Only the French could invent a cheese-less pizza that people are mad for. A puffy pizza-type base is generously spread with caramelised onion, topped with a lattice of anchovies then studded with olives. While that combination might sound unusual, one bite is all it takes to be converted.
20g (5¾ tsp) dry yeast
60ml warm water
300g plain flour
½ tsp salt
180ml (¾ cup) warm water
30ml (1½ tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
15g unsalted butter
1kg brown onions, peeled and cut into 0.3cm slices
¼ tsp dried thyme (or ¾ tsp fresh thyme, chopped)
¼ tsp dried rosemary (or ¾ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped)
1 tbsp brown sugar
200g pitted Kalamata olives, drained
150g anchovy fillets in oil, drained and each cut in half lengthwise
1½ tsp fresh thyme leaves (optional) to finish
1. Caramelised onion: Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, rosemary and brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the onions soften. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes (scraping the bottom), until the onion is a deep golden-brown and caramelised. Allow to cool completely before use.
2. Dough: Mix yeast and water in a small bowl. Cover and let it stand for 10 minutes until foamy. Place flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle then pour in the water, olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix together with your hands until it forms a ball, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. The dough is quite soft and sticky, so add 1-2 tablespoons of flour as needed, but keep it to a minimum. Shape into a ball, then place into a large oiled bowl. Spray the surface of the dough with oil then cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
3. Preheat oven: 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 250C fan-forced (270C conventional, or as high as your oven will go) with an upside-down baking pan (45cm x 30cm) inside.
4. Stretch dough: Spray a large sheet of baking paper with oil. Place the dough on the paper then use your fingers to deflate the dough and spread out into a 42cm x 28cm rectangle, taking care to avoid touching the edges (so you get nice puffy crusts).
5. Toppings: Spread caramelised onion evenly on the surface, leaving a 2.5cm edge all around. Top with anchovies in a lattice pattern (6cm diamonds), then place an olive in the centre of each diamond.
6. Bake: Brush the edges with olive oil (to make them extra crispy). Working quickly, remove the hot baking tray from the oven and in one swift motion, drag the pissaladiere and baking paper onto the tray. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating at 5 minutes, until the edges are golden and the base is crisp.
7. To finish: Remove the pissaladiere from the oven, sprinkle all over with fresh thyme. Cut into 8-10 pieces and serve.