Black Pepper Brisée:
225 grams eggs
1 gram lemon zest
1 gram finely ground black pepper
600 grams pastry flour
15 grams salt
30 grams sucrose
400 grams cultured 82% butter, cut in 1cm-cubes, cold
1 kilogram sweet onions
150 grams cultured 82% butter
4 grams finely minced lavender leaves
50 grams aged balsamic vinegar
35 grams Arbequina olive oil
To Assemble and Serve:
Whole wheel of Bellwether Farm Carmody Reserve
Coarse sel gris
Small wild arugula leaves
For the Black Pepper Brisée:
Preheat the oven to 195ºC. With an immersion blender, emulsify the eggs, lemon zest, and black pepper. In the food processor, combine the pastry flour, salt, and sucrose and process for a few seconds until well mixed. Add half of the chilled butter to the flour and pulse until the butter disappears. Add the remaining butter and pulse until ½ cm pieces are formed. Turn out the flour mixture into a bowl, and pour over the egg mixture evenly. With a spatula, fold the flour and liquid together until the dough is uniformly moistened, then press it together manually until it just holds together.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and square the sides. Roll into a rectangle approximately 20 cm-by-40 cm. Brush away any excess flour from the top surface, and then letter fold the dough: starting on one side, fold 1/3 of the dough over itself lengthwise, then fold the remaining third over the first. Turn 90 degrees and roll into a rectangle approximately 1 cm thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest the dough in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
Return the dough to a floured surface and cut into quarters and roll each about 20 cm-by-40 cm-by-3 mm thick. Dock the dough, rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours, and then freeze. Cut rectangles approximately 10 cm-by-4 cm and place docked-side up on a parchment-lined baking pan. Freeze the pan with the dough for at least 30 minutes. Bake the tart shells from frozen, about 12 minutes or until the exterior is browned and the interior is mostly dry and crisp. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.
For the Lavender-Onion Jam:
Peel the onions, then cut them in half from stem to root. Slice the stem end from each half, then slice radially into 5 mm slices. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the sliced onions and a heavy pinch of salt. Bring the butter to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a parchment lid. Simmer the onions in butter, stirring often until they begin to turn translucent. Add the lavender and continue cooking until the water is evaporated and the onions are mostly tender, with a noticeable crunch in the center. Be careful to not let the onions or the butter take on color or soften too much. Season again with salt if necessary, then transfer to a lined sheet pan and refrigerate until cold. Pass through the meat-grinder with a 3 mm dye to obtain a course marmalade. Load into a pastry bag.
For the Vinaigrette:
Whisk together the vinegar and oil, and put in a squeeze bottle.
To Assemble and Serve:
While the cheese is warming, dress the arugula with salt, then the vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine. Pipe a small amount of onion jam onto the center of each serving plate. When the cheese is warmed through, remove from the oven, sprinkle several grains of sel gris on top, then place on top of the onion jam in the center of the plate. Scatter the arugula leaves on top and around the tart, then scatter lavender flowers generously around the plate.
Preheat the oven to 105ºC. Cut the cheese into 8 cm–by-4 cm-by 6 mm portions. Lay out the pastry shells on a Silpat-lined sheet pan. Pipe a layer of onion jam onto each pastry shell, then top each with a cheese rectangle, pressing down slightly. Warm in the oven until the cheese drapes over the edges of the tart and the core of the cheese rectangle is soft to the touch. Do not let the cheese melt completely or brown.