Tarte flambée (French) or Flammkuchen (German) is a dish from a region called Alsace in France. In Alsace, people speak a dialect which is a Germanic language. Alsace has gone back and forth between France and Germany, which is why Alsatian is also influenced by the French language. This dish is said to have been created by Allemanic German farmers from Alsace and is very popular in both countries.
The name means loosely translated “flame cake” or “pie baked in the flames”. It was baked in wood ovens in a similar way to pizza.
The dough is just like a pizza dough but the toppings are very different. Instead of tomato sauce, the dough is covered with crème fraîche and topped with bacon and caramelized onions. Some variations can include cheese as well.
Since crème fraîche is hard to find in stores in North America (and the ones I did find didn’t taste like the real thing at all), you can either make it yourself or substitute with sour cream. There are also some brands that produce 18% fat sour cream, which comes closer to crème fraîche. To make crème fraîche, all you have to do is pour 2 cups of heavy cream in a container, add 2 tbsp of yogurt (make sure it contains active bacterial culture), mix, cover and let stand at room temperature for 24-48 hours until thickened. It will thicken a little more in the fridge.
Tarte flambée or Flammkuchen
(makes 2 Pizza sized round pans)
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
In a bowl of an electric mixer with kneading hook, stir together the water, sugar and yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes foamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead for 5 minutes.
Cover and let rest for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size. Roll the dough out to fit two pizza pans and place the dough in the prepared pans. Alternatively, you can also make a rectangular shape and place the rolled out dough on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- 2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- dash of dried thyme leaves
- oil for the pan
- approx. 10 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and broken into small pieces
Cook the onions in a pan with some oil, salt, pepper and thyme covered for about 10 minutes until very soft. Uncover, and keep cooking for at least 20 minutes or longer, until the onions are caramelized. Stir often to make sure the onions don’t burn.
Mix the crème fraîche or sour cream with the garlic and spread 1 cup on the batter in each pan. Divide the caramelized onions and the bacon between the two tarts.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.