Mini Alsatian Onion Pizzas
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Winter is coming!! Or at least Autumn is here. The skies have darkened and the driveway is strewn with leaves, a perfect time to catch up with friends for Alasatian pizza and a glass of red before winter arrives!
Alsatian pizza also known as tarte flambée, French pizza, or flammekueche depending which side of the border you're on. It's an onion topped flatbread/pizza, not common with caramelised onion but doubly tasty because of it. The Alsatian pizza often has bacon on top, sometimes with sour cream, fromage blanc or crème fraîche underneath the onion. A pizza known for it's wood oven charred edges, it's just as delicious made in a home oven.
Using Rose's Alsatian pizza recipe from the excellent "The Bread Bible", Rose varies from the standard by using black olives instead of the usual bacon or lardons. I doubled the dough batch today and swapped half the white flour for wholemeal spelt flour, plus I added a few tablespoons of red chia seeds. I also added a splash of brandy and a splosh of crème fraîche in the toppings.
Without doubling, Rose's recipe makes one 10 inch (approx 25 cm) pizza, or in my doubled case 10 mini pizzas.
The dough starts with white flour, wholemeal spelt, red chia seeds, instant yeast and sugar are whisked together. Salt is then whisked in.
A well is made in the centre of the flour and water added. I added a few teaspoons of water extra due to wholemeal spelt flour being included.
Then mixed together until a rough shaggy dough forms.
Off for a rise in an oiled container, overnight is best if you have time.
I made the onion topping at this stage, it's like onion jam ... delicious, caramelised onions.
Butter is melted in olive oil.
Onions thinly sliced.
The onions, sugar, salt and pepper are added to the pan. Cover the pan with a tightly fitted lid and then sweat the onions down for 45 minutes.
They look like this, fluid has been released, the onions are cooked but have no colour yet.
Heat is turned up, I added just a few teaspoons of brandy at this stage... it was reminding me so much of French onion soup I thought I'd try it. You could use a splash of your favourite balsamic. The onions are cooked until the liquid has evaporated and they are golden brown.
Crushed garlic and thyme are added at this stage, I used fresh lemon thyme because it's all I had. I cooled then chopped the onions to a suitable mini pizza topping consistency, covered and then popped in fridge ready for the next day.
Next day the dough is brought back to room temperature and I weighed out ten 40 grams balls. There was a little bit left over for a tester pizza. They sat loosely covered to "relax" for fifteen minutes.
I have mini pizza pans but I wanted a less formal friendly shape and not too thin for hand held individual pizzas. So I just stretched the balls out a bit, put them on a silpat topping a baking tray. Loosely covered in oiled plastic wrap they rise for 30 to 45 minutes. I took my prepared onions out of the fridge to return to room temperature at this stage too.
Your oven is pre heated, your pizza stone or extra baking tray is in there too getting nice and hot. Slide your tray of risen pizza/s into the oven on top of pizza stone. Yes, that's right they don't have any topping yet but wait...
5 minutes later remove your tray from the oven.
The partially baked bases are now topped, I spread on a little crème fraîche to add an acid component.
Then topped with the caramelised onions and black olives.
A little gruyere cheese completed the topping and it was back in the oven to bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and crust golden.
Base crust is evenly golden brown and super crisp.
The interior is light, almost fluffy, with the crunch of chia, surrounded by the thin crisp crust for the "bite" you expect from a good pizza.
I served the pizzas with baby fresh lemon thyme leaves.
Happy Baking :)
Today has been one of the 'Rose's Bread Bible Bakers' bakes where a group of fabulous bakers get together and bake from the pages of 'The Bread Bible'.
The Bread Bible is available from Amazon and all good book stores.