Onion and Bacon Tart

January 26th, 2016

Onion and Bacon Tart 5

I dare anyone to tell me that they wouldn’t love to eat a combination of buttery flaky pastry with caramelized onions and crispy bacon.  The current contest on the FOOD52 website is to present your favorite appetizer to share with friends.  This is not my recipe.  It belongs to Cathy of the blog Bread-and-Milk.   I didn’t enter the contest, but I did decide to be a recipe tester.  I guess you can figure out why I chose the Onion and Bacon Tart to test. My middle name should be “Tart”, but not in the pejorative sense.  Whether sweet or savory, some of my favorite eats have been tarts.

Onion and Bacon Tart 1When I first read the recipe for this tart, I thought there was way too much filling for the size of the tart pan.  But after the onions were caramelized to a deep golden brown, they had melted to just the right amount.  There is a small amount of egg and cream to bind everything together so that the filling is lusciously rich.  I do need to mention the pastry also.  It has more butter in it than what I would normally use.  But the finished pastry is very sturdy.  That is just the results that work for this appetizer.  You can pick up a small slice and eat it out of hand.

Onion and Bacon Tart 3The slice shown on the plate could easily be divided into two pieces and served on a platter to be passed around.  It would be a neat two bite appetizer.  But I was not hosting a cocktail party, so David and I enjoyed this savory tart with a green salad for dinner.  I love testing other people’s recipes.  It forces me to follow a recipe as written and suspend judgement.  In this case, Cathy knew exactly what she was preparing and I was happy to follow her lead.  Go on over to Food52 to see all of the wonderful appetizer recipes.

ONION AND BACON TART

Dough

  • cups All purpose flour
  • teaspoon Salt
  • cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Ice water

Onion Filling

  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • tablespoons Butter infused olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Thick cut Bacon, diced
  • 1/2cup Heavy cream
  • Egg
  • tablespoon Thyme
  • teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1. Prepare dough, combine flour salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until small balls form then add water until dough comes together. Roll into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Prepare Filling, heat olive oil in a nonstick and gently sauté onions until translucent and caramelized. Next sauté bacon, until crisp. Combine onions, bacon, cream, egg and thyme rosemary and garlic powder.
    3. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Roll out dough, 1/8 inch thick and press into a 4 X 13 rectangular tart tin. Dock the dough with a fork. Spoon in the onion mixture and top with salt and pepper bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Thanksgiving Tried and True Side Dishes

November 16th, 2015

Sugar-Spiced-Nuts-2

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to share a few dishes that have been on my table and on my blog in the past years.  These are recipes that have worked well for me and I am sure they will add a special punch to your usual menu.  Notice that I am not including a recipe for turkey.  I would not presume to tell you how to cook your turkey.  Everyone has their personal idea of the best way to do that.  Let’s start with appetizers.  Because there is a huge meal waiting in the kitchen, appetizers should be light.  These Candied Spiced Almonds require a little attention upfront, but can be made way in advance.

Chipoltle-Cheddar-Wafers-1

I always love homemade savory shortbread crackers and the addition of dried cranberries to these appetizer rounds make them perfect for the holidays.  The recipe for these Chipotle Cheddar Cranberry Nut Wafers can be found here.

Sweet-Potato-Soup-1

If you prefer your sweet potatoes as a first course, this Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is sure to be a hit. It is easy too.  The sweet potatoes are cooked in the microwave and the mixture comes together smoothly with an immersion blender, although you could puree it in a blender or food processor.

Leek-Bread-Pudding-1

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding makes a great dressing if you do not stuff your bird.  It is an Ina Garten recipe and you can make it ahead of time.  Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta or you can leave it out all together if you have vegetarians at the table.

Cranberry-Lime ChutneyThis Cranberry-Lime Chutney is definitely a new take on cranberry sauce.  It is a combination of fresh cranberries, lime, apples, onion, raisins, pecans, and lots of spices.  It is best made ahead of time.

Green-Beans-Gremolata-3

Instead of a green bean casserole, try these Green Beans Gremolata.  This dish is best made with the thin French Haricot Vert.  They have been readily available in several supermarkets that I visit.  They are usually found in a cellophane bag. The beans are cooked quickly and then tossed in a mixture of garlic, parsley, parmesan and pine nuts.

Acorn-Squash-4

This Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Apple and Sage could almost be a meal on its own.  But it would certainly look pretty on the Thanksgiving table.

Apple-Bundt-Cake-11

Instead of an apple pie you could make an Apple Bundt Cake.  This spice cake with a caramel frosting is a snap to make and there is a good tip on how to turn your cake out of the bundt pan easily.

Pumpkin-Dump-Cake-1

If you are in a hurry you could make this Pumpkin Dump Cake.  For a while this cake was on my DIL’s family Thanksgiving table every year.  I first made it for Kristen for her birthday and she loved it so much that she shared it with her family.  They adopted it for Thanksgiving.

Apple Crostada 2

Instead of that apple pie you could make this free form Apple Crostata.  This is one of my favorite desserts.

Enjoy the preparations and fun of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

January 13th, 2015

Lemon Chiffon Pie 1

One of the things to love about Winter is that it is citrus season.  Oranges, lemons, tangerines and blood oranges brighten the produce aisles of the supermarkets.  I usually have an orange for breakfast.  But for a bit more decadent way to enjoy citrus try this smooth chiffon pie with a bite from the gingersnap crust.  It brightens even the most gloomy of days.

We are beginning a kitchen project this week.  We have been slowly updating what we found when we bought the house in Florida.  We updated the appliances a few years ago and added new countertops.  The previous countertops were the same faux wood as our cabinets.  Not pretty.  We chose Corian.  We have granite in Lake Lure, but Corian seemed the right choice for Florida.  Our current project is to reface all of our kitchen cabinets, replacing the doors and adding a few pull out shelves.  Here is how the kitchen looks now.

Florida Kitchen 1

The new cabinets will be off white, creamier than what you see here.  The style is Shaker with a beadboard insert.  The installers will be here Thursday and Friday and should be able to finish the job in just those two days.

Florida Kitchen 5

 

The cabinet over the dishwasher will have glass doors.  I am anxious to see the results.  I will give you an update when it is all put back together again.  In the meantime, I will be making a pot of soup before the work begins.  I was told that we could still use the kitchen and it made sense to have soup in the fridge to reheat for dinner each night.

Lemon Chiffon Pie 2

I will also have this tart lemony pie with a hint of orange zest to dig into.  I plan to add this to my list of Florida desserts.  I usually make key lime pie for guests, but this lemon chiffon pie is a good alternative.  By the way, the background for my pie is a Downton Abbey wrapping paper available at World Market.  I was immediately attracted to it before I even knew its provenance. This year’s episodes of Downton Abbey are riveting.  What will happen to Mr. Bates?  Will Lady Mary find happiness?

LEMON CHIFFON GINGERSNAP PIE (Williams Sonoma)

1 1/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar divided
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Pat the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan or dish.  Bake until the crust is firm, 5-7 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin.  Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest, and egg yolks; the mixture will be lumpy.  Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes.  Do not allow the mixture to boil.  Set the saucepan in an ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until thick, soft peaks form.  Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Pour into the prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the pie until chilled and firm, 3-4 hours.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

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Deep Dish Apple Pie

September 11th, 2014

Apple Pie 1

 

We have been busy with friends recently.  Our Michigan and Nantucket friends were here for a visit.  We had a wonderful time with them.  One of our Michigan friends is a fruit farmer and he has acres of apple orchards.  So it made sense to me that I had to make an apple pie.  David said “You are probably going out on a limb here because Jim is probably a connoisseur of apple pies”.  Since I love to live on the edge, I decided to make Ina Garten’s deep dish apple pie because you can’t go wrong with her recipes.

Apple Pie 3

 

The pastry recipe was very easy to work with.  It had a combination of butter and shortening in it and rolled out like a breeze.  The apple filling was good, but Jim did notice the lemon flavor added to the apples.  I think it was too much and took away from the cinnamon flavor.

Chicken Dinner 1

 

Another meal that we had was rotisserie chicken on the grill with potatoes, onions and carrots roasted underneath them.  I got the recipe from the other Penny at The Comforts of Home.  It was a challenge to get three whole chickens on the spit, but David managed it and they turned out very well; moist and crispy.  I served them with French green beans, croissants and salad.  Very French.

Chicken Dinner 2

 

Moses, our Nantucket friend, even cooked the necks and gizzards to be nibbled as an appetizer.

Chicken dinner 4

 

I think David was really enjoying the neck meat.  Every picture that I took showed him gnawing away.  My kitchen looked messy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Smiling faces, good friends, good wine and good food all conspired to make for a memorable get together.

DEEP DISH APPLE PIE (The Barefoot Contessa)

4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I will omit this next time)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice (I may omit this next time)
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Perfect Pie Crust, recipe follows
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg washPreheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9- or 10-inch pie pan to extend about 1/2-inch over the rim. Don’t stretch the dough; if it’s too small, just put it back on the board and re-roll it.

Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and trim the edges to about 1-inch over the rim. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the 2 together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Serve warm.

PERFECT PIE CRUST

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts

Printable Recipe

 

Cherry-Almond Tart

July 26th, 2014

Cherry-Almond Tart 1

 

I have long heard that cherries and almonds have a natural affinity.  One of the reasons the French leave the pits in their cherries when they make clafoutis is because the cherry pits give the dish an almond-like taste.  As much as I like clafoutis, that pancake like batter, that surrounds fresh cherries, I like this cherry-almond tart even better.  The recipe came from Patricia Well’s book At Home in Provence.

Cherry-Almond Tart 2V The pastry is easy to prepare.  It has a cookie dough consistency and is just patted into the pan; no rolling required.  One of the ingredients used in this tart is finely ground blanched almonds.  I had a bag of almond flour in my freezer, which is basically the same thing.  You can find almond flour at most speciality stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and some supermarkets.  The ground almonds are used in the pastry and in the filling.  The only change I made to the recipe was in the filling.  The filling calls for 1/2 teaspoon almond extract along with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  I find that almond extract is too strong, so I used 1 teaspoon vanilla and then instead of the 1 Tablespoon of kirsch (cherry liqueur), I used Disaronno; a bitter almond liqueur.

Cherry-Almond Tart 3 better

 

Oh my, this is now my new favorite dessert.  It is well worth the time it takes to pit the cherries.  The combination of the sweet cherries and the almond infused filling and crust is perfection.  Cherries and almonds are natural partners indeed.  I can hardly wait to make this again.  It is already gone.

CHERRY-ALMOND TART ( Adapted from Patricia Wells )

One 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom

The Pastry:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for preparing the tart pan
1/2 cup sugar
A pinch of fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely ground blanched almonds (almond flour)
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

The Filling:
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon finely ground blanched almonds (almond flour)
1 tablespoon Disaronno, Amaretto or Kirsch

4 tablespoons finely ground blanched almonds (almond flour)
1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the bottom and sides of the tart pan.  Set aside

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and almond flour.  Stir with a spoon to blend.  Gradually incorporate enough flour to form a smooth soft dough. ( The dough should resemble soft cookie dough.)  Place the dough in the center of the buttered pan.  With the tips of your fingers, press the pastry evenly on the bottom and sides of the pan.  The dough will be quite thin. You do not need to weight or prick the shell.

Place the lined tart pan in the center of the oven and bake until the dough is just slightly puffy and turns a very pale brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Do not turn off the oven.

Meanwhile, make the filling:  In a small bowl, combine the cream, egg, and vanilla extract and whisk to blend.  Stir in the sugar, flour, ground almonds, and the Disaronno.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ground almonds on top of the prebaked pastry shell. (They will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.)

Arrange the cherries in a single layer in the pastry shell.  Pour the filling over the cherries.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of ground almonds.  Place in the center of the oven and bake until the filling is firm and the pastry is a deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.  Remove to a rack to cool.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.  8 servings.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.