Tarte Flambée – Alsatian Flammkuchen with Taleggio, Apples and Bacon
by eat in my kitchen
When I lived close to the French border a few years ago I loved to drive over to France on a Sunday morning for a short day trip to the Alsace region, especially at this time of the year! The vineyards were all red and golden and the first young wines were ready to be enjoyed. I mentioned these trips about a month ago when I wrote about my Zwiebelkuchen which I used to eat at the traditional restaurants in the small villages. Another Alsatian classic to accompany the new harvest is the Flammkuchen (Flammkueche in the Alsatian dialect), the famous Tarte Flambée! It’s similar to pizza but the dough is made with milk instead of water, it’s spread with a thin layer of sour cream mixed with an egg yolk and the result is crunchy and light. The basic version is made with onions and bacon but after years of visiting this region I started experimenting with the toppings in my own kitchen and here’s one of my favourites.
The combination of cheese and fruit works just as well as on a sandwich. I like to mix thin slices of sour apples like boscoop with a creamy Italian taleggio cheese from the Val Taleggio in the Lombardy region. I baked some thin slices of bacon on top of the Flammkuchen to bring in some smoky saltiness. It’s important to put them on top so that they become crispy and release their juices into the fruity cheese mixture.
Flammkuchen with Taleggio, Apples and Bacon
I bake my Flammkuchen and my pizza on a hot baking sheet which has a similar effect to a pizza stone. I preheat it on the bottom of the hot oven and turn it around to bake on the hot surface.
For 1 big Flammkuchen you need
plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
dry yeast 1 package (for 500g / 1 pound of flour)
salt 1/4 teaspoons
sugar 1/2 teaspoon
milk, lukewarm, 120ml / 4 ounces
olive oil 2 tablespoons
for the topping
sour cream 120g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg yolk 1
a pinch of salt
taleggio, cut into cubes, 80g / 3 ounces
sour apple (like boscoop), cored, quartered and cut into thin slices, 1/2 -1
thin bacon slices 6
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the lukewarm milk and the olive oil and mix with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) for about 1 hour.
Take the dough out, punch it down and roll it out into a flat circle on a well floured surface. It should be a bit smaller than the size of your baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 10-15 minutes.
Set your oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Put the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to heat it (for around 10 minutes).
Whisk the sour cream, egg yolk and a pinch of salt.
Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, turn it around and place it carefully on two stable wooden boards or mats as it will be very hot. Quickly place your risen dough onto the baking sheet.
Spread a thin layer of the sour cream egg yolk mixture on top of the dough, you might not need all of it. Spread the apples and taleggio on top and season with pepper. Top with the bacon and bake in the hot oven for a few minutes until the Flammkuchen is golden brown and crisp.