Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal -- janessweets.blogspot.com -- April 2011
Vidalia Onion Tart with Smoked Bacon
(This recipe is adapted from Nick Malgieri’s book, The Modern Baker; DK Publishing, 2008, New York. See pages 140 [Swiss Onion Tart] and page 128 [Rich Pie Dough].)
Yield: Six to eight individual small tarts, or one large 10" - 12" tart.
Ingredients for the tart dough:
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached.)
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt.)
1 tsp. baking powder
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
To make the tart dough:
In the large bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add into that the butter chunks, and pulse about 20 times until finely mixed.
Add in the egg and the egg yolk; pulse just until the dough begins to form into a ball. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, gather it together, and shape it into a round disk about 1/2" in thickness. Cover the disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for one hour before rolling out.
Ingredients for the filling:
6 or 7 strips of thick cut smoked bacon, cooked until crisp (Make enough to equal 1/2 cup when fully cooked, well drained, and diced. Leave a very small amount of the bacon fat in the pan you used to cook the bacon; you'll use the same pan to cook the onions.)
3 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
1 and 1/2 lbs. Vidalia onions, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/4" thick
Salt (I used sea salt.)
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used unbleached.)
1/2 cup milk (I used 2 percent.)
1/2 heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper
Fresh ground nutmeg
3 eggs, large
In the same pan that you used to make the bacon, melt the butter on medium heat. Add in all of the onions and generously salt them. When they begin to sizzle, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring now and then; you want the onions to exude most of their water. Remove the lid, and continue to let the onions cook slowly for about 20 more minutes. They should be golden and quite reduced. When they're done, set them aside in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it, pie style, into as many pieces as you'll need (eight equal sections for eight small tart pans, etc.), shaping each piece into a small disk. On a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough out one at a time into a circle a little larger than your tart pan. Gently press the rolled piece down into the pan without stretching the dough. Run the rolling pin right over the top, using it to give a clean edge by cutting off the overhanging dough. Do this for all of your tarts. Put the tart shells in their pans onto a baking sheet.
In a large mixing bowl, place the 1 Tbsp. flour. Pouring slowly, whisk in the milk first, and then the cream. Stir in all of the onions, excluding any extra drippings from the pan. Add salt, pepper, and a scant pinch of nutmeg to taste. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl with a fork, then add them in as well. Stir well to completely combine.
Portion the filling into each tart shell evenly (I used a small ladle to do this), making sure to put some onions into each one. Sprinkle bacon over the top of each tart. Bake the tarts, on the baking sheet, for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden all over.
Let the tarts cool slightly before removing them carefully from their pans. Leftover tarts can be refrigerated or frozen.