Friday, December 25, 2009


serves 4 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer

For the crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow or white cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into 4 chunks
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
8 slices (about 1/2 pound) thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds (about 4 large) onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

Milk for brushing the crust

Make the crust: Cut the butter into small cubes and freeze for at least 15 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the cream cheese and process for about 20 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until no butter is larger than the size of a pea. Add the ice water and process for about 30 seconds, or until a pinch of the dough holds together. If it doesn’t, add more water, a teaspoon at a time. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead just until it holds together in one piece. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. (If you chill it much longer, give it time to warm up a little before rolling it out.)

Make the filling: While the dough is chilling, cook the bacon in a saute pan or skillet until it is about halfway cooked. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Put the pan with the remaining bacon fat back over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the sliced onions and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions slowly, stirring occasionally, until they are deep golden brown and caramelized, 35 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the second-lowest position. On a nonstick baking mat or piece of parchment paper, roll the chilled dough into a rough circle about 1/8 inch thick and 14 to 16 inches in diameter. (The edges do not have to be smooth and neat.) Lift the baking mat with the crust onto a cookie sheet. Spread the caramelized onions over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Coarsely chop the bacon and sprinkle it evenly over the onions, followed by the thyme leaves, and finally the goat cheese. Fold the edges of the crust in over the filling, pleating the edges as necessary. Brush the crust with milk. Bake the tart for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Cooking with Shelburne Farms by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli. Viking Studio, 2007

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