Flammkuchen or flammekueche is essentially a bacon onion flatbread/pizza. It may seem like only a few ingredients, but they are transformed into a truly delicious dish you'll instantly love! And it's easy to make, too.
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I know when you think pizza, you almost certainly think of a traditional Italian pizza with a tomato sauce base. Maybe a "white pizza" with cheese on the bottom as a slight alternative. But many other cultures also have a variation on the theme which can have quite different toppings.
I became a big fan of Catalan coca, a kind of Spanish pizza, when I first lived in Spain. It can have various toppings, but I found the softened pepper and onion the most common and a big favorite. On a visit to Cyprus, I discovered Turkish lahmacun, with a thin tomato-meat topping spread on top of the dough that packs a flavor punch.
Then I came across flammekueche and I knew I needed to give it a try, too. After all, with some of my favorite ingredients on top, it would be hard to go wrong. I certainly wasn't disappointed.
Where is flammekueche from?
This dish is from the Alsace region of France as well as the neighboring Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfaltz areas of Germany. The Alsace region has gone back and forth on which country it is in for centuries between Germany and France. As a result, it definitely has some character from both, language and food included.
Ite seems pretty French in the ingredients, using creme fraiche (or fromage blanc), onions and lardons (strips of bacon). But I for one can't think of them used in quite this way elsewhere in France.
Plus, the fact this dish has multiple names, from the French tarte flambeé, German Flammkuchen and flammekueche and other variations in local dialects, puts it firmly from this border region. Some sources suggest it was originally made by German farmers.
Whatever the debate on origin, though, what you really need to know is this dish is both easy and delicious.
How did tarte flambeé get it's name?
You might be familiar with the term "flambeé" when for example an alcohol is set alight in a pan to add flavor to a dish. While the name for this pizza does comes from flames, it's in a different sense. According to the wikipedia entry, it was made as a way to test the heat of the oven the farmers used to make bread.
The high heat was perfect to cook this "flamed tart", using just enough toppings to make a tasty meal, too.
Tips for making flammkuchen
True to the original, less really is more in this dish. If you try to load this pizza up too much, the base won't crisp up properly and will be soggy. Keep the toppings light and you'll still get plenty of delicious flavor.
Some recipes don't cook the onions or bacon ahead of time. I'm afraid I disagree on this, as while they'll both cook a bit, I think you get a better flavor pre-cooking. If not pre-cooked, the onions might crisp but they'll taste more like slightly charred raw onions.
Don't get me wrong, that can be good, but I prefer the gentle sweetness of softened onions. The bacon, too, I think has a better flavor when pre-cooked.
The base for flammekueche is different from your typical pizza in that there is no yeast or other leavening agent. It's just a pretty simple dough. While it doesn't rise, it does, however, mean the dough rolls out easily and still crisps well. Just don't be scared to roll it as thin as you can.
Nutmeg might sound a little unusual, but believe me it gives a little lift in flavor to the creme fraiche base. If you can't find creme fraiche, try a blend of sour cream and Greek yogurt to get a similar flavor and texture.
You'll find a few variations on this beyond the basic cream/cheese base, onion and bacon. One is adding a little gruyere cheese which was too good not to pass up, to me. You can skip this and it will still be delicious, but it does add a lovely extra flavor.
Flammekueche is easier than your average pizza, and with such fantastic flavors. It may have humble ingredients, but the result is crisp, flavorful and oh so good. Give it a try, and you'll be adding it to your regular list as we have!
Try these other less typical pizzas:
- Bacon corn pizza
- Fall pizza with sausage and squash
- Lahmacun, a Turkish pizza/flatbread topped with a tasty lamb, onion and tomato mix
- Caramelized onion and gorgonzola pizza
- Plus get more main dishes and French recipes in the archives.
Flammkuchen/Flammekueche (tarte flambee)
For the base
- 1 cup all purpose flour plain flour
- 1 tbsp oil (olive oil/vegetable oil as you prefer)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup water or a little more as needed
For the topping
- 2 ½ oz smoked bacon
- ½ onion medium
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon creme fraiche
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- ¼ cup gruyere cheese approx, optional
- Mix together the flour, oil, salt and water in a bowl. If it's too dry and won't come together, add a little more water, but it will be a relatively dry dough. Kneed for a minute then set aside while you prepare the toppings.
- Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Line a large baking sheet/tray (half sheet) with parchment.
- Cut the bacon in to thin strips ('lardons') and cook in a small skillet/frying pan over a medium heat until they are just starting to brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pan, along with the butter, and cook a few minutes until the onions have softened but are only just browning.
- Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to the creme fraiche and mix well.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a circle/oval as thin as you can (around ⅛in/3mm).
- Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet then spread the creme fraiche over the top, leaving a space around the edge without any topping.
- Spread over the sauteed onions then top with the bacon, spreading them as evenly as you can. Top with the gruyere, if using, then bake for around 10 minutes until the edges are lightly brown and crisp and the toppings are just starting to color.
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I’m sad that cheese wasn’t on the ingredient list. I didn’t read the directions until o got home and realized it was missing.
I have just updated the recipe to show it in the ingredients - it's an optional ingredient, not in some versions, which is why I only mention it as 'if you like' but I appreciate wanting to see it in the ingredients for buying purposes so have added in. Sorry it wasn't more clear before!
I made this tarte flambee yesterday and it turned out so well. My new favourite easy dinner! I want to try a sweet version as someone mentioned in the comments.
Glad you enjoyed, and yes the dessert version does sound worth trying, I agree!
Great recipe. I added mushrooms and thyme for a “forester” version. I think next time I would bake it on a pizza stone for a crispier crust.
Glad to hear you enjoyed! And yes you could certainly use a pizza stone - I would just make sure you keep a close eye so it doesn't become too crisp.
I love this recipe Made it a few times and it always comes out tasty. But I have a question - do you think that the rolled out base could be kept in the freezer, wrapped in clingfilm? I want to make the tartes at my daughter's house but at present she doesn't have any work surfaces suitable for rolling out. I thought about rolling out the dough at home, freezing and then transporting along with the toppings which I can cook out at her place.
Glad to hear you have been enjoying! I haven't tried freezing the rolled dough but I think it probably should work, I'd just make sure it is well wrapped so that it doesn't get freezer burn and/or dry out.
A great dish. I add finely chopped garlic!
Thanks, and yes you can certainly add garlic in as well (rarely a bad thing!)
Hi from Zurich! As Swiss Germans, we are also familiar with this meal though not a typical swiss meal. With Flammekuche, it is also a great way to use left overs from the fridge! Last nite my wife, a cordon bleu (lucky me!) used some smoked trout, leek, onions, feta and prior to serving, some ruccola on it. A very nice Friday s meal in 30 minutes. Got pics also available! Best regards.
Sounds tasty - yes you can vary the toping much like pizzas, though this is certainly the most typical combination (and delicious, too!)
I‘m German and live close to the border to France in la Rhénanie-Palatinat (Rheinland-Pfalz) & we are well known for our Tarte flambé / Flammkuchen (not Flammkueche)
the origin is from Germany and took pretty fast over to the Alsace area that borders to France but other than in Germany where you can eat Flammkuchen in any state in France it’s just known for this area (it’s not as popular as it is in Germany) if you go to Normandy, Breatgne, Lyon, Tolouse, Paris you won’t find it..
The original one is served with Crème fraîche, Onions & spare tire - in the French area they also top it off with Gruyère cheese.
The most popular vegetarian version is topped with no Feta cheese, Olives & Pepperoni (Greek Style) and the sweet version with apples & cinnamon or blueberries - it’s pretty common to eat a sweet one after eating a savory kind like a dessert.
Greeting from Germany✌️
Thanks for sharing, I must try a dessert version some time!
So much better than Rick Stein’s. Thank you
That's great to hear! Glad you enjoyed.
Love tarte flambee! For an interesting change, replace the creme fraiche with a very thin spread of Grey Poupon or German style whole grain mustard. A little goes a long way but it gives it a delightful tang!
It's a great dish, I agree. Yes, I have seen some versions with a little mustard, and yes agree you would want a VERY small amount to save it taking over. Another option is to mix some in with the creme fraiche to milden it a little.
My son and I were looking for a Flammkuchen recipe to keep us entertained during the Coronavirus lockdown. The recipe turned out absolutely delicious. Thanks from Scotland
So glad to hear you enjoyed it - it's one of our favorites as well!
I love how the simplest ingredients perfectly combined make such a delicious dinner. Loved the bacon onion flavor!
Thanks - I agree it really is such a lovely combination of flavors (hard to go wrong with bacon, for a start!)
What a fabulous recipe! So easy and tasty! I'll definitely be making again!
Great - it has become a regular here.
I love the flavors you used here. A few favorite for sure. 🙂
They are definitely some great flavors, I agree!