There's nothing to compare with good pastry, especially when homemade, but I know not everyone enjoys making it (though it is fast in a food processor), but you can do these with ready-made pastry sheets if that's your preference.
I had posted this recipe when I realised I had taken out the bacon so they could no longer be called Mini Bacon & Onion Tartlets! You can add bacon back in if you like, just a smidgin in each one.
Onion jam 2 large onions, peeled and sliced 75g butter Salt & pepper to taste Pastry and filling 5 sheets pre-rolled savoury short pastry (or use a batch of homemade shortcrust pastry) 6 eggs 150ml cream Freshly grated nutmeg ¼ tsp allspice ½ tsp chopped rosemary ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 300g streaky bacon 36 cherry tomatoes, halved 36 large fresh basil leaves, halved 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 For the onion jam, put onions and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and cook gently for about 40 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are very tender and golden (caramelized). Continue cooking, stirring off and on, until the onions soften somewhat to a mush. Perfect! Season with salt and pepper. The onion jam can be made a week in advance and kept in the fridge.
2 Cut each pastry sheet into about 15 rounds with a cutter 6-6.5cm wide. Line into mini muffin trays with muffin holes 4.5cm wide by 2cm deep; you’ll probably need to do this in batches, so keep the remainder cut pastry rounds covered and refrigerated until ready to bake them.
3 Cut bacon rashers into small pieces 3.5 cm x 2.5cm. Beat the eggs lightly with the cream, season with nutmeg, allspice, rosemary, salt and pepper. Put a blob of onion jam in the bottom of each tartlet base, then put in a piece of bacon. Pour in custard to half fill. Put in a halved tomato cut side up and sprinkle with salt. Add half a basil leaf, then scatter over a little parmesan cheese and grind on a little more black pepper.
4 Bake for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C (400°F), or until golden and crisp. Serve hottish, or warm, or cool quickly then reheat to piping hot again before serving. (Be careful! Serve the tartlets hottish, but not piping hot, or everyone will burn their mouths on the hot tomatoes!)
Here’s the link for making your own pastry, with loads of tips. Pastry
There’s nothing more annoying than having tartlets stick to the tray. I line each tartlet base with two strips of baking (parchment) paper, one piece running horizontal, the other vertical. Lifting them out of the tin is then a doddle! It’s easy to do, put two strips of paper in one hand, a pastry round on top, and gently push it all into the hollow in the tray. You can then grab the ends of the paper to lift out the hot pastries when they are cooked, and transfer them to a cooling rack to prevent them from steaming in the tin.
The tartlets can be made ahead, then frozen on trays (freezing for up to 2-3 weeks is fine; longer can affect the custard filling making it grainy). Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. Reheat from frozen, or thaw briefly first making reheating faster. Reheat until piping hot, but let the tartlets cool briefly before serving.