Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bacon and Date Tart

 Success! This Puff Pastry Tart with bacon, dates, blue cheese, greens and a balsamic reduction made a delicious open-faced appetizer.

Cover the tart with it's own lid and presto! it's a sandwich ready for "ladies who lunch".

In early March I vowed to recreate a dish from our SW road trip, Cafe Bink's savory tart. (see here) It has taken weeks to follow through on that public declaration. So why the delay? The various components, taken one by one, seemed manageable. 
  • Create a balsamic reduction - check, did that. (see here)  
  • Bacon, cheese and greens - chilling in the refrigerator.
  • Sweet California medjool dates - stored in the pantry.
  • Puff pastry - no way, not going to happen! Have you ever read through a recipe for puff pastry? It is daunting. It takes so much butter, and effort, not to mention time and patience. 
Thoughts of this tart have darted around in my mind for weeks, nagging me to find the courage to tackle puff pastry. In the end, I gave up and bought a package of Trader Joe's frozen puff pastry sheets. I'll face my puff pastry fear some other day.

Below are the brief directions I used in my first attempt to capture those remembered flavors.
Bacon and Date Tart
inspired by a tart served at Cafe Bing, Cave Creek, AZ

1 sheet of puff pastry, rolled 1/8-inch thick, divided into 3 rectangles
3-4 thick slices cooked bacon (not maple-flavored), in 1/2-inch dice
8-10 soft medjool dates, chopped into small dice
a handful of blue cheese crumbles
a handful of arugula or other small greens
balsamic vinegar reduction with a bit of honey and rosemary added
  1. Bake the pastry pieces according to package directions. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Slice each pastry in half horizontally, separating top from bottom (or leave whole for a thicker tart base)
  3. Distribute the bacon, dates and cheese over the pastry bottom (if you separated top and bottom). Use a squirt bottle or spoon to decoratively drizzle the balsamic reduction over all. Finish with a sprinkle of greens. 
  4. Cover with the pastry top (if you separated top and bottom). Slice into pieces and plate.
  • For this first attempt I used only 1 of the rectangles cut from the single sheet of puff pastry. I separated the top from bottom and cut each piece into thirds; then made 3 little sandwiches using a total of 1 1/4 slices of cooked bacon, 3 dates, about 3 tablespoons of cheese, and 6-9 pieces of lettuce.
  • Next time I will reduce the honey and balsamic reduction even further, to a thicker, more syrupy consistency. There should be ribbons of balsamic reduction running across the plate, not dots or puddles.

What happened to the remaining 2 rectangles of puff pastry? They made really fabulous black pepper cheese straws that disappeared quickly. 

I love puff pastry, when someone else makes the dough.


  1. OMG I went to your blog... holy crap.. I am lucky to just get something on the plate let alone look like that..

  2. 1 word...YUMMY. I must sample soon. Laci


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