french onion tart

by Sharon Santoni

Many of the most traditional recipes from the South of France are quite simple and made with inexpensive, easy to find ingredients. At a time when food was homegrown or locally cultivated, the best ingredients were those that were already to hand.

french onion tart on antique plate

This French onion tart is no exception. This is not the creamy, buttery onion tart from the East of France Alsace area. This tart is known as a “pissaladière” and is all about onions caramelised in olive oil, their flavour heightened by a few marinated anchovy fillets and some Mediterranean black olives.

This French onion tart is a firm favourite here. Easy and quick to prepare, it makes a great snack or appetiser and is the perfect compliment to a glass of rosé wine as an apéritif before dinner.

caremised onions

Ingredients & How To Make

To make this onion tart for four to six people, you will need a pastry or dough base. I generally use a pizza dough, but this recipe goes equally well with a flaky or short crust pastry.  The important thing is to remember and be generous with the olive oil.

Peel and slice finely 1.5 kg (or 3 lbs) of white onions. This is the longest and most tedious step of this dish (if you have the secret for slicing lots of onions without having tears streaming down your face, then I’d like to hear it!),

Drop the sliced onions into a large pan with several generous slugs of olive oil, and cook gently until they have caramelised. While they are cooking, you can add a few anchovy filets, which will quickly melt into the onions.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the pastry or dough base. I roll mine out and lay it onto a sheet of wax paper with a little olive oil, simply because it is so much easier to remove the finished tart from the baking dish to serve.

dough and onions ready to make tart

Spread the onions evenly over the base, and add a few anchovy filets and delicious olives. A drop more olive oil on the top, and it all goes in to the oven.

Cook for about 25 minutes and serve warm.

french onion tart with anchovies and olives

The easiest and most delicious French onion tart you could find. You can thank me later.

french onion tart on antique plate


Lindy May 12, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Sounds delicious and must be so aromatic! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks ahead of time! Stay safe and healthy ❤️

Katie May 12, 2020 - 4:33 pm

Sounds perfectly delicious! I love an onion tart! I do have a trick for cutting onions with no tears. Many years ago I learned that if you light a candle next to where you are cutting, the flame will attract and burn off the gasses before it can reach your eyes. I have been known to light as couple extra as security haha

Sharon Santoni May 12, 2020 - 6:01 pm

Katie that is amazing! Thank you, I’ll definitely try this one 🙂



Mumbai May 13, 2020 - 7:49 pm

Yes, thank you Katie . Never heard before but will try it too. As yet I used my Moulinex machine which has a special bit to cut a huge amount of onions.

Lynn Lalima May 14, 2020 - 12:49 pm

Looks good got to try it.. Love onions

Meredith Hart May 12, 2020 - 4:52 pm

Refrigerate your onions. No tears if they are refrigerator cold. But I am going to try the candle trick. That’s new

Donna Wilkinson May 12, 2020 - 5:08 pm

No tears if you put a wooden toothpick in your mouth before you begin to slice the onions…..
Thank you for this delicious recipe!

Penny Hammack May 15, 2020 - 11:15 am

Keep your onions in the fridge to avoid the tears. For easier slicing get a mandolin or you could use a food processor with a large feed tube.

Taste of France May 12, 2020 - 7:02 pm

This is one of my favorites. I like to let the dressed pissaladière rise, covered with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, for at least 30 minutes before baking, so the bread base is lighter, like focaccia, rather than crispy, like pizza crust.
I also sprinkle garlic cloves, still in their skins, on top. When the pissaladière is cooked, I squeeze the confit garlic cloves out of their skins. You can’t have enough garlic.

susan October 18, 2021 - 4:35 am

This tart sounds amazing! And I love this suggestion of the garlic cloves on top!!

Emm May 12, 2020 - 8:20 pm

This looks so good, thanks.
Another onion trick, read but not yet tried, is to wet your knife blade. Apparently, the gases/fumes go to the nearest moisture, which is usually your eyes.

Sharon Santoni May 13, 2020 - 8:07 pm

I had heard that too Emm, but sadly it doesn’t work for me 🙁

Kristy May 13, 2020 - 9:41 am

Hi, Sharon!
I wear RGP (Rigid Gas Permeable) contacts and have no trouble at all slicing onions. Once I was wearing my glasses—that was another story entirely.

Rachel May 13, 2020 - 9:55 am

Sounds delicious. A secret to peeling onions is to ask a contact wearer to peel them, no tears at all!

Leslie Lord May 13, 2020 - 10:48 pm

That sounds and looks delicious! I must try the recipe!

Catherine Mattiske May 14, 2020 - 9:39 am

Thanks for sharing. To peel onions without crying wear contact lenses or find a friend who does. Never a tear shed. Xx

Rose Petal May 15, 2020 - 1:28 am

This looks wonderful! I place a bowl of water next to my chopping board and wet my knife and fingers frequently. No more tears!

Lynette Bailey May 16, 2020 - 11:56 pm

This looks absolutely delicious and I love all the onion tips! I keep mine in the fridge and if I have a lot to do, I place a large cutting board on the stove under the exhaust fan and turn it on.

grace May 18, 2020 - 2:52 pm

Try cutting the root end off after the top. Someone in food service told me that and it has worked.

Amy Martin June 23, 2020 - 12:43 am

Love this recipe. My trick is to keep puff pastry on hand. Light and flaky compliments the buttery soft onions and the bite if anchovy’s and olives. Mmmm.

Denise Mazzotta June 23, 2020 - 8:01 pm

Is there a recipe for the pizza dough used in this tart available?

Leslie June 28, 2020 - 4:07 pm

Cook at what temperature? I’d love to try it. I get my husband to slice the onions!

Jillian Hardie July 14, 2020 - 4:15 am

This is one of my favourite food to view but I don’t like the taste for some reason, I have tried for years to cook this and have had no success with the flavour. I love all the ingredients but just not together… have never tried one in France on my visits so I can’t tell if it is my cooking.

Jane Schaillee May 20, 2021 - 5:09 pm

I’m lucky as I wear contact lenses and so can peel onions for days

S May 20, 2021 - 9:55 pm

Sounds yummy. Can’t wait to try it.
I heard placing a wet paper towel/ towel near the onions will help prevent your eyes from tearing up because they are attracted to moisture. Will have to test this theory out.


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