Vidalia Onion Tart with Peppered Bacon

Pastry Crust
1-3/4 cups pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted butter, well chilled, cut into 16 equal pieces
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, well chilled, cut into small pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

6 slices thick cut peppered bacon
5 large Vidalia onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons local honey
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons whole cream

1 - 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

To make the crust, put the flour, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse 10 times. Add the shortening and pulse 10 more times. With the machine running, pour in 4 tablespoons of ice water through the feed tube and immediately turn the machine off. Transfer the contents to a flat work surface and quickly form the dough into a round. If the dough is too dry, add the additional tablespoon of ice water drop by drop. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Roll out the dough and use it to line a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom with a fork. Freeze for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pan from the freezer, line it with aluminum foil, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (removing the foil and weights halfway through the baking time), until the crust is set but not browned. Let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until the bacon is crispy and the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels to cool, chopping coarsely once cool enough to handle.

Reserve the bacon fat in the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook over medium heat until the onions have softened, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Do not let the onions brown.

Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the wine has cooked down to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the honey and reserved chopped bacon. Stir and cook 5 minutes more.

Remove the onion mixture from the heat and spoon into a shallow pan; refrigerate to cool. When cooled, drain off any excess pan juices and stir in the egg and cream. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Fill the partially baked pastry crust with the onion mixture and bake until golden brown and the filling is set, about 35 minutes.


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