Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bacon Basil Tart

With less rain in the forecast, all is bright and summer is finally here to stay! It is mid July and I feel that half of my summer time outside with the kids have been robbed from me and trying hard to make up for the lost days with daily trips to the swimming pool and letting them pedal their bikes to their hearts content. By the end of the day, exhaustion kicks in and that is what summer is about, long rewarding days!

So far, I think I have only made one savory baked good in my Bake Galore. Infact, I like savory stuffs more than sweet and sugary stuffs. But because of the multitude of berries and everything pretty and sweet, cakes and sweet pastries tend to be the norm.

We started planting root vegetables and herbs this year and the basil and mint have been bearing leaves. The only thing that I find myself compatible with Curry is this. He plants and grows vegetables while I pick and cook them. Other than that, we are always like sweet and savory! Opposite attract I guess.

Quiche is always a nice summer dish. It is so versatile for picnics, light lunch or dinner over a bottle of white wine. Basically, it is a tart with crust made from the simple combination of butter, flour and ice water and the filling can be anything from meat to vegetable with the presence of eggs and cream to create the luscious rich set custard part. Cutting out the cream totally doesn't yield the same velvety rich taste and I simply cut the amount to half and added low fat milk. Bacon is always nice on its own or cooked with other ingredients and for this tart, it needs to be cooked first in some olive oil to release its fat content and drench in the kitchen paper towel to rid any excess oil and moisture before adding to the blind baked tart. This is to avoid the fat content from soaking the tart case and getting everything greasy during the baking of the tart. The black olives were for garnish and added after the bacon and egg mixture has been poured into the baked tart case, hence they are more neatly placed and creates a pretty contrast to the tart as a whole. I chopped up some basil leaves and fried it with the bacon and mushroom to bring out the fragrant of the leaves and added some more on top of the tart prior to baking.

Recipe :
Tart Case:
150gm all purpose flour
90gm butter, almost room temperature
3 tbsp cold water

Filling :
10 slices of bacon, preferrably smoked and cut to small slices
225gm button mushrooms, sliced
5 basil leaves, rolled together and sliced and chopped
3 eggs
6 pitted black olives, sliced thinly each
120ml heavy cream
100 ml low fat milk
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves for garnish
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Method :
1)Tart Case: Cut the butter into the flour and using hands, coat the flour with the butter thoroughly, crumble till resembling coarse meal. Gradually add the water till the flour mixture comes together as a dough. Knead gently and shape into a disk and let it rest in a plastic bag inside the fridge for 45 mins.

2)Remove from fridge and roll out to a large circle to fit in an 8 inch tart pan. Grease the pan and place in the rolled out dough.

3)Cover with cling film and return to the fridge for 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

4)Filling: Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a shallow pan. Pan fry the bacon for 5 mins. Add in the mushroom and stir in. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins. Sprinkle in the chopped basil and let cook for another 3 mins. Turn off heat and remove contents to a plate layered with kitchen towel.

5)Take out the tart shell, layer with parchment paper and baking beans and bake for 15 mins. Remove from oven and remove the parchment paper and beans. Brush the inside bottom and side of the tart with beaten egg white. This will produce a crisper texture of the tart and provides a layer that prevents sogginess.

6)Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 mins. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

7)Beat the 3 eggs with the cream and milk. Scatter the bacon and mushroom evenly into the blind baked tart case and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Garnish with the olive slices and insert a few slices of the basil leaves. Bake at 350F/180C for 40 mins.

8)Turn off heat and let the tart sit in the warm oven for another 10mins. Remove and garnish with basil leaves. Serve warm.

Serves: 4 to 6 persons

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