8 of the cheeses (3/4 – 1 ounce total), 1/4 of the onions, 2 torn slices prosciutto (it may look like a lot, but it shrinks as it cooks), and finish by topping with another 1/8 of the cheese (3/4 – 1 ounce) and a grind of freshly ground black pepper (optional).

Place pizza, aluminum foil and all, onto the hot baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown (this is a variation of a tarte flambée, so if it happens that the pizzas get a little charred in spots that only adds to the authenticity ). Remove pizza from oven and set aside to cool. Cut into slices and top with arugula, if desired; serve immediately. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.

FOR FREEZER PIZZAS: Place dough disk on aluminum foil sheet, top as directed and wrap tightly with another sheet of foil (crimp top and bottom edges together). Store in the freezer, topping side up (preferably in a freezer bag) until ready to use. Bake from frozen, as directed above, increasing baking time from 5 minutes to 7 – 10 minutes.

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  • Reply
    March 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I can only imagine now delicious it smelled out of the oven.

  • Reply
    heather sage
    March 7, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Oh yeah, I happily stand in its vicinity while it cools — the onion caramelization time is pretty awesome, too :). Basically an hour of hunger-inducing aromas between the two!

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