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_MG_3786There’s some­thing extremely sat­is­fy­ing about bak­ing bread from scratch — play­ing around with the yeast, get­ting your hands into a com­pletely sticky mess knead­ing the dough, and end­ing up covered in flour. My kit­chen always looks like it has been attacked by a flour bomb when I embrace bread bak­ing. As sat­is­fy­ing as it is, there’s also some­thing off-put­ting about recipes con­tain­ing yeast — I always think that they might be dif­fi­cult, or that they’re going to take much longer than they actu­ally do.

It is, there­fore, equally as sat­is­fy­ing to have a bit of a cheat’s ver­sion — some­thing that resembles fresh bread but doesn’t require yeast and has a mere 45-minute rest­ing time, which isn’t much if you spend that pre­par­ing the top­ping and whatever else you’re going to serve it with.

I’ve called this one a tart, because it resembles an open tart, but it’s also a bit like a flat­bread. It’s actu­ally based on an Anna­bel Lang­bein piss­aladière recipe, which is like an open focac­cia tart, or like pizza but thick­er. My Aunt Robyn, who is fam­ous for her deli­ciously long lunches in her beau­ti­ful Te Horo home, would often lure me and my friends up the coast on Sundays. We’d be met with a glass of rosé, and there would always be beau­ti­ful fresh pro­duce and her latest recipe on show. I fell in love with this simple lunch dish; very impress­ive but easy to make in advance. It’s great at room tem­per­at­ure and com­ple­ments many meals. Whatever you call it — and let’s face, I’m nev­er going to be able to pro­nounce piss­aladière prop­erly — it’s a simple addi­tion to your lunch or brunch table, and would also be great along­side a winter soup. 

Caramelised Onion, Bacon and Feta Tart


Tart base

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml warm water
  • 100ml olive oil


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 large red onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves gar­lic, crushed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp bal­sam­ic vinegar
  • 250g streaky bacon
  • 3–4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 100g feta, crumbled into chunks



  1. First make the tart base. Com­bine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add the water and oil and mix in with a knife to form a soft dough.
  3. Cov­er and rest for 45 minutes, or leave overnight in the fridge.
  4. Next, make the top­ping. Heat the olive oil and but­ter in a fry­ing pan.
  5. Add the onions and gar­lic, along with a good pinch of salt, cov­er and cook until soft, stir­ring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the brown sug­ar and bal­sam­ic vinegar.
  7. Cook gently, uncovered and stir­ring occa­sion­ally, until the onions are thick and sticky, and no liquid remains in the pan — this can take a good 25–30 minutes.
  8. Set aside to cool.
  9. Chop the bacon into chunks and fry in a fry­ing pan until slightly cooked (be care­ful not to over­cook as they’re also going in the oven).
  10. Finely chop most of the thyme and add it with the bacon to the onion mixture.
  11. Pre­heat oven and bak­ing tray to 220˚C.
  12. Roll out the dough into a large rect­angle on top of a sheet of bak­ing paper.
  13. Fold up the edges of the dough slightly to give the tart an edge.
  14. Spread the car­a­mel­ised onion and bacon mix­ture over the tart base.
  15. Sprinkle over the feta chunks and gar­nish with the remain­ing thyme sprigs.
  16. Trans­fer with the bak­ing paper to the hot bak­ing tray, and bake for 30 minutes until the tart pastry is golden and the edges are slightly crisp.
  17. Serve warm with a green salad on the side for lunch, or cold on a picnic.

Serves 6–8

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