When I first moved to Germany I lived in the southern part of the country - in Baden Württemberg. A lovely state, very much influenced by it's bordering countries France, Switzerland and Italy. The weather is always slightly warmer there and it seems to me that the people are just a little more relaxed. In terms of cuisine, due to it's geographical location Baden Württemberg is wine country and boasts of a range of regional culinary specialties as diverse as the areas from where they originate.
On a culinary tour of the state you can sample the refined cuisine of Baden and follow the the famous Badische Spargelstrasse (The Baden asparagus route) and the Badische und Württembergische Weinstrasse (wine route), or experience the traditional hearty cuisine in the southern region of Swabia, known for the classic Spätzle noodles and Maultaschen. Furthermore, the traditional dishes of the Black Forest, famous the world-over for it's ham, chocolate cake and cherry brandy is a must on any Foodie's itinerary.
Along the border of France, in particular one can indulge in a culinary feast from the finest. A region I particularly appreciate for it's aromatic wines and full bodied dishes. One of my favorite areas to indulge in culinary exquisiteness is the region along the borders of the French region of Alsace. All those years ago I lived in Freiburg and it was just a stone's throw away from Colmar and Mulhouse and a short drive to Strasbourg. I would often drive to one of these places just to indulge in the good food and enjoy a day of strolling around the city. Summers were always the most delightful time in these towns - the street side cafés and bistros would be bustling with locals and tourists alike, all sitting outside, sunning in the warm rays and enjoying a large order of Tart Flambée d'Alsace and chilled glasses of white wine.
A Tart Flambée is the perfect French response to the Italian pizza (I hope I will not get reprimanded for the comparison!) In Germany it is called a Flammkuchen and as it is extremely popular you will find it on most of the menus on both sides of the borders under this name.
Literally translated Flammkuchen means “Flame Cake,” and it is presumed that this comes from its original heritage as something put in to test the heat of the oven before baking bread and other foods. In Germany the Flammkuchen is most popular just after the grape harvest, when the new wine, known as Federweißer, appears on the market. Restaurants offer great specials with both the Federweißer and Flammkuchen to their guests, who in turn come is hoards to enjoy the delicious combination.
Basically the Flammkuchen is a very thinly rolled out dough, generously spread with creme fraiche and sprinkled with onions and bacon. Nothing special you might think but trust me this is a exquisite way to enjoy a light crusted and delicate dish.
Vegetarians will substitute the bacon for mushrooms or spinach - both are my favorite vegetarian toppings for the Flammkuchen. If you can find fresh porcini mushrooms then you are in for a real treat. Porcini are wonderful, deliciously earthy and aromatic mushrooms bringing out a full-bodied flavor in the Flammkuchen.
The recipe I share with you is one of the traditional and basic Tarte Flambée d'Alsace or Elsässer Flammkuchen. It's the way we enjoy it best simply because bacon and onions make an unbeatable pair LOL!
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Recipe: Tarte Flambée d'Alsace - Elsässer Flamkuchen
Printable version of recipe here.
21g fresh yeast (approx. 1/2 cube)
600g all-purpose flour, you can also use whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
400g onions, thinly sliced
300g smokey bacon, cubed
250g sour cream
150g creme fraiche
6 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper
- In a small bowl break up the yeast into smaller pieces using your hands. Sprinkle with sugar and mix until the yeast becomes turns liquidy.
- In a larger mixing bowl, add flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil, 300ml luke-warm water and the yeast-sugar mixture.
- Using the kneading hook of you electric hand-held beater, knead the dough until it just starts to come together. Then with your hands knead into a smooth dough ball. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth. Put in a warm dry place to rise for approx. 45 minutes.
- Whisk the sour cream and creme fraiche together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Divide the dough into four portions.
- Roll one portion on a floured surface in a 2-3mm thin oval (approx. 25 x 35cm).
- Place on the baking tray and allow to rest for another 20 minutes. Cover the remaining dough balls.
- Spread 1/4 of the sour cream and creme fraiche mixture on the rolled out oval, sprinkle with 1/4 bacon and 1/4 sliced onions.
- Bake in the oven on the lowest rack for 8-10 minutes. Take out and cut into 4 pieces and serve immediately.
- Repeat the steps 6 to 9 until you've used up the remaining three dough balls.
Serving tip: Serve with a large green salad and chilled Federwießer or fruity white wine
I often make a similar Flammkuchen recipe using whole wheat flour. It tastes nuttier and more rustic. This is the perfect type of dish for a game evening with friends because you can make larger baking sheets and simply get your friends to add their favorite topping. Soeren truly enjoys the classic Flammkuchen and is particular that besides the whole wheat flour nothing else comes in the way! Tom is an bacon and onions fan too but is always tempted by the porcini version.
I hope you enjoyed a little trip to the culinary region of Alsace and Bade Württemburg with me. I am now taking a batch of this classic Flammkuchen over to Jenny's Housewarming Party with a bottle of chilled sparkling wine! See you there!
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You might like these tarts & pizzas from WFLH:
|Tarte Flambée with Tomatoes and Creamy Spinach||Caramelized Fennel, Radicchio, Pears and Goat Cheese Pizza||Caramelized Vegetable Tart|
From around the blogs:
- Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart with Thyme Recipe - Nami Nami
- Mushroom Tart - 80 Breakfast
- Chard & Saffron Tart - The Wednesday Chef
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