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Peel and slice the onions, across the rings, in slices about 1/2 inch wide, and then cut again in 90 degrees so that you have pieces roughly 1/2 inch wide by 1-1/2 inches long. Melt butter in a large, heavy iron skillet, or in a heavy Dutch oven, until bubbling. Add all the onions and saute on high heat. When onions turn slightly brown, add the sugar and a dash of liquid smoke and then continue to brown the onions. Continue stirring the mixture, cooking until the onions are a rich chocolate brown in color. This may take up to 30 minutes but is the key to the full flavor of the authentic tarte.
Set the onions aside to cool. Beat the eggs and blend in the sour cream, salt, and pepper. When the pan that you used to cook the onions is cool enough to touch, add the egg and sour cream mixture. Whisk together well, picking up all the browned coating on the pan as you do.
Distribute the combined eggs, cream, and onions equally into the two uncooked pie shells. Sprinkle the bacon bits on top and bake in a 400-degree oven for one hour or until the top of the pie is a rich golden brown and the crust is crisp. Serve immediately. Excellent as a main course for lunch or brunch or as a starter for formal dinners.
Hints: Onions may be sauteed a day in
advance and the final preparation begun just prior to baking.
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