For my birthday a couple months ago, I invited some friends over for brunch. Along with mimosas, and some other delicious treats, I also made this Camembert, Bacon and Potato Tart. It’s a delicious combination of flaky pastry crust, salty bacon and soft gooey cheese. With so many great flavors in one tart shell, it’s also addicting!
Notes: If you can’t find Camembert, you can also use Brie which is similar in texture and taste. Also, pastry is difficult to master and mine often comes out too thick or uneven. Instead, you can use a frozen or premade tart shell. It is pretty rewarding when you get it right though. Here’s the recipe that I used from America’s Test Kitchen.
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoon (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3 tablespoon ice water
6 slices of bacon, chopped (I usually just use the entire package)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I usually use an entire onion because I LOVE onions but you can alter this according to your taste)
1 pound (2 to 3 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes (No need to peel the potatoes. They’re the most nutritious part of the potato and peeling them is usually more trouble than it’s worth)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 8 oz. wheel Camembert
Salt and pepper to taste
For the tart shell:
1. Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles course sand. Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and continue to process until large clumps of dough form and no powdery bits remain. If the dough doesn’t clump, add the remaining tablespoon of water.
2. Spray a 9 inch tart pan with vegetable oil spray. Tear the dough into walnut-sized peices and pat it into the prepared tart pan, pressing it up the sides of the pan. Lay plastic wrap over the dough and smooth out any bumps using your palm. Leaving the plastic wrap on the dough, place the tart pan on a large plate and freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the tart pan on a large baking sheet. Press a large peice of foil into the tart shell and over the edges of the pan and fill with pie weights. (I often use dried pasta or beans when I realize at the last minute I have nothing to prevent the pastry from shrinking.) Bake until the edges of the tart shell begin to frown and the surface of the dough under the foil no longer looks wet, about 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and remove the weights and foil from the tart shell. Let the tart shell cool while making the filling.
Now to the fun part!
For the filling:
1. Cook the bacon and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and leave the bacon fat in the skillet.
2. Add the onion to the fat left in the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, the potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Increase the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in the crisp bacon.
3. Spread the potato mixture evenly into the baked tart shell. Cut the Camembert wheel in half through the middle (to make two thin wheels), then cut each half into 4 wedges. Arrange the wedges of cheese, cut-side down, over the top of the tart.
4. Bake the tart on the baking sheet until golden and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 35 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the tart cool for 10 minutes. To serve, remove the outer ring of the tart pan, transfer to a cutting board and enjoy!