Updated Nov 2015: with added pictures of larger “croissaladière”
The classic Pissaladière is true celebration of the simplest of ingredients that give the most impressive of flavours. A thin bread base with a topping of slightly sweet confit shallots, salty anchovies and juicy olives (green, black, stuffed or a mixture!). It makes for the most wonderful light meal.
However, instead of using bread dough, my favourite way of making it is with croissant dough, which makes an already special bake even more special! However, I often go for a quick-version croissant dough which works very well indeed here: I have given the recipe for that quicker croissant dough below.
I also love making this with focaccia dough, adding a handful of chopped fresh basil leaves to the dough at the initial mixing stage.
You can, of course, add all manner of goodies to the topping: a few chopped pieces of sun-dried tomato, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil……..
For speed, I often use a croissant dough or even a bread dough that I’d made and frozen earlier: I always like to freeze some of my doughs for a later stage when I fancy quick bakes such as this.
I also like to make up a larger batch of confit shallots/onions/garlic, keeping them covered in oil in a screw-top jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Sometimes I keep the garlic cloves whole but at other times I slice them thinly and confit them with the onions or shallots: either way, you get a fabulously sweet-savoury treat!
With the dough and the onions made (or prepared well ahead) it is then just about the assembly, which can done in minutes if the shallots, anchovies and olives are ready to go!
The drained oil has a wonderful flavour and is also excellent for using in and for being drizzled liberally over focaccia or used in salad dressings.
Recipe: croissaladière – makes 2 large ones or 10 small ones
Quick croissant dough:
- 350g strong white bread flour
- 7g easy-blend dried yeast
- 40g caster sugar
- 7g fine sea salt
- 220-240ml cold water (or use full-fat milk for a softer dough: either works excellently)
- 200g unsalted best quality butter, frozen until very firm
Confit onions/shallots and garlic:
- 4 large onions or several large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 bulbs garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
- a few sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
- fine sea salt
- freshly milled black pepper
- about 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
- smoked anchovies (or used tinned or marinated anchovies)
- a small handful olives (black, green or stuffed), drained if in brine
- freshly milled black pepper
(1) Make the confit shallots/onions & garlic (can be made ahead – see above):
Slice the shallots or onions thinly, put them in a small pan with the whole garlic cloves, a little sea salt, some fresh thyme or rosemary. Pour over enough extra-virgin olive oil to come almost to the top. Bring to barely a simmer and cook very gently for about an hour and a half. Leave to cool in the pan.
NB: you can instead pop the onions/shallot/garlic with their oil into a shallow baking dish, cover with foil and roast at about 150C(fan) for between an hour and 90 minutes until they are soft and squidgy with a deep golden brown colour.
Make up the dough for laminating:
(2) Mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt together and grate the frozen butter into the mixture. Add most of the water (or milk) and mix well. Add this to the bowl and mix gently to form a soft but not sticky dough, trying not to crush the butter too much. Add more water or milk if needed. You can cover and leave this dough for about an hour or so in the fridge for it all to firm up a little or go straight into the lamination.
Laminate the dough:
(3) Roll out the dough to a rectangle with sides about 15cm by 45cm. Fold in three, letter-style, give it a quarter turn and repeat the rolling out, folding and turning twice more, brushing off excess flour at each stage. This is now a laminated dough and it literally takes minutes to get this stage done. Cover with clingfilm and chill for a few hours: I have sometimes made up and laminated the dough in the morning before work and left it in the fridge until later that day to use.
(4) Roll out the dough to a rectangle just over 50cm by 20cm, trim the edges.
(5) If making small ones, cut into squares about 10cm by 10cm – or any size you wish. Place on baking trays lined with greaseproof. NB: You can freeze these squares of dough at this stage, if preferred, wrapping them in greaseproof and topping them later from frozen – just give them time to defrost before allowing them to rise.
If making large ones, cut the rolled out dough in half and place on baking trays lines with greaseproof. (or freeze one piece for use at a later stage)
(6) Drain the confit onions and garlic, reserving the oil for a salad dressing or focaccia, for example. Scatter over the dough, along with the anchovies (casually dropped over or placed in a criss-cross pattern) and a few olives. Add a generous grinding of freshly milled black pepper.
(7) Leave to rise for about an hour at room temperature until slightly risen and bake in an oven preheated to 190C (fan) for 15-20 minutes until deep golden for the smaller ones or about 20-25 minutes for the larger ones.