Crisp and delectable apple and onion flammekueche (tarte flambée) that might just change plain old pizza night forever.
Flammekueche (tarte flambée) is a wonderful, pizza-like creation that originated in Alsace, the border region between France and Germany. It consists of a thinly rolled bread dough topped with a sauce of crème fraîche or sour cream, onions, white cheese, and other toppings. In this version, I have opted for very thinly sliced apples, which adds a mild sweetness, but more savoury toppings are typical, like bacon, pancetta, or other lardons.
Unfortunately, this recipe is not gluten-free or dairy-free, but it is suitable for ovo-lacto vegetarians. It can be made dairy-free with a few vegan cheese and sour cream substitutes.
To make this flammekueche, a pizza stone is recommended. The final result is far crisper and cuts baking time in half. If not using a pizza stone, line sheet pans with parchment paper and bake at 400°F / 200°C for 15 to 18 minutes, watching carefully so as not to burn the thin crust.
(Makes 16 servings)
10 tablespoons warm water (~ 110°F / 43°C)
1/2 teaspoon active-dry yeast
1, 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon monk fruit sweetener (or granulated sugar)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing
1 large honey crisp apple, peeled, cored, quartered, and very thinly sliced
1 large purple onion, thinly julienned
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch coarse sea salt
pinch ground black pepper
In a medium mixing bowl add the warm water then whisk in the yeast and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, set the bowl aside for 5 or 6 minutes to proof. When the contents of the bowl are foamy, add the flour and salt. Using a silicon spatula, stir the flour into the water mixture just until a shaggy dough forms.
Lightly flour a flat work surface and turn out the dough. Knead until the dough is only a little sticky, adding as little additional flour as possible to get to that stage (do not add more flour than is absolutely needed). Brush the bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in, turning it over once to distribute some of the oil to the surface to prevent drying. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and place it in a warm location to rise until the dough is doubled in volume (up to 90 minutes).
While the dough rises, prepare the toppings using a box grater. For the apple, add cold water to a bowl, add the apple and cover to prevent browning.
In a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the julienned onions without oil and sauté, stirring regularly, until they begin to soften. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl add the crème fraiche then whisk in the egg, ground cumin, salt, and ground black pepper. Cover the bow with clingwrap and refrigerate until needed.
It is highly recommended that a pizza stone be used to cook this recipe. So, in the last half of the rising time for the dough, preheat the oven to the temperature prescribed for your pizza stone (usually around 475°F / 245°C for 30 to 45 minutes). Place the pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and remove the other racks.
When using a pizza stone, a pizza peel is also needed to transfer the tarte to and from the oven. I recommend one with a folding handle for easier storage.
Once the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down then cut into four equal pieces. Lightly flour a flat worksurface then roll out one piece of dough to form a rectangle about the size of an 8-inch x 10-inch piece of paper (keep the remaining covered until it's time to roll them out). Use a pastry cutter or pizza wheel to trim the sides and make them straight.
Lightly flour a pizza peel then transfer the rolled dough to that surface. Spread 1/4 of the crème fraîche over the dough in an even layer, getting it right up to the edges. Add 1/4 of the onions and apple slices (pat the apple slices dry before adding as a topping), then top it off with 1/4 of the grated Gruyère cheese.
Slide the flammekueche onto the pizza stone and bake until the dough is crispy and has turned a golden brown (about 9 or 10 minutes). About halfway through the baking time, use the pizza peel to rotate the flammekueche 180° to ensure even cooking and to check the bottom.
Remove from the oven and cut into squares with a pizza wheel. Repeat this process with the other pieces of dough then serve immediately.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
total calories = 262.5 | total fat = 4.51g | saturated fat = 2.51g | cholesterol = 25.31mg | sodium = 96.22mg | net carbohydrates = 10.6g | dietary fibre = 0.59g | sugars = 1.65g | protein = 2.79g