Similar to a quiche, this French Onion and Bacon Tart delivers incredible onion flavor that is accented with crispy bacon. I saw the recipe for this in the Cooks Illustrated All-Time Best French Recipes magazine that Susan gave me for Mother’s Day.
When the Master Taste Tester suggested quiche for dinner, I asked whether this tart would work instead. Since he’s a fan of onion dishes, the Master Taste Tester quickly agreed. As it turned out, it was an excellent choice.
Ingredients for French Onion and Bacon Tart:
I used the following ingredients for the tart dough: All purpose flour, sugar, salt, unsalted butter and ice water. For the filling, I used bacon, onions, salt, fresh thyme, eggs, half-and-half, and freshly ground black pepper.
Making the Tart Dough:
I added the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor, and pulsed it about 4 times to combine everything. Then, I scattered chilled butter that I had cut into small cubes over the top, and pulsed it until the mixture resembled coarse sand, about 15 times.
Next, I added the ice water, and processed the mixture until clumps started to form. This took about 5 seconds.
Rather than rolling out the dough, I tore it into small pieces and sprinkled it into the tart pan. I pressed the dough firmly into the corners of the pan, and pressed it up the sides of the tart pan into the fluted ridges. As a finishing step, I laid a piece of plastic wrap over the dough, and finished smoothing it out.
Once the tart shell was formed, I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Before baking it, I sprayed a piece of extra-wide heavy aluminum foil with vegetable oil spray, and gently pressed it against the dough, covering the edges to prevent over browning. I filled the tart shell all the way to the top with dried beans to prevent the sides from shrinking down. Then, I baked it in a preheated 375° F oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, I carefully removed the foil and beans, and continued baking the shell until it was golden brown. This took another 10 minutes. I placed the baked tart shell on a wire cooling rack, and noticed that several cracks formed in it as it was cooling. To seal the cracks, I brushed it with egg white. The last thing that I wanted was for the custard to seep out during baking. The seal worked perfectly!
Making the Filling:
I started by cooking the bacon over medium heat until it was crispy. Because some of the bacon fat was needed for cooking the onions, I drained the bacon in a wire strainer set over a bowl to catch the grease.
I returned 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat to the skillet, and added the onions, salt, and thyme sprig. Next, I covered the pan and cooked the onions over medium heat until they started to release liquid and wilt. This took about 10 minutes. Then, I reduced the heat to low, and continued to cook the onions for another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, there was still a fair amount of liquid in the pan, so I removed the lid and continued cooking until the onions until the liquid had evaporated. This took another 5 minutes or so. I removed the pan from the heat, removed the thyme sprig, and let the onions cool for about 5 minutes.
Next, I whisked the eggs, half-and-half, and pepper together, and stirred the onions in just until they were incorporated. I spread the onion mixture over the tart shell, and sprinkled the bacon evenly over the top. Just in case it leaked, I placed the tart on a foil lined baking sheet. I baked the tart in a preheated 375° F oven for 25 minutes until the center felt firm to the touch.
After 25 minutes, the tart was perfectly set. I transferred it to a wire rack and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Then, I removed the outer metal ring of the tart pan, slid a metal spatula between the tart and the pan bottom, and carefully slid the tart onto a cutting board. I cut the tart into wedges, and served it with a Caesar Salad. The crust was buttery, and the filling absolutely delicious. Yum!