I finally got myself a proper rolling pin, oh joy! Gone are my days of looking for an empty wine bottle or hoping there’s no more cling wrap left so I could use the cardboard thingie in the center. A real rolling pin! Naturally, I had to make something that involved dough so I decided on this recipe that I stumbled upon while browsing online.
I started with making the pie crust using:
2 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
1 cup butter
1 T sugar
1 t salt
3/4 cup cold water (separate 1/4 cup)
1. I first made this pie crust to make chicken pot pie and it’s an absolute keeper. The key seems to be keeping the butter and water very cold so cube the butter and pop it in the freezer for a bit and put ice cubes in the 1/4 cup of water. Once those are good to go, the flour, sugar and salt can be whisked in a medium bowl.
Oh yeah, I used whole wheat for half the required flour. Not sure if it makes a world of difference.
2. Once the butter is thoroughly chilled, add it to the bowl and break up the butter cubes with a pastry cutter. You can do this in a stand mixer, of course. The idea is to break up the butter into somewhat uniform clusters roughly the size of peas.
3. Add in half a cup of cold water and mix with a spatula. See how the dough comes together. You can use the remaining 1/4 cup of water in ice to adjust your dough. Add in water a tablespoon at a time (1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons) making sure not to include ice cubes. When done, use your hands to form a mound.
Halve this dough, flatten and cover with cling wrap so you end up with discs. You’ll only need one disc for this recipe so you can keep one in the fridge to rest for an hour and keep the other in the freezer for future use.
While I rested my dough, I got started on my toppings for which you’ll need:
4 strips bacon (But come on, why stop at 4?)
4 medium onions, chopped
a pinch salt
1/2 t dried thyme
A splash balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 cup ricotta
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Place bacon strips in a medium pan on medium-high heat. Get the bacon started in a cold pan. When the bacon strips are browned, drain on paper towels and leave to cool. In hindsight, don’t brown the bacon too much – it will brown some more in the oven later. And no, I didn’t stop at 4 strips. I cooked the entire pack. *evil grin*
2. Leave about a tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat in the pan and add in chopped onions. Onions caramelized in bacon fat, oooohhh yeeeaaahhh. I used a mix of white and red onions. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, add in thyme and cook until very wilted and deep golden brown in color. When caramelizing onions, it’s essential that it’s only stirred once in a while so it gets a chance to brown.
It should look a little something like this when done. I like to deglaze the pan with some red wine or balsamic vinegar to finish but it’s not necessary.
3. While the onions were caramelizing, I prepared the ricotta filling by mixing it with egg yolk, parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. Ricotta isn’t the easiest thing to find. Rustan’s has a nice selection of cheeses in the dairy section, even a nice goat’s milk ricotta. There’s also Santi’s, of course.
And so with that, our prep is over and we can start assembling our tart. Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F. Retrieve the disc of dough that’s been resting in the fridge and roll out. It’s comforting not to be afraid of flour. Remember that excess flour can always be tapped off.
Once rolled out, I transferred it to my tart pan. I pressed down and around it and tore off the excess.
I poked the bottom with a fork and popped this in the oven to blind bake for about 10 minutes which, turns out, isn’t enough time. I should’ve just baked it all the way until it was golden brown.
I built my tart anyway with the ricotta filling, caramelized onions and crisped bacon.
Bake for 30-40 minutes and tada!
It’s impossible to go wrong with the Trifecta Of Deliciousness that is cheese, bacon and caramelized onions. Put it all in a homemade pie crust and you get savory tart gold. And then. The icing on the cake, the cherry on the sundae, the sprinkles on the donut… Truffle honey. I’m all about the truffle honey. If I hadn’t crisped the bacon too much and had blind baked the crust a little longer, this tart would have been damn near perfect.
On a side note, I had some leftover caramelized onions and I decided to throw it together with some oatmeal and a grating of cheese. I kid you not, it’s almost like risotto. It took all of 10 minutes. I’ll settle for almost-risotto.
Fun Food Fact: How about a bacon-inspired pick up line today?
“Hey, do you like bacon? Wanna strip?”