I can’t remember how I first experienced this dish (and for those who were expecting that anecdote – sorry folks!), but I plucked it from wherever that was yesterday and made it for dinner and I’m going to make it again tomorrow (we had leftovers today – and if you haven’t gathered yet, I like to make the same dish over and over again until I am completely sick of it… not a good idea).
Powder your hands with flour and go for it. Just combine the dough by pressing it together, folding it onto itself, turning it. You will get sticky hands but just keep flouring them… if you want to remove the excess dough from your hands, take up some flour from the bag and rub your hands together with it – discard whatever comes off. When the dough looks more or less in one lump, flour a worksurface: a light even sprinkling from high up, you don’t want to over-flour, you just don’t want the dough to stick. Then tip the dough out of the bowl and start kneading: the idea is to form strands of gluten in order that the dough will not collapse under its own weight when it begins to rise, but will be able to hold its structure. You stretching and working the dough forms long strands of gluten. Anyway, anything that stretches and warms the dough will form the gluten you strive for: slapping the dough down on the worksurface, rolling and stretching it. There is the more traditional method of holding the end nearest you with the heel of your hand whilst stretching it away from you with the heel of the other, then rotating it by 90 degrees and repeating. It is easy to under knead but not as easy to over knead – you would have to keep going for about half an hour before this happens, so don’t worry about that. About ten minutes is about right – you will notice the dough becomes smooth and elastic and if you lightly press your finger into the dough it should quickly spring back. Once you have achieved this, cover the ball of dough in a thin layer of oil to stop it from drying out, place it back into the bowl and cover with a plastic bag or damp towel. Put this in a warm place to double in size, which takes about 45 minutes.
Preparing the toppings
Whilst the miracle of biochemistry is taking hold, slice the onions into rings and sautee in a frying pan with a knob of butter until they are soft and golden brown. Remove them from the pan and fry the bacon, which you should first slice into strips. Season the crème fraiche with pepper to taste – I don’t add salt because the bacon is quite salty already, but you can do as you please. Mix in the onions with the crème fraiche. When the bacon starts to crisp, take it off the heat.
|Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 17:58|