I woke up this morning to the sounds of silence. There were some birds chirping loud enough that I thought they might be doing something more than singing. My dog was beating to go outside with an urgent “Thwack! Thwack!” on the patio door. But otherwise, my house was silent. No crying baby. No “Mommy, I need juice.” Just silence.
My husband had been kind enough to let me have a weekend with some girlfriends and I was hosting. It was a wonderful weekend. Girlfriend therapy is the best therapy that money can buy because not only do you get to get your nails done, shop, and eat out, but you get solace as you discover your girlfriends experience the same challenges and stress in their own lives. So as I climbed out of bed to let the dog do his business, I started thinking about what to feed my sisters on this beautiful morning before we returned to our daily routines. In my house (I have said this many times before) Food Is Love. It comes with thought, consideration, and quantity.
I wanted something special to send them off and I think I succeeded after adjusting this Epicurious recipe for a bacon and onion tart. There was only a half cup of heavy whipping cream on hand. I also only had half of a sweet onion. However, I also had a new 11″ tart pan I had never used, some refrigerated pie dough, and ;” target=”_blank”>new pie weights that I had never used. Plus, I had one ingredient that I was certain was going to rock this dish into pure goodness. There was still 3 oz of caramelized onion cheddar cheese left over from the cheese plate I had created on Friday night. Side note, visit a cheese specialty shop whether in your grocer or around town. Or go online, it is worth it to have really good cheese at any get-together. I also highly recommend the rosemary crusted semi soft goat cheese we had. Garnished with a fresh rosemary sprig, it was the star of the platter on Friday night!
Back to the tart. The recipe as I made it is below. If you can’t find the specially made caramelized onion cheddar, I’m sure a good cheddar would still do well and Epicurious used gruyere. I also added a splash of white wine to the onions. For this reason, I keep a small box with a screw cap of decent white wine in my fridge. I drink red wine usually, but I do love to cook with white wine and I have found this to be the best way to keep it around without it going bad.
The girls loved it! We let it cool a bit before cutting into it, but the pie shape remained after cutting. The crumbly crust melts in your mouth while the onions suprise your tongue. The salty, crunchy bacon compliments the creamy middle and it all happens with each bite. Seconds were had before we cleaned up and said good bye. It was a little kiss from me as they journeyed home, until next time my friends!
Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tart
- 1 refrigerated pie crust
- 2 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
- splash of white wine
- 6 pieces bacon
- 3 oz of shredded caramelized onion cheddar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and put a rack on top. (I use a cookie cooling rack made of aluminum so it works in the oven with no plastic coating.) Lay the bacon on the rack and put the oven for about 10-15 mins until your reach crispness. (The fat drips off and you throw it away after cooling – SO much easier than frying!)
Meanwhile, spray an 11″ tart pan with cooking spray and lay the pie crust over it. Gently press it in until the bottom and sides are covered. Prick holes in the bottom with a fork. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over the top and pour in the pie weights. This will keep the bottom from rising and leave you with a firm crust. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until the crust is brown, firm and is pulling away from the edge.
In a saute pan on medium heat, add the butter and melt. Add in the onions and saute until yellow. Add the splash of white wine and stir until it stops sizzling. Stir in the sugar and let them really caramelize until they are almost brown. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the cream, eggs, and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper. Chop the cooked bacon.
After the pie crust is done, pull it out and let it cool just a bit. Remove the pie weights (be careful, they are hot and they will roll everywhere!). Now start layering the tart. First goes the onion. Next, add the chopped bacon. Now add the cheese. Finally, pour in the cream mixture. It should just set level with the top of the crust. Bake for about 20 minutes until firm. The bacon made mine look a little burned because it floated to the top, but I assure you it wasn’t. It just seems to darken a lot.