Maple, bacon and pumpkin is a stellar flavour combination. This tart is from the menu of a popular bistro called Pinbone in Woollahra, Sydney. The original recipe required homemade puff pastry. I chose the easier path and made this with frozen puff pastry. In addition the original recipe calls for the pumpkin to be roasted and the caramelisation adds extra flavour. However, sometimes I just steam the pumpkin in the microwave because I find that the difference is barely noticeable due to the strong flavours coming from the bacon and maple syrup. Plus it is much more convenient because the pumpkin is prepared while the oven is preheating, so it is much faster (you save around 30 minutes of cooking time). So I have provided directions for both methods.
1. In the US, streaky bacon is the most common bacon available. In Australia, middle bacon is the most common which consists of the eye (the oval part, sold as "shortcut bacon") and the streaky bacon part (the "tail" which has "streaks" of fat through it). Nowadays you can buy streaky bacon from Woolworths and other major supermarkets (either in the deli or refrigerator section). Otherwise, use Middle Bacon and cut the eye off so you just use the streaky bacon part.
2. I like using maple syrup because the woody sweet flavours goes so well with bacon. But if you do not have maple syrup then you can substitute with honey. Heat the honey slightly in the microwave to make it thinner so it is easy to brush on.
3. To cut the pastry in half, use a large knife and press down once. Do not drag it along the pastry to cut because then the pastry won't puff as much along that edge.
4. The bacon shrinks during cooking which is why it needs to be cut slightly wider than the tart. So when it comes out of the oven, it just about covers the pumpkin.
5. A key tip for baking with puff pastry (especially when you have a double layer of puff pastry) is to bake it until it is a very dark golden brown otherwise you run the risk of having a gummy almost uncooked layer in the middle of the pastry.
6. Not the healthiest breakfast in the world.....but it's worth it! Have a salad for lunch :-)