There was a week where Mike Eggert of Pinbone (which is now closed) had fewer Maple, Bacon and Pumpkin Tarts available for his brunch menu than usual.
"I don't ever want to see that side of people again," says the chef and owner of the fine-dining spot in Woollahra. For Eggert, it's the mixture of salty, buttery sweetness in this tart that makes it such a favourite.
"It was actually a beautiful accident," says the chef. "We were out of ingredients the night before our first brunch service, but happened to have some pumpkin, candied bacon and puff pastry in the kitchen. So we decided to put it all together and make a savoury tart." The result is a rich, smoky, sweet dish disguised as brunch.
"We roast our pumpkin the day before and drain off excess liquid to stop the pastry going soggy, and as we're roasting the whole tart we free the edges up with a palette knife to let the puff pastry rise and stop the bacon juices sticking."
Puff pastry (based on Michel Roux's recipe)
500g plain flour, plus extra
25ml white wine vinegar
200ml ice-cold water
50g melted butter
400g diced butter, very cold
900g pumpkin, peeled and cut into rough dice
250g double-smoked bacon rashers
50ml best-quality Canadian maple syrup
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).
For the puff pastry, tip the flour and salt onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the middle and pour in the vinegar, water and melted butter. Work with your fingertips until a dough forms. Knead five to ten times with your palm until completely smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
While the dough rests, place the pumpkin on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20–30 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
Once rested, lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Place the diced butter into the centre of the rectangle and fold one end of the dough into the middle, and then the other over the first, like the folds of a letter. Rotate the pastry a quarter turn and gently roll out into an even rectangle. Fold both ends into the middle, forming three layers again, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling process of the pastry twice more. Refrigerate for 30–40 minutes before use.
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional).
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a 15cm x 45cm rectangle – the pastry should be around 5mm thick – and place on a floured baking tray.
Mash the roasted pumpkin and spread evenly across the pastry, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Cut the bacon to the exact size of the pastry – it will shrink to the perfect size once cooked – and arrange on top of the tart with the rashers overlapping each other. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional), brush the tart with some of the maple syrup and cook until the pastry is golden and cooked through, about 10–15 minutes.
Brush the cooked tart with the remaining maple syrup, season with salt and pepper and serve the tart as is ,or with a simple salad of mixed soft herbs dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. The tart will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheats nicely.
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This article was updated on June 30, 2017