After my recent visit to Alsace, where I consumed a near-criminal amount of tarte flambée, I thought it was high time I learn to make the dish myself.
Tarte flambée is a traditional Alsatian dish that is kind of similar to pizza. (Just don’t tell the Alsatians that!) For a little geography refresher, Alsace is a region in eastern France on the German border. The culture, as well as the cuisine, is a mixture of French and German influences.
Back to the tart. Tarte flambée (or as they say in Alsatian, flammekueche) is essentially dough loaded with crème fraîche, onions and lardons. (Lardons are more or less bacon, by the way.) We found tarte flambée in almost every restaurant in Alsace that we visited- it quickly became my go-to meal.
Needless to say, it’s really freaking tasty.
The hardest part of making the dish is rolling out the dough. Ideally, the dough is rolled very, very thin so that it bakes up crispy. Besides rolling the dough, it’s an easy dish. Just roll the dough, top with a crème fraîche sauce, fried lardons and sautéed onions and then bake!
I used ham in the dish because it was all we had, but I would highly recommend using lardons (chopped-up bacon bits) instead. Because when is bacon a bad idea?
Tarte Flambée Recipe
Serving: 4 Americans, 6 French people. Ha.
- Rolling pin
- Baking sheet
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- 1 1/4 cup (250 g) flour
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (50 ml) (any neutral vegetable oil will work, just not a flavored oil like olive oil)
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 5/8 cup (140 g) smoked bacon
- 2 tablespoons (40g) butter
- 3/8 cup (100g) de fromage blanc (can substitute full-fat greek yogurt)
- 3/8 cup crème fraîche (100ml) (can substitute milk or cream if you don’t have it)
- 1/2 tablespoon of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
Step 1 – Make the dough
- For the dough: mix the flour, half a tablespoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of oil in a mixing bowl. Gradually pour in 3/8 cup (100 ml) of warm water.
- Mix the dough until it’s smooth. Then knead for five minutes.
- Let dough rest for an hour.
Step 2 – Make the toppings
- Preheat the oven to 475ºF (250ºC).
- Cut the bacon into small slices and fry in a sauce-pan until cooked. Throw the grease into the trash when done (never put bacon grease down the sink!)
- Slice the onions into rings. Sautee them in 2 tablespoons of butter until transparent, about 5 minutes.
- While the onions are cooking, mix the crème fraîche and cream in a cup. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Step 3 – Put together the tart
- Butter and flour a baking sheet. On the countertop and using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thinly as possible into a large rectangle, so it is the same size and shape as the baking sheet. Gently place the rolled dough on the baking sheet.
- Using a spatula, spread the creme fraiche-creme mixture across the dough (it will seem like too much, but use it all!). Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over the dough. Then top with the cooked bacon and sautéed onions.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve hot. The dish pairs well with a simple green salad.
Have you ever tried tarte flambée? Isn’t it delicious?
Recipe adapted from CuisineAZ.