I wish you all a wonderful New Year!
I would like to start 2018 with an absolute favorite of mine: Alsatian tarte flambée. I chose this recipe because I like to eat tarte flambée (actually, I love it) and, of course, France, the cradle of the tarte flambée, is one of my favorite countries. In recent years, we have often travelled to France, twice of which I stayed in Strasbourg (once with husband and once with the girls). The beautiful little town in Alsace is located directly on the border to Germany and due to the influences of both countries is a wonderful destination for a short trip. If you have not been there yet, I urge you to put Strasbourg on your bucket list and spend a few days in this romantic picturesque town.
The cozy restaurants are lined up tightly in the narrow streets and you will find no menu without the Alsatian classic: the tarte flambée. L’Alsaciens (french for the Alsatians) know how to spread a thin layer of crème fraîche on the delicate dough, sprinkle the onions and bacon over it and push it into the crackling wood-fired oven for the perfect amount of time. A splendid piece of France that, like so many of their dishes, seems to be light and airy but packs a punch.
A few weeks after our last stay in Strasbourg, I was craving the crunchy flatbread and I started to explore its secret. At first, I just exchanged the raw onions for sauted ones. The sweetish taste, which only develops in the pan, was a wonderful addition for this amazingly savory dish, and I was also able to do my stomach a favor, which sometimes struggles with raw onions.
To take further steps towards a better digestibility, I decided to replace the fat bacon with a few slices of light prosciutto and the creme fraiche with sour cream. I read about the idea for the apple, honey and thyme in another recipe and was immediately convinced. For some time now I am throwing walnuts on top of everything, so why not throw it over my beloved tarte flambée, too?
The biggest challenge I had was matching the dough. My classic yeast dough was somehow not the right thing, it was just too pizza-like and too thick. It got better with a pure mix of water and flour, however if the oven was not hot enough, the texture was a bit tough. Relatively dissatisfied, I decided to take a radical step and started looking for recipes in French cooking books. I have to admit that (unfortunately,) I do not speak a word of the melodic language and could only manage to find a good recipe thanks to stamina and a very good translation app. Finally, all my efforts payed off once I revealed the secret. In France, oil is added and with that, the dough gains a simply wonderful texture once baked. After my first try, I was absolutely thrilled by the result!
As you can see, I have slightly changed the traditional recipe. But that does not mean that it falls short on taste compared to its big sister. Truth be told, I am so excited about this version that I spoil my husband with it almost weekly (he actually thinks I am becoming obsessed with the dish – naah). Anyway, I would like to share my very own way to make Alsatian tarte flambée with you and I hope you like it as much as I do. Amusez-vous avec la recette, mes amis!
My Very Own Way To Make Alsatian Tarte Flambée
- 7 oz bread flour
- 3 fl oz luke warm water
- 1,2 fl oz neutral oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 4,2 oz sour cream
- 1 oz walnuts
- 3 prosciutto slices
- 1 apple
- 8 thyme stems
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 shallot
- 2 fl oz water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt + pepper
- Step 1 For the dough mix flour with a pinch of salt. Dig a hole in the middle. Add 3 fl oz of luke warm water and neutral oil and stir with a fork. Place the mixture on a flat surface and knead with both hands until a smooth dough has formed. Allow to rest covered in a warm place for at least half an hour.
- Step 2 Meanwhile, cut the shallots for the topping into rings and sauté in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the shallot rings are soft and translucent, season and pour in 2 fl oz of water. Reduce the heat. Remove from the oven as soon as the water is boiled off.
- Step 3 Stretch the dough as thinly as possible (about 2 mm) or roll it out and place it on a parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 430 °F with a baking tray for the tarte flambée.
- Step 4 Chop the walnuts roughly and pull apart the prosciutto. Quarter the apple, remove the core and cut into small slices. Smooth the sour cream, spread on the dough, salt and pepper it. Spread the onions, the thyme leaves, the prosciutto pieces and the apple slices on top. Drizzle everything with honey and finally sprinkle the walnuts over it.
- Step 5 Put your tarte flambée on the baking tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the bottom is nice and crispy. Bon Appetit!