Flammekueche (in Alsatian, tarte flambée in French, and flammkuchen in German) literally translates to “flame cake.” Flammekueche is probably one of the most bizarre pizza-esk dish you’ll ever come across. I mean, just look at the wide variety of names! But, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet). How the name came about is beyond me. I Googled around and couldn’t find anything definitive. But, if you know its history please let me know! I’d really like to find out!
What I can tell you about the history of flammekueche has been pieced together from tons of web browsing! Tarte flambée was originally a peasant’s dish (interesting how the poor man’s dishes are so popular nowadays). Farmers from Alsace, Baden or the Palatinate would make this after they baked their bread. (How often that happened I don’t know 🙁 .) The farmers would bake their bread (in a wood-fired oven) and then make the flammekueche. I believe that the name simply indicates how it is made (in a wood-fired oven), but please let me know if I’m wrong!
Now, if you Googled recipes for flammekueche, then you’ll find a division between the basic dough. Some people argue against using yeast. They say that the tarte flambée is a yeast-less dough, a type of pastry, that is rolled thin. Other places will tell you that flammkuchen is a yeasted bread dough. I’m not going to tell you which is which. Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that this recipe comes from my brother’s wife who lived in France. So, I’ll trust her.
I do want to apologize in advance for the dough recipe. I’m still experimenting with it, so plan on a post about pizza dough when we get to #ItalianApril. Pizza dough is as remarkably complex as it is simple. If you don’t have quality ingredients, the pizza is awful, but you don’t have very many ingredients. If you overwork it, then you’ll ‘burn’ the dough. (A Neapolitan pizziaolo – a pizza chef – once told me that. If you make pizza dough from scratch you’ll find this to be true too. If you over knead the dough, it becomes tough. But I’ll speak more about all of this on pizza day.)
As I said before, I’m assuming you have pizza dough. You can run out to the store or make your own. (I suggest the latter.) Whichever you do, get it ready. All told, you’ll need all of these ingredients:
- Pizza Dough
- Crème fraîche (enough to cover the pizza)
- 1/2 large onion (cut into strips)
- 100 grams (~½ cup) of bacon or lardons (cut into short strips)
The temperature is a bit tricky. It all depends on the dough you use. If you use an AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) then the pizza will only be in the oven for about 89 seconds. My recipe requires the pizza to be in the oven for about 6 minutes (at 290ºC, which is about 550ºF). But your recipe may change. I think a general rule of thumb would be to set the oven to 200ºC (about 390ºF). So, let’s follow this rule of thumb. Next time you’ll know what works best for your dough. Be aware that the thickness of the lardons (or bacon) depends on the temperature. If you have a high temperature you’ll need thicker lardons.
First, you’ll put together your Italian baking skills and shape the pizza. Round flammekueche is fairly common, but occasionally you’ll find squares. (Other shapes are very rare. Have you ever seen a triangular pizza? I haven’t. I’ve only seen squares and circles.)
With the dough shaped, spread the crème fraîche across the pizza dough. Then, spread the onion and bacon. Place in the oven until the crème fraîche begins to brown.
And there you have it! Your very own Flammekueche (tarte flambée and flammkuchen) recipe! You’ve traveled the globe!
As a heads up, today is the last day of #FrenchFebruary. Next month we are going across the French-German border to celebrate the German cuisine! Soon we’ll celebrate #MarchGermany!