Flammekueche -also known as Tarte Flambée or flammkuchen- is a bacon and onion pizza type flatbread made with unleavened dough that becomes crackery crisp and crème fraîche, fromage frais, or sour cream. Its power and popularity as an appetizer is undisputed, but it is also amazing as a light meal when served with a salad.
Today’s Flammekueche post is also the first in our new Friday Pizza Pie Day series! Since Friday nights are always homemade pizza nights in my family, I want to share our pizza passion with you weekly with a new pizza every week on Friday!
Stay tuned for fabulous pizzas of all sorts as well as tips and tricks on making the ultimate pizzas in your home kitchen. I’ll share my ultimate pizza dough recipes, too!
If you’re looking for a fabulous and easy pizza to kick off your weekend, Flammekueche is the fastest and the most delicious way to start!
What is Flammekueche?
Let’s start with the name! Flammekueche is the Alsatian dialect word for flammkuchen, which is German for flame cake. In French, it’s simply called a Tarte Flambée which also means flame tart.
Spoiler alert, though: this is neither a cake nor is it a tart and it certainly is not on fire. So what is it for real?
You’ll note there are three accepted words for this dish; one French, one Alsatian, and one German word.
Flammekueche is basically Alsatian pizza. This is an oversimplification both historically and culinarily, but I don’t feel like wading into the “is it French or is it German” argument.
I’ll just punt it and say it was invented in Alsace which has been variously annexed from France by Germany and vice versa by farmers as a way to test whether their wood-fired, community ovens were hot enough to bake bread. If the flammekueche was finished baking in 2 minutes, the oven was hot enough.
Nobody argues that point! Also, everyone agrees it is delicious, so let’s just stick with appreciating flammekueche, tarte flambée, or flammkuchen, whether it’s French or German!
As for what makes tarte flambée so delicious and wonderful, let’s dive into that a little more. The dough for for flammekueche is one of the easiest doughs ever by virtue of being only four ingredients and requiring no leavening whatsoever.
Flour, salt, oil, and water and mixed together and kneaded by hand or by stand mixer until smooth and elastic. You can make it in the morning, place it on a plate, cover it and refrigerate it until evening when you’re ready to bake or you can mix it all together and let it rest just long enough to prepare the rest of your ingredients and preheat your oven.
The fact that the dough is unleavened and requires zero rise time makes it the perfect last minute appetizer to serve to unexpected guests or lightning fast meal to serve on those hectic evenings we all have from time to time.
While the traditional flammkuchen was baked in 2 minutes in a wood fired oven, you can get a truly excellent version made in 20 minutes in a hot oven in your home kitchen. All you truly need is a sheet pan! A sheet of parchment is helpful for removing the finished flammekueche from the pan, but isn’t strictly necessary.
The most traditional toppings for flammekueche are crème fraîche, bacon lardons, and paper thin slices of onion. Let’s break those down a little bit.
Crème fraîche or fromage frais are the most common toppers in France and Germany, but they can be a little tough to source here in the USA and when you do find them they’re pricey. Sour cream makes a great substitute for crème fraîche both in texture and flavour.
And while plain sour cream will do, the creamy garlic sour cream sauce that I also use for my pickle pizza takes your flammekueche to the next level of amazingness.
If you’re using plain sour cream, you’ll want to add a little salt and pepper to the mix to boost the savouriness of the finished dish.
Whether you use the plain sour cream or my creamy garlic sour cream sauce, you’ll want to grate a little fresh nutmeg over the sauce before you top it. Don’t go over the top, though; a little nutmeg goes a long way.
Fresh nutmeg has a magical ability to make both savoury and sweet foods more irresistible and our flammekueche is a perfect example of its powers. You can scrape fresh whole nutmegs over a microplane zester or a nutmeg grinder.
If you can’t find those or a pre-loaded nutmeg mill (available at Wegman’s!), you can use a freshly opened pre-ground nutmeg. To ensure that you dust it evenly over the sour cream, put it in a fine mesh sieve and tap gently while holding it high above the flammekueche.
When it comes to the onion portion of the programme, you’ve got some great choices. For our flammkuchen, I prefer to use green onions that I’ve split lengthwise then cut into 1-inch sections.
If you have cooking onions or shallots on hand, they work quite well here, too. You just need to remember to slice them as close to paper thin as you possibly can so they can caramelize a bit while baking on the tarte flambée.
If you’re looking for more delicious pizza options, try out our Best Pan Pizza, Cucumber Smoked Salmon Pizza, or even Pizza Logs! And don’t forget to whip up Mixed Berry and Basil Sangria By The Glass (and mocktail variation) or Hard Cider Sangria-by-the-Glass to go with your flammekueche!
Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
Use a whisk or fork to combine the flour, olive oil, and salt until crumbly. Add ½ cup of the water, slowly, adding more water 1 teaspoon at a time, until it forms a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a clean counter and knead until smooth and elastic, or use a dough hook on a stand mixer to reach the same point. Cover with plastic wrap while you prep other ingredients.
Roll the pizza out into a very thin rectangle or oval. Make the dough as thin as you can without tearing it. Transfer to the parchment lined sheet pan.
Spread the garlic sauce to within ½-inch of the perimeter. Scatter the green onions evenly over the sauce, then the nutmeg followed by the bacon lardons.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp, deep golden brown, and charred in places. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the flammekueche onto a cutting board, and slice into squares or wedges and serve immediately.
Flammekueche – Tarte Flambée – Flammkuchen
- sheet pan
- parchment paper
- cutting board
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 8.5 ounces by weight
- 3 tablespoons olive oil preferably garlic olive oil if available
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Up to ⅔ cup room temperature water
- ½ cup creamy garlic sauce from pickle pizza recipe or plain sour cream See Notes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 green onions sliced into quarters lengthwise, then into 1 inch pieces
- 3 slices of bacon thinly sliced crosswise into lardons
- Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Use a whisk or fork to combine the flour, olive oil, and salt until crumbly. Add ½ cup of the water, slowly, adding more water 1 teaspoon at a time, until it forms a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a clean counter and knead until smooth and elastic, or use a dough hook on a stand mixer to reach the same point. Cover with plastic wrap while you prep other ingredients.
- Roll the pizza out into a very thin rectangle or oval. Make the dough as thin as you can without tearing it. Transfer to the parchment lined sheet pan.
- Spread the garlic sauce to within ½-inch of the perimeter. Scatter the green onions evenly over the sauce, then the nutmeg followed by the bacon lardons.
- Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp, deep golden brown, and charred in places. Remove from the oven and slice into squares or wedges and serve immediately.