52 Cookbooks #26: French onion tart

A twist on a French Pissaladière, and the twist is that this one is on a spelt pastry base.  The recipe is from the third Leon cookbook by Claire Ptak and Henry Dimbleby, titled Baking & Puddings.


52 Cookbooks: the challenge is to cook a new recipe from one of my

(many) cookbooks each week for a year...

Yes - to be contrary I'm not cooking anything sweet from this book*, I'm cooking a savoury recipe.  Usually pastry is MOH's domain but I thought I'd give it a go...

The recipe gives instructions for making the spelt pastry by hand and says to cut in the butter leaving it in larger chunks for flakier pastry.  Well that's good advice re the flakiness - it says to leave them the size of a garlic clove - but I'm pretty sure the Pulse button on my food processor is there for a reason.  And one of those reasons is pastry.  Yeap, step 1 and I've already diversified...

With the pastry resting in the fridge, slicing onions was next. They were fried and when they were soft and caramelised a teaspoon of vinegar, two teaspoons of water and some thyme were added.

Now which type of vinegar to use caused me much consternation - white, balsamic, cider or chip shop?  In the end I channelled my inner Frenchness and decided on white. Boy am I glad I did as I had one of those kitchen disasters that only I seem to have...

As I was stripping the thyme leaves from the stems my hand got too close to the hot frying pan. Using my quick reactions I pulled my hand away before it really got to sizzle but in the process I knocked the (newly opened) bottle of vinegar over... Beep. Beep. Beep.

Luckily I managed to avoid spilling too much vinegar (and burning my hand much) but the worktop got its second cleaning of the day - now this is why I'm glad I opted for white vinegar, at least the kitchen doesn't smell like a chip shop!

Right olives halved and anchovies opened, it was time to roll out the pastry and make all of this into a tart. This is it ready to go into the oven:

And here it is ready to eat:

The verdict

  • The pastry was quite crumbly, so I'm very proud of myself. 
  • It was quite salty but that's olives and anchovies for you!
  • It would make a great summer lunch - but it's not really finger food - and the topping combinations are endless (some suggestions are given at the bottom of the recipe)

* although there is a rather fabulous cake recipe which calls for half a bottle of red wine and a lot of figs. I'll be giving that some close attention at some point!