This Provençal tart is one of my favourite things to eat for a light lunch with salad and always feels much more elegant than a quiche. While still a tart, the cream and egg filling of the latter is usurped here for a lighter mound of soft and sweet onions, topped with anchovies and black olives.
The filling is delicious cooked on top of some shop bought puff pastry or flat bread, but using a homemade short crust pastry shell is somehow more sumptuous and substantial.
For mine I used a recipe by Julia Childs, whose book I’ve been meaning to dip into for a while. When making the pastry, the amount of water she specifies makes incredibly wet dough which seemed a bit bizarre, but actually, once it had rested in the freezer for half an hour, it was easy to work with and made the most incredible, melt-in-the-mouth pastry. I also added in some diced, skinned tomatoes which added colour and richness.
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
To make the Short Crust Pastry
(to line a 8-10 inch cake tin with a removable bottom which has been turned over for easy removal)
- Place 5 oz. Plain White Flour, ½ tsp Salt, Pinch of Sugar, 4 oz. Chilled Butter cut into ½ in pieces into a food processor and blitz until it starts to come together. Add 3 tbsp Water and blitz again. It should come together in a wet ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the freezer for half an hour.
To make the filling
- Heat 4 tbsp of Olive Oil in a large casserole dish. To this add 2lbs Chopped Onions (about 5 onions – I used a mixture red and white), a bouquet garni, a few Sprigs of Thyme, 2 unpeeled Cloves Garlic and a pinch of Salt. Sweat over a medium heat for 1 hour until tender.
- In the last 15 minutes, add in 3 skinned, deseeded and diced Tomatoes. Discard the bouquet garni, thyme and garlic and taste for seasoning.
To partially bake the pastry shell
Preheat the oven to 200˚.
- Place the dough on a cold floured surface and dust with more flour. With a rolling pin, flatten the ball into a thick, even round, then continue to roll out the dough until it is about 2 inches larger all round than your cake tin.
- Place in the cake tin, pressing the dough into the base and up the sides. Line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans, then place in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Remove the baking beans/parchment, prick the base with a fork all over, and return to the oven for 3-5 minutes until golden.
- Fill the pastry case with the onion mixture. Over this arrange 8-10 Anchovy fillets in a pattern and then dot about 16 stoned Black Olives around these. Drizzle over some oil and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes until bubbling and the anchovies have started to dissolve.