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Author Notes: This custard tart had its origins in a bourbon buttermilk pie from an old cookbook - Out of Kentucky Kitchens (1949). I upped the egg ratio to thicken the recipe's custard and make it more tart-ready, and I mixed in candied bacon bits. I used the Cook's Illustrated vodka crust recipe, but I substituted bourbon for vodka, and used leftover sugary fat from candying the bacon in place of one of the tablespoons of butter. To finish things off I did a little brulee on top to complement the crunch of the bacon at the bottom of tart. The over all result: tangy, meaty, booziness with a couple of layers of crunch and a delicious smooth custard in the middle.
The tart in the picture was made in a shallow pie pan because I couldn't find my tart pan (tragedy!). The proportions are, however, geared to a tart pan. —celiaruthless
For the Crust
tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
tablespoons candied bacon drippings
tablespoons bourbon, chilled
tablespoons ice water
- Use a food processor to pulse the flour, butter, and bacon fat together until it reaches the texture of cornmeal.
- Put the butter-flour mixture in a medium bowl, sprinkle the bourbon and water over it, and mix with your hands until just blended. Be careful not to overdo it and warm the dough up.
- Chill the dough for an hour and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll the dough out and smooth it into a 9" round tart pan. Freeze the dough in its pan for 10 minutes.
- Prick the dough on the bottom of the pan with the tines of a fork, cover the dough with aluminum foil and put pie weights (or dry rice or beans) on top. Blind bake for 10 minutes with weights, then remove the weights and bake for 5 minutes more, until the crust is very lightly golden. Let it cool while you prepare the filling.
For the Tart
tablespoons dark brown sugar
large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar or sugar in the raw
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
cups chilled buttermilk
tablespoons bourbon (I use Bulleit)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- To candy the bacon: Chop the bacon finely. Place it in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top just as the fat starts to melt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon gets dark and crispy. Pour the fat off and reserve for use in the crust; drain the bacon on parchment paper (do not use paper towels - candied bacon sticks to them).
- Beat the eggs with the sugar until fluffy and light yellow (the sugar grains should have dissolved). Scrape the mixture down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatule, then add the flour one tablespoon at a time, mixing for a few seconds between additions.
- Add the buttermilk, bourbon, and butter, beat until blended, and pour the mixture into the crust (don’t worry, it’s supposed to be kind of runny – it’s a custard, and will firm up in the oven). Sprinkle the bacon bits evenly over the top of the pie.
- Place the pie in the oven on a middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake about 10-15 minutes more. The custard should be firm, but a little jiggly in the middle. Cool before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Late Winter Tart (Sweet or Savory)