Just try to resist the charming quality of a tart: the golden crust heaped high with fillings, and those cute fluted edges simply beg to be devoured. Tarts can be sweet or savory, and the number of flavor combinations is limited only by your imagination. The convenience of delicious ready-made pastries in most grocery stores makes creating a bevy of beauties as simple as pie.
This decadent bacon and leek tart would be ideal for weeknight meals or a brunch buffet. We started with puff pastry as the foundation and added delicious morsels, including cheese and eggs, to bind it all together. Dessert tarts are often filled with cool creams and custards and topped with fresh fruits and berries. In the winter, pretty pears are available and inspire our glorious baked almondine pear tart. The filling is made of almond custard that perfectly highlights ripe pears for a combination that is out of this world.
These simple tarts are simple to make and irresistible on the table, so get your creative juices flowing with our favorite combinations or yours!
Lorie Fangio is a teaching chef and founder of A Taste of Paris™ food and wine trips to France. For more great recipes and to learn more about Lorie, visit atasteofparis.net.
BACON AND LEEK TART
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 leeks, chopped and cleaned
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 prepared pie pastry
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- 10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 8 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Melt butter in a chef’s pan and cook leeks with thyme for about 8 minutes, until the leeks are soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Unroll pie pastry and place it into an 8-inch tart pan or pie plate, careful not to stretch it. Press the pastry into the pan and run a rolling pin over the top to cut off excess dough. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom of the crust with Dijon mustard.
- Spread the leeks into the bottom of the tart, sprinkle the Gruyere cheese evenly, and next add a layer of bacon.
- Break eggs into a mixing bowl and add salt and pepper, mix well. Pour the eggs from the center of the tart being careful not to overfill the pan.
- Sprinkle it with parmesan cheese.
- Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes until it is puffed and golden brown.
PEAR ALMONDINE TART
- 1 prepared pie pastry
- 1 cup whole almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup sugar, separated
- Pinch of salt
- 1 stick butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 to 4 ripe pears, peeled
- Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place pastry in a greased 8 to 9-inch tart pan, careful not to stretch it. Press the pastry into the pan and run a rolling pin over the top to cut off excess dough. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork.
- Prepare the filling by placing almonds, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in the food processor and process until almonds are a fine powder.
- In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and the remaining . cup sugar, and add eggs one at a time. Add extracts and almond mixture and mix well.
- Pour the almond custard into the tart shell.
- Core the pears, cut them in half or slices, and toss them with lemon juice and zest. Arrange the pears on top of the almond custard.
- Place the tart pan on a parchment-lined baking pan and into the oven. Bake until the almond custard is puffed and browned, about 40 minutes.
- Let the tart cool completely before slicing to serve.