Mark Diacono’s bacon and caraway tart
Serves 4 – 6
For the pastry
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- pinch of Pure Sea Salt
- 150g butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
For the filling
- 30g butter
- 200g smoked streaky bacon, cut into large lardons
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 200ml double cream (or use crème fraîche)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- generous pinch of caraway seeds
- Pure Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mark Diacono’s passionate and focused cookbooks are a big inspiration for us here at Halen Môn. Mark is a food writer, grower, photographer and cook, whose writing we can’t recommend enough. Here we have a recipe from his latest triumph of a book, Spice: a cook’s companion, to share with you.
From Mark – Caraway is a little harder to get to know than some spices. Its flavour appears a fairly straightforward peppery aniseed at first, but there is a bittersweet nuttiness, a hint of citrus and an appealing piney, resinous edge I like very much. It suits savoury as much as sweet; it loves bacon fat as much as sugar; and is as at home sprinkled over toffee apples as it is in the pastry of this cracking tart. Make the pastry base and sides as thin as possible, leaving no gaps or holes.
Put the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and caraway and pulse until the mixture just comes together. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a flat round.
Wrap the pastry in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to a circle about 24cm (9in) in diameter. Place over a 20cm (8in) tart tin and use your fingers to carefully press the pastry over the tin, pushing it up the sides and into the corners. Line the base with baking parchment and some baking beans or rice. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and fry the bacon until lightly golden and its fat has rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate, keeping the fat in the pan. Add the onion and bay leaves and cook for 10 –15 minutes until very soft. Remove from the heat and add the bacon back to the pan.
In a bowl, mix the cream, eggs and mustard together with a little salt and pepper. Bake the lined tart case for 10 minutes until firm but not coloured, then remove the baking beans and parchment and return to the oven for 12 –15 minutes until cooked through and golden. Distribute the bacon and onion mixture over the tart base and sprinkle over the parsley. Carefully pour the egg and cream mix into the tart case, giving it a gentle shake to distribute evenly. Add the tomatoes to the top of the tart. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper and the caraway seeds.
Put the tart in the hot oven on a middle shelf and bake for 30 –35 minutes until the tart filling is set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 or so minutes before turning out and cutting into wedges, removing the bay leaves as you serve.
RECIPE: Mark Diacono from his book Spice: a cook’s companion. Published by Quadrille. Photography by Mark Diacono