Onion Tart (Pissaladière) – Cook-the-book-fridays


Onion tart is such an ordinary name, but this tart is anything but ordinary. I had this for lunch, because I wanted to take pictures of the tart in daylight. I never have much luck taking food pictures using flash exposure in the evening. So I’ve been trying to get the cooking and photo shooting done during the day. It’s becoming a challenge when the day is shorter.

Back to my lunch, I had several pieces of this tart. It might as well be a full meal, with or without a glass of rosé. Well, I did not have a glass. Remember that: in My Paris Kitchen, David Lebovitz, the author of this recipe, tried to make the case that onion tart is best served with iced rosé, the way it is done in the rough-and-tumble Marseiles.

The crust is easier to make than most pizza dough. (It is a 64% hydration yeast dough with 13% olive oil, or 3/4 cup of water, 3 Tbsp of oil to 2 cups of all-purpose flour.) The tart took about two hours to complete, including mixing, fermenting and resting the dough and baking it. The dough can be left in the fridge to retard overnight and bake the next day. Or you can split the dough in half, leave half in the fridge to bake at a later time. The dough is easy, elastic and sturdy to handle. I’ve expected it to be more complicated. Based on past experiences, making tarts always take time and patience to do. But this recipe was more like making a caramelized onion pizza, except at a lower 400°F oven temperature.

The texture of the tart turned out more like bread, not the crisp and very thin crust that David mentioned. The crust puffed up quite a bit. The bottom of the crust was soft, despite the extra effort of putting a preheated pizza stone underneath the sheet pan with the tart placed on top. I don’t know how I can get the desired thinner crust other than using 00 flour or over-proofing the dough. Any idea?

Three pounds of sliced onions were used, cooked over medium heat in a Dutch oven. I might have put in too much olive oil, or set the heat too low, the onions were reduced to the texture of jam or paste after an hour long cooking. It did not take on a deep golden-brown as David has suggested. Topped the dough with the onion jam, 20 large olives and 16 oil-packed anchovy fillets, the finished tart was sweet, salty and full of umami. Just don’t tell people in Provence that I used a medley of Greek olives, instead of Nicoise olives, and called it a pissaladière.

Whichever manner you are so inclined to name this tart, I’d call it a flavor bomb. I’ll be happy to eat it or serve it as an appetizer for the holidays, knowing that the tart will be gone in no time because it’s so utterly delicious.

This tart is universally loved (I’ve never said that before), even baby W, who is barely one year old, did not stop picking on the olives and anchovy on the tart. The funniest and most impressive thing I see a baby eat. He made us roll in hearty laughs and amazement.

Please visit Cook-the-book-fridays to see the comments and discussions on this recipe from the online group, a community of engaging home cooks, who are working through each and every recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. You are welcome to join the group and cook along with us.

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  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    December 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

    It's so good, isn't it? I didn't have a problem getting my dough thin but I have in the past. Must have just got lucky this time around! PS: goes very well with rosé!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2016 at 11:58 am

    First thing tonight when I get home, put the bottle of white in the fridge (sorry – no rose over at my place this week). Hope mine turn out as good as yours!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    It really was a flavour bomb! I used Kalamata olives as well, they worked so well in this tart. And I was surprised by how easy the dough was as well! Your tart looks gorgeous 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen @ From Scratch
    December 17, 2016 at 12:25 am

    This really was delicious wasn't it? I had plans to make this during daylight hours for better photos, but I didn't quite get to it. Your photo is gorgeous!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2016 at 12:28 am

    This was so good, my husband kept raving about it.

  • Reply
    Mary Hirsch
    December 18, 2016 at 1:27 am

    For a minute I didn't know if "flavor bomb" was good or bad! Glad it moved to the delicious side of the meter. For the dough being thin and crispy, I just think less is more, meaning that maybe you don't need to use all the dough that the recipe makes. Sometimes I have just the right amount and then on another day, I don't. It's all in the rise and the day, I think. (Remembering I am not a scientist or weatherman.)

  • Reply
    December 18, 2016 at 2:12 am

    I never seem to get these recipes made during daylight hours. My photos need LOTS Of work.
    This one was really great. I forgot that David said the crust should be thin and crispy. Mine was a little more doughy and soft like you describe. Not sure how to get it closer to his intentions. I loved all the flavors though.

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    December 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    This was delicious! I'm already planning to make the dough again as a pizza base.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 5:10 am

    I like the idea of using half the dough at once and saving the other half in the fridge. I also think your mixed olives look beautiful and sound delicious. Great photo!

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