Friday, 10 February 2012

Welcome to Better Get Baking.  So what to put on my first post?  I decided that "Fortune Favours the Bold" so I've gone for some big bold flavours from a lunch in Provence.

Pissaladiere - some claim it's the original pizza: a French creation enjoyed (and made) by the Papal entourage whilst resident in Avignon, then taken to Italy where tomatoes and cheese were added.  Others say it was brought to France by the Italians and the French removed the cheese and tomatoes.  I have no idea if any of that's true, but I know that it's easy to make and really good to eat.  Plus, you can make it from the pantry - no trips to specialist shops (or even the supermarket) are good is that?

For the topping:
2 large or 3 medium onions, sliced across into half moons
3 tblsp olive oil
1 good fat pinch of salt
1 heaped tblsp Dijon mustard
10-12 anchovies, sliced in half lengthways so you have long thin strips
12-15 pitted black olives sliced in half
  1. Place the onions, olive oil and pinch of salt into a saucepan (if you have one with a glass lid that would be great), bring to a good sizzle then reduce the heat to low/medium, put the lid on and cook for around 40 mins - stirring occasionally - until they are caramelised and golden brown (the glass lid makes your life really easy!).
For the base:
2 cups of plain or all purpose flour
1 tsp table or fine salt
2 tsps instant dried yeast
Approx 140mls warm water
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, start by adding 120mls (about 1/2 a cup) of warm water and mix - either with the dough hook on your mixer, or by hand (that's my preferred method).  You need to bring the dough together so that it leaves the sides of the bowl clean without being sticky.  If you need more water, add it a tablespoonful at a time...and if you find that the dough is sticky, add a little more flour.
  2. Next, turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes.  You will suddenly feel the dough become softer and more pliable - when that happens, it's ready for rolling.  Now, providing you use instant dried yeast you can use the dough straight away.  If you couldn't get the instant variety, leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 mins, knock it back, knead it a little and now you're ready to roll!
  3. Roll out the dough to a 30x20cm (12x8in) rectangle and place on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Spread the Dijon mustard over the rolled out dough using an offset spatula, then top that with the caramelised onions.  The mustard and the onions can be spread right to the edge if you'd prefer a more uniform look when slicing it later.
  5. Next, arrange the slivers of anchovy in a lattice pattern over the onions and place a piece of olive at each intersection.
  6. Bake at 220 C / 425 F for approx 20-25 minutes until the dough base is crisp.
Allow to cool a little then cut into squares or wedges and serve on their own as an appetizer, or with a salad for lunch.

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