French Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella Tart

For me, having a baby means trying to find the right balance of being “me” and being “Mommy.” Obviously “me” = “Mommy” in many contexts, and I also have very little non-“Mommy” time to be just “me.” My husband K tries to help, and offers to take the Fudgelet at different points on the weekends. Usually this gets me a shower without a baby watching me (only weird when he gets older–haha) and a workout (mostly) free from worrying about the Fudgelet waking from his nap early. As far as my old hobbies, like reading books, watching tv, listening to music, etc….these things seem less important, and I have put almost all of those on hold. A few hobbies I have kept (for now), and these include exercising and cooking. Both are necessary. I have exercised regularly for over ten years now, and it has definitely helped with my stress and mental health. Cooking is also necessary since we need food to survive.

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Now, I could just make really basic meals. I could also make the same old food over and over. Nothing wrong with those options, but for me, cooking gives me a chance to do something I loved before I created the Fudgelet. K sometimes thinks I should tone things down, but it makes me feel more “me” by cooking fancier dishes on occasion. This was one of those occasions. Just like with the cake, this was something I made fairly early on. In fact, you can see how long ago by checking out this picture I took while making this tart:

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So small! And now he won’t sleep in my baby-carrier unless I cover up his head so he can’t see as well. Sigh. Anyway, I still decided to streamline this dish for cooking. Being a mom to an infant gives me a few naps during the day to get things done. I was able to use one nap to prep the tart shell and another nap to prep the filling. When it was dinner time, it was easy to throw it together. Obviously you could also do it all at once, but not everyone has that luxury, so I give you some options below.

One step that is not optional is how you cut the onions. The directions explicitly stated to slice the onions this way:

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Before cutting crosswise like you see below. Supposedly this is key to how they cook, with the textures and all for the tart. I didn’t try the other way because I chose to believe them. 🙂

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Directions for French Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella Tart

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book 

Crust

  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • Ice water

Spray a 9-inch tart pan with baking spray, then set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter butter on top of the mixture, then pulse until it looks like coarse sand (about 15 pulses).

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Add 2 Tablespoons ice water (and more if necessary), pulsing until large clumps form and no powdery bits remain.

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Pat the dough into the pan, starting in the middle, and working out to the edges.

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Put plastic wrap on top, then flatten and smooth the dough. Freeze it for 30 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart on a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap and place a sheet of aluminum foil on top (sprayed with baking spray), pressing against the dough. Fill with pie weights and bake for about 30 minutes.

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The dough should just start to brown. Remove the foil and pie weights, then bake for 10 more minutes. Set it aside. You can cover it and chill it for a few hours if necessary before continuing.

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Filling

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ÂĽ inch pieces
  • 1.5 pounds onions (not sweet onions), halved through the root end and cut crosswise into ÂĽ-inch slices
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Ground pepper

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.

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Remove from the pan.

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Leave 2 Tablespoons bacon fat in the pan. Add the onions, salt, and thyme.

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Cover and cook until the onions release liquid and start to wilt (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low and cook with the lid slightly ajar until the onions are very soft and lightly brown (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. You can chill them at this point and continue the remaining steps when ready to eat.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and some pepper. Add the onions.

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Pour into the tart shell, then sprinkle the bacon and mozzarella evenly over the top.

Bake the tart until the center feels firm to the touch (about 25-35 minutes). Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the tart pan.

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Directions for French Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella Tart (without pictures)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book 

Crust

  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • Ice water

Spray a 9-inch tart pan with baking spray, then set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter butter on top of the mixture, then pulse until it looks like coarse sand (about 15 pulses). Add 2 Tablespoons ice water (and more if necessary), pulsing until large clumps form and no powdery bits remain. Pat the dough into the pan, starting in the middle, and working out to the edges. Put plastic wrap on top, then flatten and smooth the dough. Freeze it for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart on a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap and place a sheet of aluminum foil on top (sprayed with baking spray), pressing against the dough. Fill with pie weights and bake for about 30 minutes. The dough should just start to brown. Remove the foil and pie weights, then bake for 10 more minutes. Set it aside. You can cover it and chill it for a few hours if necessary before continuing.

Filling

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ÂĽ inch pieces
  • 1.5 pounds onions (not sweet onions), halved through the root end and cut crosswise into ÂĽ-inch slices
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Ground pepper

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove from the pan. Leave 2 Tablespoons bacon fat in the pan. Add the onions, salt, and thyme. Cover and cook until the onions release liquid and start to wilt (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low and cook with the lid slightly ajar until the onions are very soft and lightly brown (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. You can chill them at this point and continue the remaining steps when ready to eat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and some pepper. Add the onions. Pour into the tart shell, then sprinkle the bacon and mozzarella evenly over the top.

Bake the tart until the center feels firm to the touch (about 25-35 minutes). Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the tart pan.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tart

Are you a peanut butter fan? If so, we should be friends. I love making peanut butter things. My husband is not normally a big fan. After making the berry clafoutis, I decided to make a dessert for myself. This giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup sounded wonderful. That night, I cut myself a slice and K was eyeing my piece. Finally I gave him a bite. He loved it and had to have some. There went my plan to have a treat to myself!! (Not that I really mind sharing my sweets with my sweetie–insert eye rolls here.)

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What meals get you excited about the fall and autumn seasons? I am trying to think ahead to produce knowing that I cannot rely on my local produce as much.  Colder weather makes me think of pot pies, roasted chicken, and soup!

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