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Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart


Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 One of the things I am always grateful for living here in the UK, is that I have spent the last twenty years living in a very close proximity to the European Continent, or "The Continent" as it is referred to here.  When we lived down in Kent, we could be sitting at an ouside cafe in France enjoying a hot drink by mid morning, depending on how early we got up. 

This was always really nice.  We often went over to Calais and Bologne sur Mer for a day's shopping. There was a huge Carrefour in Calais, so we would go sight-seeing in Bologne, have lunch and then double back to Calais and load up on French goodies before catching the train through the Euro-tunnel back to England.

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 One time we went over with our friends Jo and Colin and spent a day traversing all down the coast line from Calais South-bound, stopping to have a picnic along the way.  It was a lot of fun. Did you know the French are obsessed with any thing Egyptian?  I discovered that on that particular trip. It was astonishing.

One thing the French do really well is breads, cheeses and wines/spirits. I believe their bread is some of the best in the world. Once you have enjoyed a fresh French Croissant, you are spoiled for any other kinds. 

That is one thing I really love about travelling to other countries. Being able to try their foods. I am a culinary tourist more than anything else!

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 One year we were blessed to be able to spend a few weeks down in the Bordeaux/Dordogne region of France with our friends Audrey and Peter Lee. What a wonderful time we had.  Peter had rented a stone cottage out in country side.  

We spent our days hiking and exploring and then would come back to the cottage in the evenings where I would whip up a dinner for us from what we had managed to gather in the daytime during our travels. On that visit I got to try beautiful Caneles from the medieval town of Saint Emilion. 

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 I fell in love with those beautiful French pastries.  A beautifully rich caramel interior sealed into a crispy caramelised shell.  So delicious! 

Another time we stayed in the Alsace region of France/Germany.  This region is an area in the North East of France that has alternately been either French or German throughout the centures, reflecting a mix of the two cultures. At the moment it belongs to France.

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 We spent a full day in Strasbourg which is the capital of the Alsace region. There is a street there that is lined with tall poles on both sides.  There are stork nests situated on the top of each pole. I had never seen anything like it. Not before, not since.  Storks (Cigognes Blanche are the symbol of Alsace, as is this fabulous Bacon and Onion Tart. 

Tarte Flambee/Flammekeuche is its official name. It is sort of like the French/German equivalent of Pizza, but don't say that too loud or they might throw you in jail! haha

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 Essentially it is a round flat, open-faced tart with a beautiful incredibly crisp pastry bottom. This is topped with sour cream/creme fraiche, caramelised onions, two cheeses and beautiful Alsatian bacon/lardons. 

Simple, and yet incredibly delicious in its simplicity.  Along with the Choucroute Garnie (essentially sauerkraut and smoked meats/sausages) it was one of my favourite foods from the region. We enjoyed the Choucroute one day at an open table in a market square. It was served with the most delicious boiled baby potatoes.

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

The Bacon and Onion Tarts are baked quickly in very hot ovens which gives them a very crisp crust.  This is almost impossible to replicate perfectly at home, but I do try my best. 

The thinner you can roll the dough out the crisper it will be. Or you can cheat a tiny bit and use puff pastry, which comes out crisp every time. This is my cheat/go-to option and something which we I can live with very happily.


Whilst it is not totally authentic, it is quite delicious and the perfect nod to this traditional tart of Alsace. With is crisp bottom and edges, not to mention rich toppings, it always goes down really well. 

Having said that, however, it is a rare, once in a blue moon treat as it is also very indulgent, to say the least.  Let's face it.  Puff pastry, bacon, sour cream, two cheeses caramelised onions.  How much more indulgent could you get?


I have never been able to resist anything in pastry.  When I was about 13 years old my mother had to go away one weekend. She had left a family sized homemade pot pie for me to heat up for our Saturday night supper. My whole family accused me of having taken the largest piece for myself. 

I denied it of course, it just so happened that after I had dished out everyone else's, there just happened to be a nice sized piece left in the dish for me. Was it done on purpose?  I cannot say for sure, but I do know I have never been able to live it down!

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

To this day I am known for having taken the largest piece of pie for myself. On purpose or not.  I don't think I really intended to take the largest piece myself. I prefer to think of it as a happy accident. 

Nobody wants to be known as selfish or a glutton. In all truth however, when it comes to pastry, I am completely untrustworthy. Anything in pastry sings the song of my food-loving heart!

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart
Well, almost anything at any rate.  I don't think I would be lining up for "Stargazy pie." (A british pie stuffed with whole fishes, heads intact. The bake the pie so that the heads poke out of the steam vents in the top of the pie, as if to be gazing at the heavens.) 

I think I would gladly give the whole of that pie to anyone who wanted it.  This Alsation Bacon and Onion Tart however . . .  that I might be tempted to fight for! 
 
Food travel is often the best kind of travel, and in these modern times you never really have to leave the comforts of your own home to experience it.

Yield: makes 6 - 8 slices
Author: Marie Rayner
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Alsatian Bacon & Onion Tart

Alsatian Bacon & Onion Tart

This is a simple tart that is delicious with caramelized onions, bacon and cheese. Perfect for a lunch or light supper when served with a salad, or cut into smaller bites and served as a party bite over the holidays.
prep time: 20 Mincook time: 25 Mintotal time: 45 Min

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS white wine or Calvados (French apple brandy)
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (125g)of creme fraiche (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 rashers of bacon, par-cooked (see notes) and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (20g) of grated gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup (20g) of grated cheddar cheese
  • egg wash made with 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp of milk or water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown. This will take about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the wine or Calvados, if using, and stir gently to release any flavourful browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the wine is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a circle, about 13 inches in diameter.
  6. Transfer the rolled out dough to the prepared baking sheet. Spread with the creme fraiche evenly over the pastry, leaving a one inch border free all the way around the edge. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped bacon and the onions. Top with the grated cheeses.
  7. Fold over the exposed edges of the dough, fluting decoratively as you go, forming a 1 inch border. Brush this border with the prepared egg wash.
  8. Bake until the tart is golden brown and the bacon is crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into 6 to 8 slices and serve hot.

notes:

To par-cook the bacon, place two layers of paper kitchen toweling on a microwave safe plate. Lay the desired amount of bacon in a single layer on top of the paper towel. Cover with two additional sheets of paper. Microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or 30 seconds per rasher. (I do two rashers at a time.)
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Marie Rayner
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10 comments:

  1. Stargazy Pie is a Cornish and very special pie , traditional to the village of Mousehole and enjoyed on 23rd December when the villagers remember and celebrate 17th centyry Tom Bawcock who went out one stormy winters night to bring home fish for the starving villagers .The pie is made in his honour :) I like the look of your Alsation bacon and onion tart ..mmm...yummy ! :) xxx

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    Replies
    1. It has a very interesting history for sure Debs. I have seen many photos of it and it doesn't appeal to me in the least. I am squeamish about strong flavoured fish anyways and I hate the skin on fish. I guess we are all different! This tart is very delicious! Thank you! xo

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  2. This looks to die for. I swear, I could eat the whole thing in one go. And I especially love hearing your stories about discovering this and other lovely things on your travels.

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  3. Ooooo....this looks yummy!!! Do you think sour cream substituted for the creme fraiche would be acceptable?? And is there much difference between Alsatian bacon and American bacon??? ~Robin~

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    1. I think I would mix together half cream cheese and half sour cream Robin! Can you get bacon lardons? (chunky bacon bits) Those would work very well. Alternately you could also use minced baked ham or Canadian bacon. You could use American bacon as well if you wanted to. xoxo

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  4. Alsation pie. listed ingredient Calvados apple brandy but no menton of same in method. Is this mixed into crème fraise? Not sure, but want to make this recipe. It sounds delirious. Thank you for same. Mazzab marberry@bigpond.com

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    Replies
    1. It is mentioned in step 3 if you look. It helps to deglaze the pan from cooking the onions!

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