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Bacon-and-Egg Breakfast Tarts

When the author was testing this recipe, she had the idea to crack an egg on top of each tart and then bake them together. The results were a bit of a disaster, to say the least. In the end, she fried the eggs separately and placed them on top of the baked tarts, which is easy and very pretty, too. Make these for a special brunch, especially if you want to impress your friends or in-laws

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet purchased frozen puff pastry, about 10 by 14 inches, thawed
  • 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar or Gruyère cheese
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 12 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh chives

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle about 12 by 15 inches. Trim the edges (a pizza wheel and a ruler work well to cut puff pastry). Cut the rectangle into 6 equal rectangles, each about 5 by 6 inches. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a line around each rectangle about 1/2 inch from the edge. Do not cut all the way through; you just want to create a ridge when the pastry is baked. Using a fork, prick the pastry inside the line all over. Lay the rectangles on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while you prepare the toppings.

In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and crème fraîche. In a large fry pan (it is best to choose a nonstick pan with a lid so you only have to clean one pan), fry the bacon over medium-low heat until just barely crisped, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Discard the fat in the pan.

Dollop a spoonful of the cheese mixture in the center of each pastry rectangle and spread it out to the cut line. Roughly chop the bacon and sprinkle it over the cheese mixture. Bake until the pastry is puffed, crisp and golden, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the eggs: In the large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover the pan (this is a handy trick for making beautiful over-easy eggs) and cook until the whites are cooked through and the yolks are still a bit runny.

Place the tarts on warmed plates and top each with a fried egg. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately. Makes 6 tarts.

Baker’s note: Use the best-quality puff pastry you can find. A local bakery will often sell fresh puff pastry, so check around. Dufour brand puff pastry, which is available in high-end markets, is also a good choice. The same goes for eggs: the fresher your eggs, the more scrumptious your over-easy eggs will be.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).