Flaming Pie

IMG_5033Leave it to me to try my first German flammkuchen at The Harp, an Irish pub by Adenauerplatz. I love Irish pubs but on this particular day I was feeling rather restless watching Liverpool play. My mind was wandering aimlessly so we ordered a flammkuchen and a tea for me – because that’s my beverage of choice at pubs. Yes I’m weird. Food helps me focus.

Flammkuchen is much like a very thin pizza with a tangy flavor. The one we ordered had sun-dried tomatoes, olives and spinach. I was so impressed that I quickly wanted to learn how to make them at home.

It turns out that it is popular snack along the southern border of Germany and Alsace, France. In France, it is known as Tarte Flambée or “pie baked in the flames”. In Alsatian, it is known as Flammekueche. In Germany, Flammkuchen translates to “flame cake”. Rumor has it these were used to test the wood-fire ovens before baking pizza.

Traditional flammkuchen is shaped rectangular or round and is topped with crème fraîche, onions and lardons (that’s a fancy name for bacon). So, we tried it at home served with a salad and it was a hit! So much so, we made it two nights in a row. Even Karina asked for more! It’s so simple and doesn’t take much time at all. The best part was that Odd actually made them with me. There is still hope.

DSC03161Some recipes call for yeast, but the one I used did not. It was fine and much easier without. If you have a hard time finding crème fraîche here are some substitutes others have suggested:

  • 1 cup whipping cream mixed with 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Combine in glass jar, cover and let sit at room temperature (about 70 degrees F) for 8 – 24 hours or until thickened. Stir well and refrigerate up to 10 days.
  • Greek yogurt
  • sour cream
  • cream cheese
  • quark
  • 1 part sour cream to 2 parts Philadelphia Cooking Cream (thin version of cream cheese)

flammkuchenFlammkuchen

Makes 1 large or 2 small

Dough
200 grams all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
125 ml or 1/2 cup water

Toppings
crème fraîche
onion, sliced thin
bacon, sliced thin

Other toppings we used:

spinach, sliced thin
sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thin
olives, sliced
Serrano ham or prosciutto

Try using your own favorite toppings and let me know what you think.

I was so excited having Odd in the kitchen, I forgot to take pictures.

Combine the dough ingredients in a bowl. Mix until a dough forms. Knead for about 3 – 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth. It should not be sticky. Divide in 2 if you are making 2 smaller flammkuchens. On parchment paper, roll out as thin as possible in a rectangle or round.

Optional:  In a pan, add bacon and cook until halfway cooked, about 2 minutes. It will continue to cook in the oven so do not cook until crisp. Or if you slice it very thin, you can just put them straight on the dough and it will cook in the oven. Add onion and sauté until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan.

DSC03187Spread about 2 tablespoons crème fraîche on dough and add toppings. This one is Serrano ham, spinach, olives and onion.

Bake in a preheated 450 ℉ / 250 ℃ oven. It should be really hot when the flammkuchen goes in. Think wood-fire oven!

Bake 10 – 15 minutes. It should be crisp and lightly brown around the edges. Ours didn’t quite get that wood fire golden color but it still tasted pretty awesome even if we burnt the sun-dried tomatoes. Oops!

DSC03194Remove from oven and slice into squares or whatever shapes comes your way.

DSC03199Turn on some Netflix and enjoy!

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