Makes two 14 by 8-inch tarts, serving 4 to 6
Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes (plus 24 hours refrigeration time)
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Pissaladière is a savory Provençal tart that is prized for its flavor and texture contrasts: salty black olives and anchovies on a backdrop of sweet caramelized onions and earthy fresh thyme, all laid over a wheaty crust that is part chewy pizza and part crisp cracker. The tart is easy to prepare, provided each ingredient is handled carefully. We made the dough in a food processor and kneaded it just enough so that it had the structure to stand up to the toppings. To keep our crust thin and prevent it from bubbling, we poked it all over with the tines of a fork. Starting the onions covered and then uncovering them to finish left them perfectly browned and caramelized, with no burning. A bit of water stirred in at the end of cooking kept them from clumping when spread over the crust. To protect the black olives and thyme from burning in the oven, we spread them on the dough first and then covered them with the onions. Finally, we chopped the anchovies to keep them from overpowering the other flavors (though some fish-loving tasters opted to add more whole fillets on top). Some baking stones can crack under the intense heat of the broiler; be sure to check the manufacturer’s website. You must refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours or up to three days.
3 cups (16½ ounces) bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1⅓ cups ice water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds onions, halved and sliced ¼-inch-thick
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
½ cup pitted niçoise olives, chopped coarse
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse, plus 12 fillets for garnish (optional)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- . Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
- For the toppings Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in onions, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and have released their juice, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer onions to bowl, stir in water, and let cool completely before using.
- One hour before baking, adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element, set baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to clean counter, divide in half, and cover loosely