Don't let the bacon in this dessert scare you, the saltiness of it is a perfect match to the sweet apples & crust. I know the cheddar adds saltiness too but the bacon really takes it up a notch.
The crust I used for this is one I adapted from the Rich Sweet Pastry recipe in Small Batch Baking. It came out a lot like a sugar cookie & Matt really liked it, but I think next time I'll try using something flakier like the crusts I've used to make galettes.
Cheddar, Apple & Bacon Tarts
1/4 c confectioners' sugar
1/2 c + 1 T all-purpose flour
4 T + 1 t unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk
2 t apple cider
1 slice bacon, cut into small pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored & cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
2 T grated sharp cheddar cheese
Put the confectioners' sugar, flour & a pinch of salt in a food processor, pulse to blend. Add 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of butter and the egg yolk, pulse to blend. Add the apple cider 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough holds together. Form the dough into two balls & flatten them into discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap & chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the chilled dough out into 5 to 6-inch circles. Press into two buttered 4 1/2" x 3/4" tart pans with removable bottoms. Use the rolling pin or your hand to cut away the excess dough (save the excess dough if you want to create shapes for the top of the tarts). Prick holes with a fork in the bottom of the tarts. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Put the chilled tart shells on a baking sheet. Line the inside of the shells with tin foil & then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil & weights & bake for 6 more minutes until the crusts are just dry.
In a skillet melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples & stir to coat them. Let cook until the apples are getting soft on the outside but still firm in the middle. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon & a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
Cook the bacon pieces until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
Put one tablespoon of grated cheese into the bottom of each tart shell. Top the cheese with apple slices. Sprinkle the bacon on top of the apples.
Bake at 325 F for 30 - 35 minutes on a baking sheet, the crust should be golden brown. Move tarts in their pans to a rack to cool slightly before removing from pans.
Makes 2 tarts