200g bavette steak, thinly sliced
About 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cayenne pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons beef extract
60g Onion jam (see p. 291) or use a good-quality bought one
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the base
Plain flour, for dusting
500g all-butter puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon double cream
For the sour onions
3 small red onions
100ml cider vinegar
50g demerara sugar
For the crème fraîche topping
75g crème fraîche
75g soft blue cheese, such as dolcelatte, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Some fresh watercress
Start with the base. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry to a circle of approximately 28cm in diameter. Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
To make the sour onions, start by cutting the peeled onions into sixths lengthways, leaving the root on so the wedges remain intact – they should be about the size and shape of orange segments.
Place the cider, cider vinegar and demerara sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and add the onion segments. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 5–8 minutes, until the onions start to soften. Turn the onions over and cook for a further 5 minutes until soft. Remove the onions from their cooking liquid and place on a baking tray. Give them a blast with the blowtorch until charred around the edges. If you haven’t got a blowtorch, why not?! In that case, stick them under a hot grill instead. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7. Take the pastry out of the fridge and pierce all over with a fork. Mix together the egg yolk and double cream and brush this on top. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry rises and is crisp and golden. Turn the oven down to 110°C/Gas Mark ½ and continue to ‘dry’ the pastry out for a further 15 minutes. Be careful that it doesn’t burn!
While the pastry’s baking, cook the beef. Dust the steak strips in cornflour, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat. Add the steak and fry until crisp; this will take about 6–8 minutes. Don’t crowd the pan – you may need to fry the meat in batches to brown it properly. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt and cayenne pepper while still warm.
Once the pastry is crisp and dried out, remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Turn the oven back up to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
Brush the pizza base with the beef extract. Spread a layer of the onion jam on top, add the beef and return to the oven to warm through for about 5 minutes.
Put the crème fraîche and blue cheese into a mixing bowl and whisk until thick. Fold in the chives and season – if the mixture’s too thick, add a little water to loosen it up.
Cover the top of the pizza with the charred red onions. Spoon some of the crème fraîche and blue cheese mixture on top, scatter on some watercress and serve.