I’ve never made a tart before. Given it was Labor Day weekend, I wanted to create something new and a bit more challenging. Since I almost always choose to bake sweet things, I thought it would be fun to try something on the savory side. I originally wanted to make an heirloom tomato tart, but I was underwhelmed by the selection at the Farmer’s Market. I found this recipe while searching for tomato and onion tarts, so decided to change up the filling a bit, but used this recipe as a base.
Despite being a bit time consuming with the various stages of baking, the end result was quite yummy and really not as complicated as I had imagined. I think this tart would make a perfect brunch dish with a light salad on the side. I whipped up a lime vinaigrette with field greens and some shredded parmesan, and it was the perfect compliment to the richness and smokiness of the tart.
Adapted from Southern Farmers Market Cookbook by Holly Herrick
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold, unsweetened butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
- 7 slices bacon
- 4 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup dry white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons whole cream
- 1 cup of parmesan, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 12-inch tart pan (if you don’t own a tart pan, see the notes section at the end for a way to create your own!)
- Food processor
Pulse together the flour, butter, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade until the butter is about the size of small peas—about 20 pulses. Gradually, drizzle in the ice water while pulsing. The amount of water needed will vary.
Add just enough water for the dough to form a loose ball. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and quickly form the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to three days) to rest.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until the bacon is crispy and the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels to cool, chopping coarsely once cool enough to handle.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Cook over medium heat until the onions have softened, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Do not let the onions brown.
Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the wine has cooked down to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the honey and reserved chopped bacon. Stir and cook 5 minutes more.
Remove the onion mixture from the heat and spoon into a shallow pan; refrigerate to cool. When cooled, drain off any excess juices and stir in the egg and cream. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees about 20 minutes before you’re planning to bake the tart.
To assemble, roll the reserved dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Line the pan with the pastry and form even edges. I used a butter knife to cut the pastry to create an even line with the top of the pan. I used the excess dough to fill in any cracks or holes in the tart shell.
Refrigerate another 10 minutes, then line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I used rice, but you can use dried beans, etc). Bake 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove the paper and weights and bake another 20 minutes to brown the bottom. Allow to cool slightly before filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Fill the pastry crust with the onion mixture and bake until golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 minutes. Oven times will vary, as this last step took over an hour for mine to brown nicely.
To create a 12×12 pan, I used a 12×24 inch baking sheet. I followed these instructions using tin foil to create a tart pan. The final product was nearly as good as if I had an actual tart pan.
The original recipe called for half the bacon and none of the cheese I used. I decided to up the bacon quantity and add the cheese to help balance the sweetness of the tart crust and the onions. I’m sure glad I did! It was still on the sweeter side, but the smokiness of the bacon and saltiness of the cheese added a nice dimension.
To make the dough, I added 2 tablespoons more water than the original recipe called for. My dough was still crumbly, but after going back in the refrigerator, I found it easy to roll-out. Mine was just too dry with the original water recommendations. You want the dough to form a ball, but not be too wet.