Tarte Flambée

Hopping over the Channel this post, here’s a speciality from Alsace. It’s like a lovely little thin and crispy white pizza, absolutely gorgeous and very easy to make, some of you may have come across it on your travels.

Authentic tartes are made with the local fresh white cheese fromage blanc but full fat crème fraiche is a practically perfect substitute. They are also cooked in a big wood-fired oven but a hot domestic oven works almost as well.

Sadly, I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting Alsace myself but came across something similar in Waitrose a while back whilst shopping with my daughter. We looked at it and I said: I can make that! So I did and now it’s a big favourite at home.

If you are pressed for time and have a bread machine you can make the dough in that but otherwise it’s very therapeutic by hand: if it’s a bit sticky at first, get it started by throwing it fairly violently a few times onto the board like that lovely guy James Morton on one of the recent Christmas Bake Offs. It’ll be smooth before you know it!

Then wash your hands, flour them very lightly, work it a bit more and knead into a ball.

You can even keep the dough in the fridge covered in cling film for 2 or 3 days and make a couple of tartes every day.

They are very light: serve one per person for a snack or 2 each for a meal with salad.

Although best eaten fresh from the oven, any leftovers are still tasty cold.

Makes 10

  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon quick yeast
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 210ml water

(If you have a bread machine make a similar amount of pizza dough)

Plus:

  • 200ml full fat crème fraiche
  • 1 onion, halved
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 100-150g Edam, grated (optional)
  • Rocket leaves to serve (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 200C (fan oven) or equivalent

You will need baking trays lined with greaseproof paper

Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a roomy bowl. Use fingertips of one hand to incorporate water and oil.

Knead dough with both hands until smooth and silky (see above).

Leave to prove for an hour or so until almost doubled in size. Turn onto a lightly floured board, knead briefly.

Divide into 10 balls and, with a rolling pin, roll approximate oval shapes as thinly as possible. Transfer to trays.

spread with crème fraiche, smoothing it right to the edges. Slice onions into wafer thin crescents and arrange over the bases. Scatter with pepper, lardons and cheese, if using.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C (fan oven) or equivalent for 6-8 minutes or until golden and sizzling. Lovely with rocket and homemade vinaigrette dressing.