Fantastic Flammkuchen

Delicious. Quick. Easy.

It’s called a “tarte flambée” just across the French border, and like all delicious Catholic food, it originated in the kitchens of the ordinary people —  farmers from Alsace, Baden or the Palatinate. (Tarte flambée is French and Flammkuchen is German for “cake baked in the flames.”)

Housewives used to bake bread once a week and use a tarte flambée to test the heat of their wood-fired ovens. At peak  temperature, the oven would be ideal to bake a tarte flambée, which would bake in the embers in minutes.

Impress your friends with real European home cooking at its best – and this recipe makes two trays of flammkuchen, which you can devour hot or lukewarm.

Serve with a crisp dry Riesling or a Grauburgunder (Pinot Grigio) and a green salad.

What You Will Need
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for handling
1/2 tsp salt
1 package of yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup crème fraiche*
2 oz  heavy cream
fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg to taste
3 ounces finely chopped pancetta (or bacon or ham)
3 red onions, finely sliced
Chives, chopped

For the Dough
Add flour and salt to a large bowl, mix briefly and make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water, pour into the well and add the olive oil.

Knead well, either by hand or with a machine for 5 minutes (medium speed). The dough should come together nicely. (Too sticky? Add more flour until it cleans the sides of the bowl all by itself.)

Shape into a ball, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 45 minutes at a warm and sheltered place. After the dough has risen, punch it down, divide it into 2 equally sized portions, shape them into neat balls and let them rise again under a kitchen towel for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 480°F or as hot as your oven permits and place an oiled baking tray on the bottom level, so it gets preheated, too.

For the Topping
Mix crème fraîche and heavy cream with spices (salt, pepper and nutmeg) to taste. Cut red onions into thin semi-rings. Chop the chives finely.

Roll out the dough thinly, using extra flour to prevent sticking.  Transfer to hot baking sheet. Spread crème fraîche mix on top, cover with pancetta/bacon/ham and sliced onions.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. It should be golden-brown color.

* No creme fraiche around? No worries. It’s really easy to make: Mix one cup heavy cream with two tablespoons buttermilk. Combine well in glass container and cover. Let stand at room temperature for 8-24 hours, or until thickened. Stir well and refrigerate. Use within 10 days.


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