Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambée is a delicious flat pizza-like dish, topped with fresh cream, bacon, and onions.
What is Flammkuchen aka Tarte Flambée?
Flammkuchen is a Pizza-like dish with cream bacon and onions as the main original topping ingredients.
Flammkuchen is also known as Tarte Flambée/Flammekuechen and is primarily an Alsatian French pizza dish.
The region of Alsace is touching the German Rheinland and Baden Würtemberg regions to the east and the Swiss Basel Aargau and Bernese Oberland regions to the South.
Therefore Flammkuchen is a traditional French, German and Swiss dish.
If you ever travel to these regions, you will see that the Flammekuechen can be commonly found in restaurant menus in the French, German and Swiss Corner of Europe.
Historical facts about Alsace and the Flammkuchen dish
These regions have been thought over a lot in the history of Europe.
Alsace, for example, was switching between French and German rule (or the previous kingdoms back then) countless times.
My great-grandfather, for example, was born in a German-ruled Alsace (way before WW2).
The Alsace region counts as one of the richest regions in France with its wine culture and a booming tourism industry today.
Therefore you can understand easily why this region was so sought after between the two countries and how the Flammkuchen can be called a traditional French, German and Swiss dish.
Originally the tarte flambée was a home meal, baked in a bread oven in the village in North Alsace.
When the bread oven was started, the heat would be too high for the regular bread.
At that point, the Flammkuchen would be quickly baked in high heat for a few minutes only.
The name Flammkuchen comes from the words Flamme (flame) and Kuchen (cake).
The French word Tarte Flambée reflects the same meaning.
A Flammkuchen was square and would be eaten rolled up with the finger.
Years ago in a restaurant in Mulhouse (South Alsace), I was eating my Flammekuechen with a fork and knife when the lady of the house came over and explained that it was eaten by hand.
Yet, this is something I will leave up to you.
While the Alsatian Tarte Flambée with bacon and onions is known to be the authentic Flammkuchen, it is of course not a rarity to see other versions emerging in Alsace itself and the neighboring German and Swiss regions.
In Basel Switzerland, I came across Flammkuchen with sausages and Gruyere Cheese.
Besides the original bacon (French Lardon) and onion Tarte Flambée, I enjoyed the Sausage version a lot with a glass of cold beer.
- Strassbourg Tarte Flambée – With Sauerkraut & sliced Strassbourg sausage topped (another favorite of mine)
- Salmon Tarte Flambée
- Variation with Leek and Onions
- Variation with Cheese only such as Emmenthal, Münster, and Gruyere
- Sweet Flammkuchen with apple, pears, and eventually Calvados
- Würtemberg version topped with potato mash and onions
- Forestière Tarte Flambée with Mushrooms
The way you top your Flammkuchen is up to you. I tend to enjoy a topping which is rather light but with small pieces of meat added. You can get super creative with your Tart Flambée topping!
Progressive topping ideas:
- Ruccola and Gorgonzola Cheese
- Dates and Fetta Cheese
- Pear, Gorgonzola, and Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Zucchini and Pumpkin Seeds
- Apple, Goat Cheese and Walnuts
- Mushroom, Potato slices and Vegan Cream to make a Vegan Flammkuchen
- Hokkaido Pumpkin and Pumpkin
- Chocolate Banana for a sweet dessert Flammkuchen
- Strawberry and Vanilla Ice cream Flammkuchen
How to make Flammkuchen?
The Flammkuchen is a simple dough that resembles a Tortilla/Chapati/Roti dough.
It’s made of flour, salt, oil, and water.
Eventually, some people like to use pizza dough because they can buy a roll and don’t need to make a dough from scratch that way.
While this is always an option, I suggest you try to make your own plain flammkuchen dough.
A Flammekuchen with pizza dough is just not the same, it tastes yeasty, which is not right.
You can also use this no yeast pizza dough to make Flammkuchen!
Use a kitchen machine if you want to simplify the dough making for you.
That way it’s as if you bought a ready-made dough.
Once you have prepared the dough, you can move on to roll it out and the topping and bake it.
How to serve it?
You can serve your Flammkuchen with a simple green salad topped with vinaigrette.
I like my salad mixed with common green and red salad lettuce and Romain lettuce or Ice Berg salad.
You can also enjoy a plain clear soup as a starter before serving up the Flammkuchen.
I love a slice of my tarte flambée with a glass of white wine such as a Pinot Blanc or a Riesling in a Riedel wine glass.
The Alsace region is known for its white wine but also for the beer they prepare, so you can also serve your flammkuchen with a Wheat beer.
Creme Fraiche is a thick cultured cream from France. It’s nothing like liquid, heavy or thick cream. It contains more than 30% fats but has a thick consistency.
If you can’t get creme fraiche (aka fresh cream) use some other thick cream such as sour cream. Sour cream might have a little sour tang to it but it does the trick. Don’t use liquid cream or heavy cream. You can also try to use ricotta, fresh white queso, cream cheese or mascarpone cheese. It should be creamy, thick, plain and almost tasteless.
More Recipes from my ancestors in North France:
- Quiche Lorraine – The traditional Quiche with lard from the region of Lorraine. Lorraine is the neighboring region to Alsace, this is my other great-grandfather’s birthplace.
- Tarte a l’onion – Onion Tart from Picardie. My mum’s region, north to Paris.
- French Apple Cake with Calvados – This apple cake comes from the Normandie, my grandmother’s birth region.
Dear Reader, Which topping are you planning to try first for your Flammkuchen?
How to Video
For the Flammekuchen dough base:
- 2 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- 1/2 cup Water lukewarm
For the topping:
- oil tiny amount to fry Onion
- 1 large Onion cut into rings
- 1.4 ounces Bacon cut into small strips
- 1/2 cup Creme Fraiche or sour cream, *see Notes
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Grated Cheese *see Note
- To prepare the dough, add flour and salt to a mixing bowl and mix the content.
- Make a well in the center and pour in the oil and some of the water (not all the water).
- Start to mix the contents and when you feel it gets dry add some more water. Mix and form the dough until you have used up all the water (poured in step by step) and you have formed a smooth not stick nor dry dough. Keep aside
- In a pan add a small amount of oil, just enough to fry on the onion. Once you have added the onion, add the cut bacon and fry all the ingredients a bit soft. take from the heat to cool.
- Now back to the dough, roll out into an equal sized circle. The dough can be rolled out thin to 3 mm.
- Place on a baking tray with baking paper.
- Heat up your oven to 220 Celsius/430 Fahrenheit.
- Top your rolled out base with the cream, spread the fresh cream evenly.
- Sprinkle salt and black pepper over the cream.
- Drip off excess oil from the fried bacon and onion (if any) and arrange over the cream on the tarte flambée.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over everything.
- Bake at 220 Celsius/430 Fahrenheit for 6-8 minutes or until you can see the crust turning a bit golden.
- Serve hot, if you want with cut chives as garnish.
- Cream Fraiche, also known as Fresh Cream, is a french thick cream. It’s nothing like liquid cream. You can substitute with sour cream, ricotto, mascarpone, mexican fresh queso, cream cheese.
- Don’t add too much oil to the pan when frying the onion because the bacon will release more oil.
- You can use a cheese like cheddar, gruyere, emmenthal and similar.