Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cooking School: Tarte d'Alsace - Elsässer Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen (01) by MeetaK

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.

Flammkuchen (02) by MeetaK

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!

Come & Join Us!

MM healthy family dinners

  • Join us for Healthy Family Dinners this mingle
  • We're looking for good, healthy and nutritious meals
  • My guest hostess this month is Michelle of What's Cooking Blog
  • Deadline for your entries - February 9, 2009





Recipe: Tarte Flambée d'Alsace - Elsässer Flamkuchen

Ingredients
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

Method

  1. 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.

  2. In a larger mixing bowl, add flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil, 300ml luke-warm water and the yeast-sugar mixture.

  3. 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.

  4. Whisk the sour cream and creme fraiche together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Divide the dough into four portions.

  6. Roll one portion on a floured surface in a 2-3mm thin oval (approx. 25 x 35cm).

  7. Place on the baking tray and allow to rest for another 20 minutes. Cover the remaining dough balls.

  8. 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.

  9. Bake in the oven on the lowest rack for 8-10 minutes. Take out and cut into 4 pieces and serve immediately.

  10. 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

 


Verdict

FFlammkuchen (03) by MeetaK

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!

Don't Forget
Cast your vote for The Daily Tiffin in the Food Blog Awards 2008, category Group, by January 24, 2009

Over at the FoodieView blog my latest article rounds up a few of the most Appetizing Appetizers from around the blogs. Do take a read!

You might like these tarts & pizzas from WFLH:

SpinachTomatoPizza 01 framed Pizza FennelRaddichio 02 framed 512050483_897c56b209_o
Tarte Flambée with Tomatoes and Creamy Spinach Caramelized Fennel, Radicchio, Pears and Goat Cheese Pizza Caramelized Vegetable Tart

From around the blogs:

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

35 comments :

  1. Fantastic! I love that delicious speciality! Yours looks wonderful and perfect!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I've eaten this EVERY TIME I've gone to Germany...it is by far better than anything I have tried (I think even better than pizza!)...absolutely delicious Meeta!

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  3. Hi Meeta!

    So exquisite it reminds me a fugazzeta from here without bacon, absolutely delicious!

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  4. I like the moreish feel this one has Meeta...looks simple & delicious.

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  5. I've never been to the Alsace region, but when you mention that word, I immediately think of bacon, onions, potato, sausage. This "tart" looks lovely!

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  6. Yummy...

    I haven't eaten flammkuchen for a long time. I think I will ask my mom to make it for me during this weekend :)

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  7. Wonderful!! thanks for the delicious breakfast!!

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  8. Very nice read Meeta, makes me feel as if I am really there:-).

    the tart looks delicious!

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  9. This is a good blog, thanks for sharing.



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  10. Lovely and delicious.Food is enjoyed more when its origins or other related information is given.Its simply delicious and definitely can be turned into vegetarian.

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  11. I have never had them but heard about hese so much from my hubby.
    Looks so yummy and delicious.

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  12. That is one simple looking , but elegant beauty :-)

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  13. Looks so wonderful. I really enjoyed reading about it too.

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  14. Bacon, sour cream, creme fraiche...pretty much all that is good in life! Yum.

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  15. Meeta
    Looks fab !!!
    Had a question about this month's mingle. Does it have to be a full spread dinner ? Can it be something like a soup ?

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  16. We bought all of the ingredients to make a roasted red pepper soup for the first time, but have been going around in circles searching for the right recipe. I think we found it, thanks!

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  17. Thanks everyone for all your lovely feedback. It's does sound simple but the flavor is big!

    Sandeepa - nice to have you back here! yes you can! However it would be great to have something like soup and salad pr soup and sandwiches etc. look forward to the entry!

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  18. I have never heard of this, and it looks really interesting. Love the pics:-)

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  19. Yet another Meeta post I have on my list to try.

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  20. Giff - lol! if your list is anything as my Giff list - then I think we'll be cooking till we're 90!

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  21. I always learn so much from these posts! This looks especially delicious!

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  22. The origin of its name sounds so interesting. The thought of creme fraiche on dough makes me want to try a piece right now.

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  23. You lived in Freiburg? Lucky you! I was there briefly to do some research and loved it. WE also spent 5 days in Alsace - although we did pass through Strasbourg to see the cathedral, we spent most of our time in and around beautiful Riquewihr, tasting wine and eating very very well indeed :) That was the trip where I discovered Flammenkuche and I was instantly in love. Speaking of love, I also love your chopping board with the stepped edge - gorgeous :)

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  24. we just saw hubert keller do this on his PBS show. i was drooling then and i'm drooling now. this is just a winner dish.

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  25. very beautiful meeta. and i love the idea of lemon paired with your honey ice cream

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  26. Lovely!
    And ironically, I lived in Baden as a child (army "brat"), so there is a connection between us.

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  27. I came to love Flammkuchen while living in Ulm. I remember you could even buy frozen versions in the stores...

    For anyone who can find the German Speck, use that instead of bacon. And when I make this at home, I like to lightly caramelize the onions since the five or so minutes the pie's in the oven still leaves the onions a tad fresh.

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  28. Having enjoyed eating flammenkuchen many times in a restaruant in Le Lude France I was delighted to find that this receipe produced results that were very similar to what i have experienced.

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  29. Meeta! i found your blog two hours ago and can't stop reading! i'm just calling my bofriend from time to time to share my excitment about what we're gonna cook next week :) i was looking for the recipe for Flammkuchen for a while, but couln't find anything satisfying and this one sounds great. i love Flammkuchen, cos although i'm coming from Poland, 8 months ago i moved to Freiburg, cos my boyfriend is coming from the heart of Schwarzwald. it was great to read that you loved this area as well:)
    best greets from Stuelinger:)
    Karolina

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  30. Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments. This is the reason I love food blogging, mainly because a post can evoke so many memories and feelings. Glad everyone is enjoying this recipe!

    Karolina - hope your boyfriend was pleased with this recipe!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta