I made these to have as a warm appetizer on Thanksgiving, and I am so glad I did. These little snacks have a flaky, buttery crust and sweet onion and savory bacon filling that is delicious! The original recipe comes from Cara, but then I saw that Tara made them with brie cheese. Since Nate does not like brie, I made half with the cheese and half without, but honestly there was not much a difference between the two. The cheese melts into the onion mixture, so you don’t really even notice it, but both ways are delicious.
Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tartlets
- Tart Shells:
- 5 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 medium onions, sliced thinly
- 4 slices bacon, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup cream or half and half
- 4-6 oz. of brie, rind removed
Tart Shells: Blend cream cheese and butter. Stir in flour and salt just until blended. Roll into little balls and place in greased mini muffin tins; you should get 36. Using a tart shaper, press dough into muffin tins to form little shells, flouring the tart shaper when necessary. Chill for about 1 hour.
Caramelizing the Onions (this can be done ahead of time): Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat and cook the bacon, stirring often, until almost crisp. Add the onions, sugar, and salt, and cook, stirring often until they cook down by two-thirds, about 10 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons vinegar, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until the onions are an even golden brown and softened to a marmalade consistency, 30-45minutes, depending on the onions. Stir often and scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. The onions need almost constant stirring near the end to prevent them from sticking and burning. They’ll let you know they need attention by giving off a sizzling sound. Stir in the sage, allow them to cool slightly, then taste and season with black pepper and additional salt if needed. If the onions seem overly sweet, stir in another teaspoon of vinegar.
Assembling the Tartlets: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Stir cream or half and half into onion mixture. Place a small piece of brie in the bottom of each of the chilled tart shells. Divide filling evenly among tartlets, and bake until filling is set and dough is lightly browned; about 20 minutes. Cool and remove from pans.
Notes from Cara: These can be frozen in a single layer and then transferred to a plastic freezer bag. To reheat these kind of appetizers at my parties, I usually keep the oven on at about 400F with cookie sheets inside, so they are constantly kept warm. I warm up frozen appetizers as necessary by just placing them on the hot cookie sheets for about 10-12 minutes. This works for any kinds of little tarts, mini quiches, potato pancakes, mini turkey burgers, or fried wontons, etc, that have been cooked and frozen.