by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: Michel Richard
Well, this has the appearance more like a pizza than a tart - at least in my mind. When I think of a tart, I conjure up images of dough that has been pressed into a tart pan, and after baking, it comes out with beautiful ruffled edges.
OK. So looks aren't everything.
Taste. This does have taste going for it. It was quite delicious.
This was very easy to make. You start with preparing the base (I did this while my onions were cooking) by rolling out puff pastry dough (yes - puff pastry - no tart or pizza dough here) until it is very thin, about an eighth of an inch, but no more than a quarter of an inch, and using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into a circle (I'm sure any shape you choose would work), about twelve inches in diameter.
The dough is pricked all over with a fork, this will keep the puff pastry from, well, puffing... it's all about the flavor. The dough is then refrigerated until you are ready to top it with the onion mixture.
The onion mixture is made from four very large onions that have been diced. I only used three, and was in a hurry, so I sliced the onions instead of dicing, and had more than enough. The onions are cooked in chicken broth until very soft, and then cooled, at which time you add a few tablespoons of heavy cream (I used half and half) and salt and pepper.
The recipe calls for slab bacon to be diced and par-boiled. The store I went to does not have slab bacon, so I purchased thick-cut bacon slices - which worked just fine. I skipped the par-boiling of the bacon, and cooked it up normally (undercooked it a bit), then diced it.
The tart was now ready for assembly! The pastry is first topped with the onion mixture, then the bacon is scattered over the top and pressed into the onions a bit, to help keep them from burning too much while baking. I had some diced jalapeño left over from the chili I made the night before, so I tossed those on as well - a good call if I do say so myself - it provided a nice spicy kick that I love. The tart is baked in a three-hundred and fifty degree oven until golden brown.
This was delicious, and would make for a lovely appetizer; though it can't really be made ahead of time for the bottom crust gets a bit soggy after sitting. It is easy enough to throw together at the last minute if you make the onions, cook the bacon, and prep the dough ahead of time - then assemble and toss it in the oven just before serving.
I was thinking a rectangular shaped tart would be pretty...
Don't forget to check out the results of my fellow bakers also! You will find their links by clicking here, or by going to the Tuesdays with Dorie website and looking for the BWJ LYL: Alsatian Onion Tart link.
Alsatian Onion Tart
About ½ pound puff pastry scraps, chilled
4 very large onions, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ pound slab bacon
Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface until it is very thin, 1/8 to ¼-inch thick. Using the lid of a pot as a guide, cut the pastry with a very sharp knife into a circle 10 to 12 inches across. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to an ungreased baking sheet and prick the dough all over with a fork. This will keep the pastry from puffing. Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Place the diced onions and the chicken broth in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, discarding any liquid, and let the onions cool. When cooled, stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the rind from the bacon and cut the bacon into ¼-inch cubes. Drop the cubes into a large pot of boiling water and boil for 1 minute, just to blanch them. Drain and rinse under cold water, then pat dry with paper towels.
Heat a medium skillet over moderately high heat, toss in the bacon pieces, and cook, stirring, for just a minute or two – you don’t want to overcook these, or they’ll turn tough; season with pepper. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain well on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Remove the pastry from t he refrigerator and top with the cooled onions, spreading the onions all the way to the edge of the pastry. Scatter the bacon pieces over the onion, pushing them down into the onions just a little, to prevent them from burning.
Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Both the pastry and the topping can be made ahead, but the tart is at its best just baked.
Baking with Julia/Dorie Greenspan/Michel Richard