Put the lardons into a large, cold,
non-stick frying pan and turn the heat on
low. Cook the lardons very gently, stirring
occasionally, until the fat has melted into
the pan and they are beginning to brown
and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to lift the
bacon into a mixing bowl and set aside,
but keep all the fat in the pan.
Add the onions, oil and 2 thyme sprigs.
Cook over a low heat for 20-25 mins until
the onions are softened and beginning to
turn golden. Stir in the sugar and cook
over a higher heat for 5 mins more until
golden brown. Tip into the bowl with the
lardons and set aside to cool.
When the onions are just about cool,
tip the bread mix into another mixing bowl
with leaves stripped from 1 thyme sprig,
and make up following pack instructions,
but don’t knead or rise. Scatter the
semolina, polenta or flour over a 30 x
40cm shallow tin or baking tray, and roll
out the dough to fit it. Season the ricotta
with 1 tsp salt and some pepper, and
spread over the dough, leaving a small
border. Mix the egg and Gruyère into
the onion mixture with seasoning, then
spread over the ricotta. Scatter with
remaining thyme. Open-freeze for 2 hrs,
then wrap well in cling film and freeze
for up to 3 months. Or heat oven to 200C/
180C fan/gas 6 to bake straight away.
Cook for 40 mins until base is crisp and
golden, then eat warm or cool, sliced into
pieces with a green salad. To bake from
frozen, heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3
and bake for 30 mins, then increase temp
to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 15-20 mins.