NO! It's not a pizza, it's a very traditional recipe from Alsace, on the border between France and Germany. If you want to make it a bit fancier you can always add mushrooms or grated gruyère cheese or a washed-rind cheese like Reblochon - or if you are a 'gourmand' pig like me, all of the above.
125 g (4½ oz) crème fraîche
250 g (9 oz) quark
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
240 g (8½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg yolks
100 ml (3½ fl oz) olive oil
10 smoked bacon or speck bacon rashers, thinly sliced
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
Combine the crème fraîche, quark and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Whisk together the egg yolks, 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of olive oil and 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of water in a bowl or jug, and pour into the well. Using a fork, stir until a loose dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 1 minute, then shape it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes; this will make it easier to roll out.
Preheat the oven to 250°C (500°F). If you have one, place a pizza stone on the centre rack; otherwise use a thick baking tray.
Place a frying pan over medium heat and drizzle in the remaining olive oil. When hot, add the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes, or until caramelised. Remove to a plate. Add the onion to the same pan, reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for 8-10 minutes, or until translucent but without colour. Set aside.
Divide the dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it out to a 23 cm (9 inch) round and place on a sheet of baking paper. Spread a quarter of the cheese mixture over the top, leaving a 1 cm (½ inch) border around the edge. Sprinkle with a quarter of the bacon and onion mixture. Transfer the dough (on the baking paper) to the pizza stone or baking tray. (If you like, you can bake two tarts at a time without affecting the cooking time.)
Reduce the oven temperature to 220°C (425°F) and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. Repeat with the remaining tarts. Enjoy! (I have no doubt you will.)
Crisp golden potatoes are probably the one vegetable accompaniment that everyone loves - no matter what shape or form they come in. While the garlic and rosemary certainly add to the flavour of this dish, it is the duck fat that really makes it stand out. Just one taste and you'll be hooked.
6 large all-purpose potatoes (e.g. desiree or sebago)
160 g (5¾ oz/M cup) duck fat, at room temperature
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
16-18 thyme sprigs
8-10 young rosemary sprigs or sprig tips, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Scrub the potatoes under cold running water and pat dry. Put them on a chopping board, flattest side down, and cut horizontal slits into the potato, spacing them about 5 mm (¼ inch) apart. Take care not to cut all the way through – you want the slices to stay connected at the bottom of the potato.
Arrange the potatoes on the prepared tray. Brush all over with some of the duck fat, including the bottoms, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the slices start separating. Brush the potatoes again with duck fat, making sure some of it drips down between the slices. Gently separate the slices, if necessary, and insert garlic slices and sprigs of thyme and rosemary in between.
Return the tray to the oven and bake for a further 30–35 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp on the edges. Serve immediately, while the potatoes are at their crispest.
Definitely one to make when you want to impress your friends - easier than a soufflé but just as light, sweet and delicious. If you can, make it when fresh berries are in season but you can substitute with frozen if fresh are unavailable. And because this is all about the lightness of a soufflé, it should be made with organic or free-range eggs.
6 egg yolks
80 g (2¾ oz) caster
4 egg whites
pinch of sea salt
20 g (¾ oz) butter
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
100 g (3½ oz) cherries, halved and pitted
100 g (3½ oz) strawberries, hulled and quartered
100 g (3½ oz) raspberries
100 g (3½ oz) blueberries
2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
30 g (1 oz) butter
1 tablespoon brandy
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
To make the berry compote, place a large frying pan over medium–high heat, add the fruit, sugar and butter and cook for 5 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and the juices have started to thicken. Pour in the brandy and flambé. To do this, light a long match and ease it down to the surface of the liquid, without actually touching it. Remove the match as soon as the alcohol ignites and allow it to burn off. Transfer the compote to a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
Put the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale.
Put the egg whites and salt in a second bowl and whisk with electric beaters until foamy. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat to glossy soft peaks.
Fold one-third of the egg white meringue into the yolk mixture to loosen it. Add the remaining egg whites in two batches, gently folding to combine. Place a 20-22 cm (8-8½ inch) non-stick ovenproof frying pan over low heat, add half the butter and heat until just foaming. Pour in half the egg mixture and shake the pan gently to spread it out. Cook for 5 minutes, then transfer to the oven to bake for 3 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.
Spoon half the berries over one side of the omelette, run a spatula around the edge and fold it in half to enclose the filling. Slide it onto a large plate.
Wipe out the pan and repeat with the remaining butter, egg mixture and compote to make a second omelette (stir the egg mixture once or twice beforehand to ensure an even texture). Slide the second omelette onto the other half of the serving plate.
To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.
I must have made thousands of these in my early days as a chef, and no wonder. The buttery puff pastry is topped with a luscious almond cream and thinly sliced apple, then baked until crisp and caramelised. Served with a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream, it's hard to imagine a more delicious dessert.
2 pink lady apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 x 375 g (13 oz) roll of Carême puff pastry, thawed in the fridge (or if you have time, make your own)
15 g (½ oz) unsalted butter, melted
1–2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)
100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg yolk
100 g (3½ oz) almond meal
30 g (1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1½ tablespoons Calvados (apple liqueur)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
For the frangipane, place the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg yolk, then vigorously stir in the almond meal, flour and Calvados until smooth. Set aside.
Peel the apples, then cut them in half and carefully remove the core. Cut into very thin slices (about 2 mm/A/af inch thick if you can) and put in a bowl with the lemon juice and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of cold water. Stir once, then drain the apple slices on a clean tea towel (dish towel).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to create a larger rectangle. Using an 18 cm (7 inch) side plate or ring mould as a guide, cut two rounds from the pastry. Place the rounds on the prepared baking tray and prick all over with a fork to stop it puffing up too much. Any remaining pastry can be pressed back together, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for another use.
Evenly spread 1-2 heaped tablespoons of frangipane on each pastry disc. Any leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Arrange the apple slices in a concentric circle on top of the frangipane, overlapping to create a flower shape, and place two or three half-slices in the middle to finish. Brush the apple with melted butter and sprinkle with half the caster sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed in the centre and the apple slices are pale golden.
Serve hot or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.