Mum's Birthday Test Runs: Pissaladière

7/03/2008 04:38:00 PM

My first homemade pissaladière

When we started our planning last week, and I realised we had a definite French theme to the desserts, I started looking through my collection of cookbooks for appropriate snacky finger food. The first recipe that caught my eye was Tyler Florence's caramelized onion toast, in Tyler's Ultimate. In effect, it's a simplified version of pissaladière. Instead of pastry or bread dough, he uses a sliced baguette as a base for the caramelised onions (although he'd say carrrr-melized), anchovies and olives.

Later that night, I was chatting with my fabulous Francophile foodie friend Clarice. When I told her that I was thinking of making pissaladière for the party, she responded with an enthusiastic, "OMG YUM pissaladière!!!!! Ina's recipe is amazing!!!!!!!!!" Well! That was all the encouragement I needed! The recipe is available online, here.

The next day when I went shopping for the ingredients, I happened to see that pissaladière is this month's featured "classic dish" in Gourmet Traveller. This reassured me that I am very much on the pulse of current culinary trends. (I know, how could I have slept at night otherwise?)

1. The Onions

A shitload of onions are sliced thinly (you'll need a good knife, or a mandolin), and then sautéed in olive oil with garlic and thyme until nice and soft and sweet.

2. The Bread Dough

I can categorically say that I have never had as great a success with yeasted dough as I had with this one. Mix and knead (with a dough hook), and that was all there was to it.
It didn't seem to rise that much (it was freezing that day!), but the dough was wonderfully soft and elastic, and stretched out easily to fit my baking sheet.

3. The topping

You should be more generous with the topping than I was. I couldn't get a criss-cross (will make you jump) pattern happening with the anchovies, as I only had a small jar. I also had to spread the onions more thinly than is desirable because I decided at the last minute to test the recipe on bread dough, and on puff pastry.

Bake it at a very high heat for 15 minutes, and Bob's your oncle.

The Verdict:
- They were très delicieux, but a bit too salty for our taste. I think that this is because I got the anchovies from the bottom of the jar, covered in the oil and salt of their departed brothers. I'll buy a new jar for next time, and give the anchovies a little soak in water first.
- Puff pastry was good, but only hot out of the oven. This makes things difficult for timing purposes. It also crumbles everywhere, which is not a sexy look for people or carpets.
- Ina's bread dough rocks. It was nice and crispy, and the slightly sweet taste from the honey in the dough was great. As a bonus, the bread-pissaladière is edible at room temperature too. I'm making Ina's version!
- I'll probably do 4 loaves (freezing the dough, making the topping in advance, and assembling and baking them on the day). I'll bake 2 at a time, cut them when they come out and pass them around.

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  1. Yum, I love pissaladière! And can also attest that it's particularly delectable made with red onions.

  2. This looks great and I think it'll look really pretty for the party.
    Did you use anchovies jarred in oil? I see many food mags recommend the salt-packed ones, like Agostina Recca, which are pretty expensive @ about $20/tin. Then I think you soak them in milk before using.

  3. Oh, and: "criss-cross (will make you jump)"

  4. i totally love pissaladiere. what is the dough they normally use, is it more of a shortcrusty base?

    my french friend also puts small black olives on hers. yummmm

  5. Yum this looks SO good. How fun doing all these test runs (and sensible too!) Is that Jill Dupleix' influence I see on your olive oil in a squeezy bottle? :)

  6. Boffcat - Thank-you! I'd love to try it with red onions. :)

    Lisa - I used anchovies in oil, lol I can't afford $20 a tin! Hehehe.

    Ran - I think it's normally shortcrust pastry or bread. I was hoping that puff pastry would have more of a party feel to it.

    Laura - Yup, Jill Dupleix! Such a good tip. We always buy our olive oil in big tins, so decanting to a little squeezy bottle totally makes sense. :)

    xox Sarah

  7. Hi! I just read this now, and I loved the Simpsons reference... ahhh the last peanut!
    Also the recipe looks great. I've been looking for things to do with lots of onions.

  8. Anonymous10:17 AM

    2861I just made pissaladiere today for the first time, and I love the flavor, but I had a problem with the puff pastry that the recipe told me to use for it. The recipe told me to leave a 1" edge around the fillings. When done the edges were nice and golden and puffy but right under the onions the pastry was still soft and gooey. I wonder what I could have done to prevent this so that the pastry under it was puffy and crusty too.



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