When we talk about French cuisine, we think of technically outstanding, fancy food in more or less expensive restaurants. However, there is also simple, delicious food that is easy to make. One of my favourite examples is “La Tarte Flambée” or – in German – “Flammenkuchen” (a literal translation to English would be “flamecake”). It originated as a peasant dish in the North-East of the Rhine area and has developed into a popular specialty in the German and French part of the area, most prominently in Alsace.
I adore this dish for many of the same reasons I adore Pizza: above all for its great taste, its relative simpleness and its versatility. Unlike the Pizza, however, the Tarte Flambée is much lighter and I associate it with a more summerlike feeling.
The basis for a Tarte Flambée is a simple breadlike dough:
500g of flour
1/4 liter of water
20g yeast (dissolved in the water)
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of sugar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
or: storebought tarte flambée dough
Spring Onion / Onion
Combine the ingredients and knead until an even dough forms. Cover and let rest at room temperature for ca. 1 hour. After having rested, the dough needs to be spread as thin as possible in order to reach the crispy thinness typical for Tarte Flambée.
Now, add the toppings. The base for this is always Creme Fraiche that is spread on top of the dough and seasoned with salt and pepper. If you want to do a lighter and healthier version, it is possible to use Sour Cream instead of Creme Fraiche.
Add onions (cut into rings) and bacon (cut into tiny peaces) and bake in the oven (at around 180°) until it is nice and crispy (15-20 min).
You can get creative with your toppings and add things like mushrooms or seasonal vegetables. Another variation of the dish is the Tarte Flambée Gratinée, which, as gratinée implies, is a basic Tarte Flambée topped with cheese in order to make the tipical brown cheesy crust. As always, get creative with the cheeses you wanna use, we took Parmeggiano and a wonderful, rich goat cheese which gave the dish some additional element of surprise.
It is a perfect snack that goes with a glass of dry Prosecco, white wine or a cold beer. Or, of course, you can serve it as a wonderful light summerlunch if paired with a fresh salad.