Welcome back to our special segment on Full fork Ahead, where we continue to explore All the Delicious Things One Can Pile Onto Puff Pastry! In this episode, we bring you the best puff pastry pile yet. Well, it’s the best one yet to me because I’m a big onion fan, especially when we get to make use of their natural sweetness. This time that’s amplified by an incredibly tasty yet simple mixture.
The original calls for crème fraîche, but that’s a little hard to come by in my area. You can actually make it from scratch fairly easily, but I wasn’t in the mood to mess with it still. I’d read up on the reviews for this tart and one person said they used sour cream instead and since I prefer easy, that’s what we went with, too.
And you see the bacon, right? You know this is gonna be good, now.
So you’ve thawed out your pastry and it’s time to roll it out. If you’re anything like me you still haven’t mastered rolling this stuff out. How people manage to roll it out evenly is beyond me (which sounds pathetic), but we just decided we’d call this a rustic tart, on account if it being not quite rectangular. There’s your Tip ‘o Cooking Gold, kids, if you fudge it up a little, it’s not fudged – it’s rustic.
Use the tip of a fork to help make that rustic shape into more of a rectangular one and press down on the edges with it to form your tart’s edges, which will puff up like a nice pizza crust in the oven.
The original specifies caramelizing the onions in the oven for 30-45-ish minutes. It wasn’t a cool spring day down around our parts, so we decided to use my Dutch oven on the stove top instead. This takes just as long as the oven method, really, but it made my kitchen a whole lot less hot. We’ll explain our alternate method below after the original recipe’s oven instructions.
After mixing the initial layer for the tart – the crème fraîche/sour cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper – spread it evenly onto the puff pastry.
Next we have those wonderfully sinful-tasting caramelized onions. I hope you taste-test one or two of those because man. Wowzas. While caramelizing them I got a wonderful idea for another recipe, so hopefully we’ll be doing that one soon.
The recipe said to cook the bacon the traditional way, but I prefer to use my oven when given the opportunity. I know, I know, I didn’t want to for the onions, but I was afraid they’d burn in there, too. Bacon is another story. While you do have to watch it carefully so it won’t burn either, it tastes so much better to me from the oven.
Once that’s sprinkled onto the tart we’re ready to bake this bad boy!
I was surprised that the thyme went on after the baking, but sis blogging partner (I really need to start calling her by her name, eh?), I mean, Kim pointed out that it might have burned since it was just to sit atop everything. Besides, it does wilt a little thanks to the heat of the tart and it mingles just heavenly with everything.
I don’t know if I have the words to describe this tart adequately. It is, I know, divine. It’s like some exotic pizza – in fact, I can see this entire thing working just fantastically on a pizza crust, too. For now, the puff pastry is a quick, easy way to caramelized onion fulfillment. And it’s not without its finer points, too, the puff pastry that is. It is always flaky and buttery.
This may not be as quick as the asparagus tart we made a few weeks ago, but folks – and I love asparagus – I’d pick this one every time. De-to-the-lish, scout’s honor. I saved a piece each for hubby and I and on a plate full of delicious food, he finished the tart off first and dazedly asked if there had been bacon on it. I just kind of nodded my head slowly (didn’t want to disturb his post-food bliss too much), assured him there was and wasn’t it the best damn thing he’d ever tasted? He nodded back, still just a little dazed. That’s what we call success around here.
Honey-Caramelized Onion Tart
Slightly adapted from Honey-Roasted Onion Tart, Bon Appétit, February 2011
- 1 sheet sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
- 6 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 large sweet yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 375°F (if roasting the onions; if caramelizing them on stove top, see below, skip preheating oven to 375). Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 14×10-inch rectangle. Fold 1/2 inch of pastry edges in toward center on all sides, forming 13×9-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to large rimmed baking sheet. Press firmly on pastry edges with fork to form rim. Chill crust.
Cook bacon in small skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet. Whisk honey, wine, and reserved 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in large bowl. Add onions; toss to coat. Coat another large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread onion mixture in even layer on sheet. Roast 30 minutes. Turn onions over, allowing rings to separate. Roast until onions are caramelized, turning often for even browning, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven; cool onions slightly.
Alternate onion method: After tossing the onions with the honey/wine/bacon dripping mixture, pour it and the onions into a large Dutch oven preheated over medium-high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid has begun to reduce, about 8-10 minutes, drain most of it from the pan with a ladle and set aside; there should be no more than about a quarter cup of liquid left in the pot. Continue stirring the onions until the rest of the liquid evaporates, about five minutes. Lower the heat the medium low and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally to allow for even browning. This will take a little while, about thirty or so minutes, but when the onions have turned a deep golden color and are beginning to turn a more amber brown color, they’re done. Take pot off heat to allow onions to cool slightly.
Increase oven temperature to 400°F (or already have been preheating to this temp while in last fifteen minutes of stove-top method). Mix crème fraîche, sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl. Using offset spatula, spread crème fraîche over crust to folded edge. Arrange onions atop crème fraîche. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake tart until crust is light golden brown and topping is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.
The stove-top method of caramelizing the onions was a last-minute decision, so we’re glad it worked out. We’re betting the oven-roasting is wonderful, too, though, so it’s up to you which method to try. When it’s cooler I might use my oven.
That’s really the most labor-intensive part of this recipe, the onions. It’s not hard at all, it just takes a little more time.
I might throw in some more fresh thyme with the sour cream mixture next time, just for kicks.