Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pissaladiere


But do they make pizza? The answer is yes. This is a French type of pizza, made in a pastry shell. Very savoury, wonderful for a salt lover like myself. The crisscrossed anchovies and black olive pattern atop slow cooked onions are traditional. The addition of tomato slices is a nice, seasonal touch but, alas, tomatoes are not in season here.
I made the whole pastry recipe and set half of it aside for another use. I made half of the topping recipe and made one 7x11 inch rectangular tart. This made 4 single servings. Two we had for dinner with a spinach salad, the other two are earmarked for brunch with an egg on top. The kids passed, as you can imagine.

Pissaladiere - Home Baking, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Pastry
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter - cold
1 large egg
About 2 tbsp ice water

Topping
Scant 2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
2 or 3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of ground cloves
Water
20-25 small anchovy fillets
About 15 Nicoise of other small black olives (I used Kalamata)

At least 2 hours before you wish to serve the tart, make the pastry.
Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Use the coarse side of a box grater to grate the butter into the bowl, then toss with the flour. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut in the butter so that you have small buttery crumbs. Break the egg into the bowl and mix in lightly with a fork. Add the ice water, staring with 2 tbsps, tossing and mixing to moisten the flour. If necessary, add more water, just enough so that the dough comes together in a mass when you pull it together.

Transfer to a heavy plastic bag. Press from outside the bag to make a flat disk about 6 inches across. Seal well and refrigerate while you prepare the topping (the dough can be made up to 2 days ahead).

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375f. Lightly oil a shallow 13x9 inch baking pan. (I used a tart pan)

To prepare the topping, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the onions, thyme, bayleaf, salt, and cloves and cook over medium heat, turning frequently, until the onions wilt and soften. Lower the heat slightly and continue to cook: After they release their liquid, the onions will soften further, but as the liquid evaporates, the onions may start to stick-add a little water as necessary to prevent sticking. The whole cooking process will take about an hour. When done, the onions will be very soft and sweet-tasting. Remove from the heat, and remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the crust. Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough. Flatten the dough by banging on it with a lightly floured rolling pin, then roll it out to a rectangle a little larger than the baking pan, rolling from the center outward.

Transfer the dough to the baking pan and gently ease it into the corners. Trim off extra dough with a sharp knife. If necessary, use scraps of trimmings to patch any holes, pressing down on the edges of the patch to seal well. Prick the dough all over, about ten times, with a fork to prevent puffing, then line it with foil or parchment paper. Weight the foil with dried beans of rice or pastry weights.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until the edges are firm and just touched with colour. Remove from the oven and remove the foil and weights.

Spread the cooked onions all over the bottom of the crust. Make a pattern with the anchovies, as you please. Arrange the olives to make a pattern or randomly, as you please.

Place the tart back in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are touched with brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let cool for at least 10 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.



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