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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tart of the Month - Flammekueche (Tarte Flambée)

This month's tart is something I've enjoyed several times in pubs and beer bars. Tarte flambée is from Alsace, a region of France bordering Germany and Switzerland. The Alsatian name for it is flammekueche and it's very much like a pizza.  It's quite simple but requires a very hot oven and some special ingredients. 

Here's what you need for this tasty snack or meal.

1 pound pizza dough (I used prepared dough from my local Italian bakery, but you can make your own easily)
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 a large white onion, thinly sliced
6 strips of bacon, thinly sliced into matchstick-sized pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Flammekueche is traditionally made with fromage blanc, a  fresh white cheese (as the name suggests) made in France.  I couldn't find it in my city, even at our most well-stocked cheese shop, so I used a combination of crème fraîche and ricotta which seemed to work.  Crème fraîche can be found in large supermarkets and specialty cheese or food shops.  Sour cream could substitute if necessary.

Another helpful tool for this recipe is a pizza stone. It preheats in a very hot oven and cooks the bottom of the pizza while the toppings broil.  If you don't have a pizza stone you can use a metal pizza pan or even grill this tart. 

First preheat the oven to 550 degrees with the pizza stone inside and let it preheat for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.  

Sprinkle your work surface with flour and divide your pizza dough in half.  Set one half aside.

Roll out half the dough as thin as you can, trying for a circle or oval shape. If you have a pizza peel, flour the surface lightly and lay the dough on it. It will be very helpful for getting the tart in and out of the oven.  If you don't have a pizza peel, you could use an inverted baking sheet. Just make sure the dough doesn't stick.

Mix together the crème fraîche and ricotta until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the crème fraîche and ricotta mixture over the dough, almost all the way to the edges.

Sprinkle the raw, thinly sliced onions over the cheese mixture, then add the raw bacon matchsticks.

Repeat rolling out and topping the second half of the dough. 

Turn the broiler to high and slide one tart from the pizza peel onto the pizza stone in the hot oven. If the peel was well-floured it should slide right off.

Broil for 3-5 minutes until the crust is browned and a little blistered. 

The bacon will cook under the broiler and become nice and crisp.  Broil the second tart 3-5 minutes until done.

You can slice this as you would a pizza or slice into squares.

I served this for dinner with a green salad and it was wonderful. If you like making pizza at home, try this tarte flambée.  And if you've never tried pizza at home, you should! 


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