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Tarte flambée is an Alsatian dish composed of thin bread dough rolled out in a circle or a rectangle, which is covered by crème fraîche, onions and bacon. It is one of the most famous gastronomical specialties of the region. Depending on the area of the region, this dish can be called in Alsatian: flammekueche, in German: Flammkuchen, or, in French: tarte flambée. Flammekueche dates back to the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Legend says that the creators of this dish were those Alsatian farmers who used to bake bread once a week. A tarte flambée would be used to test the heat of their wood-fired ovens. At the peak of its temperature, the oven would also have the ideal conditions in which to bake a tarte flambée. The embers would be pushed aside to make room for the tarte in the middle of the oven, and the intense heat would be able to bake it in 1 or 2 minutes. The crust that forms the border of the tarte flambée would be nearly burned by the flames. The name itself comes from this method of baking, the English translation of the original Alsatian name meaning "baked in the flames".
Starter for the Dough
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1⁄4 cup moderately hot water, about 110 degrees
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup beer
- 6 tablespoons milk
Alsatian Tarte Flambee (Traditional)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (3 ounces)
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- 6 ounces soft white cheese (fromage blanc)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 4 pinches nutmeg
- 3 ounces bacon, chopped
Arugula Tarte Flambee (Variation)
- lemon vinaigrette
- shaved gruyere or shaved parmesan cheese
- good quality olive, sliced (or chopped)
- sliced grape tomatoes or chopped roma tomato
- Mix the starter ingredients together in a small bowl, cover tightly, and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- When the starter is light and bubbly, mix the beer and milk into the mixture.
- Put the flour and salt into a food processor, then, with the motor running, add the yeast mixture through the feeding tube. Process the dough until it forms a ball. Add very small amounts of additional flour or milk if necessary.
- Process the ball until it is smooth, elastic, and warm, about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- Butter a medium-sized bowl, roll the ball around in the butter, then cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch down and let rise a second time.
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Oil a 14 x 16 inch baking sheet. Roll the dough until slightly smaller than the baking sheet. Place it on the sheet.
- Alsatian Tarte Flambee:.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
- Combine the crème fraîche, fromage blanc, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooled onion.
- Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and fry the bacon until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Remove and drain through a strainer.
- Spread the onion mixture over the dough, leaving a very small raised rim all the way around, then dot with the bacon.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart is lightly browned.
- Variation - Arugula Tarte Flambee:.
- Instead of preparing the traditional Alsatian topping, proceed with baking the crust. Once the crust is baked, toss 2-3 handfuls of arugula with lemon vinaigrette. Top with shaved gruyere, olives and tomato.
When I made this my daughter said, "Why can't you make pizza I like?" Then, "I LOVE it!"