in the kitchen with: tartlette

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I found Helen, aka “Tartelette“, on flickr one day somehow, I can’t remember, but I’m glad I did. Before I knew that a trained pastry chef was behind all the food in the images, I remember thinking that the food in was always way too perfect to be made at home. I’m not the only fan of Helen’s though, as she was recently named one of the world’s best food bloggers by the UK Times Online. Her blog Tartelette is enticing in every way, and we are so very happy she shared her bacon and onion tartlet recipe with us. Everything is better with bacon on it! (Vegetarians, don’t get too mad at me!) The beauty of the tart, however, is that you can make endless substitutions to suit your palate. The most important thing is to have an excellent crust, and Helen has provided just that! Enjoy! -Kristina

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About Helen: I am Helen, a French expatriate living in Charleston, SC with my Irish-American husband. I have been here for over 10 years. After quitting a Ph.D in History, I became the executive pastry chef of a local French restaurant where I stayed for 6 years. I bake and cook for patrons either privately or during catering functions. My first pastry cookbook which will be released in Fall 2009 (Fleming Ink Publishers) for which I did the recipe writing, food styling and food photography. I am also a regular contributor to Desserts Magazine where I often write about the ins and outs of French traditional desserts like soufflés or macarons.

CLICK HERE for Helen’s recipe for Bacon and Onion Tartlets after the jump…

Bacon and onion tartlets:

Makes six 3-inch tartlets or one 9-inch tart

Pie crust:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

5 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small slices

3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water

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Mix together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture forms pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the flour mixture and toss with fork until moistened. Repeat with the remaining water, one tablespoon at a time and gather the dough into a ball with your hand. Do not handle the dough too long. Wrap into a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will allow the dough to relax and make it easier to roll, keeping it from becoming tough. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface, applying pressure from the center to the edges until it is about 12 inches in diameter. Cut out six 4 inch circles onto the dough and press them into the tartlet pans (or one 9 inch pan if making a larger tart). Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

6 slices bacon

4 stalks green onion, sliced, white and green parts included

1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 ½ cups milk

Pinch of salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, cook the bacon slices until crispy brown. Drain them on a paper towel. Crumble them and set aside. Wipe the pan of the bacon dripping with a paper towel and place it back over medium heat and cook the green onion for a couple of minutes, just to take the raw edge off. Divide the bacon, onion and parsley evenly among the tartlets and place them on a baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper until combined and slowly pour the mixture over the tartlets. Divide the cheese evenly in between the tarts and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Individual sizes bake faster than a whole pie so keep an eye on them after 20 minutes. Let cool before unmolding and serving.

These are best at room temperature with a salad and a simple vinaigrette.

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Why Helen chose this recipe:

I love tartlets, as my blog name indicates and one thing that French people love to make as an easy and casual meal is a savory tart or quiche with a side salad. It was our Saturday night dinner growing up and still is even though I am miles away from my family. The crust and the egg filling are a simple springboard for all your favorite fillings and spices. I like variations like salmon, dill and leeks, ground beef, oregano and fresh tomatoes, sausage, rosemary and spinach….the possibilities are quite endless once you let your taste buds let the ingredients come together.

[Photo of Helen by Melissa Haneline]

Aran

Helen is a dear friend of mine and I love seeing her work featured here, in out of our favorite spots. She is talented beyond words and deserves all the recognition. I cannot wait for her book. And what a beautiful recipe. That second photo took my breath away.

erendira

beautiful presentation. i don’t eat bacon, but i will definitely try this recipe with salmon, dill and leeks!

lynda

Thanks for featuring Helen, her beautiful photography and her simple, elegant and delicious looking recipe. She lights up the web with her work!

Sefa

I’m happy to see Helen smile here. Thank for featuring her and for the recipe. Will try it for sure.

hazel

Tartelette has a great blog with wonderful images. It’s nice to see her here too. Inspiring.

I couldn’t make pastry to save my life. We laugh at home because I cried once trying to make a pie!!

Helen - Tartelette

Thank you everyone for your comments! It has been my pleasure and honor to make the tarts for you. I can guarantee that the dough comes together fairly fast and you can work on the filling while it chills. After that, it’s roll, fill and bake!
For everyone afraid to make their own tart dough, the trick is to not over work it as you mix the ingredients and to let it relax in the fridge before rolling it out.

Jen Yu

So wonderful of you to have Helen on DS! She is a gem and a fantastic baker/cook/friend. And you got her to make something *savory*. Hurray! :)

Milena

Looks amazing, I just have one probem with it: 11/4 cups flower, how much is that in grams? Please help us metric freaks in Europe! ;-))

Helen - Tartelette

Milena: I use metric all the time also and to convert US recipes, I usually rely on gourmetsleuth.com. According to their site, 1.25 cups of flour is 156.5 grams.

Zita

Oh…thank you for putting this article…I can finally see the face behind the adorable blog :)

Zee

Thanks for sharing this.. I had always wondered about Helen’s face seeing all the pretty pictures on her blog.. Turns out that she’s so adorable..

Gaye

Just wanted to say thank you for the beautiful photos and great inspirational ideas. I visit often, this is the first time I commented.

lucy longo

thank you Helene, I love your recepies.

Gracias from Guatemala, Central
America.

Lynn

Would like to try this without the bacon. Anyone have suggestions on this?

ArtMind

I made it for our guests for breakfast this morning and they absolutely loved it! Thanks for a lovely recipe! :)

Kristina

Lynn,

The world is your oyster! The beauty of the tart is that you can put in just about anything you like. If you are looking for an alternative to a meat product, you could try zucchine, tomato, different types of cheese (try contrasting the swiss with something a bit sharper), broccoli, red peppers, squash, potatoes, you name it, it works. Just be careful about the water content of any vegetables you may try and prepare them accordingly before adding to the mixture. Also be sure that you do any precooking for items which may take a bit longer, like squash or potatoes.

Mae

Always visiting and not getting tired of it. I like this recipe.

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