Girls’ Night in 5 is a monthly “how-to” series containing Girls’ Night friendly recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients and no more than 5 minutes of active prep!  This series is part of my mission to simplify entertaining to encourage readers to invest in their community through hosting and loving people well.

I soooo appreciate all the great feedback on the first Girls’ Night in 5 posts last month!  Loved reading your comments and messages!  I am a big fan of making gathering my girl people together a habit!  And it sounds like its something that resonates with quite a few of you, too!  The longer I am out of college and see all of the exciting directions life can take you, the more proud I am of my girl friends for all of the awesome things they are doing!  But on a practical level, we all have to work a lot harder to maintain our friendships!  The internet, texting, and social media are game changers when life takes people geographically away.  No wonder my parents fell out of touch with friends who relocated.  Keeping in touch without technology is serious work!

My best friend has lived in another state for all of our adult lives.  She’s  not a friend, she’s family.  I’m not even sure her kids realize I’m not actually their aunt.  When someone is your “person” through thick and thin, investing in the friendship is worth it. Our perpetually running text chains, inside jokes, and shared frustrations are basically a lifeline at times.  But, she is just one person.  It would be impossible to communicate even one tenth of the amount with all of my non-local friends!  Again, the internet is great.  Instagram, you are my favorite.  But a curated depiction of our life isn’t REAL life.

So it makes me appreciate my people who are currently right here in my life and city!  I need to invest in those friendships.  Sometimes life is busy and its easy to prioritize other things.  Then one day, I realize that a certain friend has all but disappeared from my life because I got busy/she got busy and we just didn’t make time.  So, for me, girls night-in is a low-key, easy way to hold one another accountable and see more than one friend at once, if you so choose!

I admit to gravitating towards sweet treats for girls’ night-in… mostly because we don’t usually meet until the post-dinner hours.  So my mind goes to some sort of dessert.  But, there are no rules on girls’ night! And, never have I ever seen my friends turn down anything with the words gruyere and caramelized onion in the title.

In keeping with the girls’ night in 5 “rules”, I made this tart with 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of active prep.  My five ingredients were:

  • puff pastry
  • onion
  • fresh thyme
  • butter
  • gruyere cheese


The end result was delicious and embarrassingly easy to make.  You see, we devoured it.  Like DEVOURED.  Usually we nibble a bit here and there… but this was most definitely not a nibble.

Wine Pairing suggestion: If you want to go red, a delicately flavored light red like a pinot noir is a good choice here. Or a bright and fruity reisling will highlight the nuttiness of the gruyere and complement the sugars that are released through caramelizing the onions.  Rieslings also pair well with fresh thyme.  So for any friends who offer, tell them to pick up a riesling or a pinot noir!

Girls’ Night in 5: Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Tart

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 15 pieces

Serving Size: 3 pieces

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 lb. gruyere cheese, grated and rind removed
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus 1 tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a frying pan over medium high heat, melt butter and add thyme sprigs, sliced onions, and a generous pinch of salt. Give it a stir with a wooden spoon and cover pan with lid to allow onions to soften more quickly.

While onions cook, grate cheese and use a rolling pin to roll out puff pastry so that it measures about 16x10". Remove lid from onions, stir, add another pinch of salt, and allow any liquid to cook off. Reduce temperature to medium if onions are browning too quickly.

While onions cook for final minute, transfer rolled out puff pastry to baking sheet and prick all over with fork. Now, remove onions from heat source and discard the thyme sprigs. Season onions with pepper and additional salt if desired. Distribute onions over the top of the puff pastry as you would pizza toppings. Then sprinkle cheese over the tops of the onions. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until puff pastry is golden brown.

Remove tart from the oven and sprinkle with reserved thyme leaves. Slice and serve while still warm.