Flammkuchen – Alsacian Pizza

by Barry Lewis


500g (4 cups) bread flour
400ml (1.7 cups) warm water
2tsp dry yeast
pinch salt
350g (1.5 cups) Creme fraiche
250g (1 cup) Quark
300g (10.5 oz) gammon steak, cubed, fat trimmed
10 Spring onions, sliced
Salt & pepper

In this recipe video I am making a German style pizza recipe called a flammkuchen…. although I do not know that much about the recipe the following from Wikipedia makes a lot of sense:

Tarte flambée is an Alsatian and South German dish composed of bread dough rolled out very thin in the shape of a rectangle (traditionally) or circle, which is covered with fromage blanc or crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardons. It is one of the most famous specialties of the region.
Depending on the region, this dish can be called Flammekueche, Flàmmeküeche Flàmmaküacha or Flammekuechle in Alsatian, Flammkuchen in German, which means “flame cake”, or in French tarte flambée, which translates as “pie baked in the flames.” Contrary to what the direct translation would suggest tarte flambée is not usually flambéed, but cooked in a wood-fire oven. There are many variations of the original recipe, in terms of the garniture. The standard variations are:
Gratinée: with added gruyère cheese;
Forestière: with added mushrooms;
Munster: with added munster cheese;
Sweet: dessert version with apples, cinnamon, and flambéed with Calvados or another sweet liqueur.
Legend says that the creators of this dish were Alemannic-German-speaking farmers from Alsace, Baden or the Palatinate who used to bake bread once a week or every other week. In fact, the tarte flambée was originally a homemade dish which did not make its urban debut until the “pizza craze” of the 1960s. A tarte flambée would be used to test the heat of their wood-fired ovens. At the peak of its temperature, the oven would also have the ideal conditions in which to bake a tarte flambée. The embers would be pushed aside to make room for the tarte in the middle of the oven, and the intense heat would be able to bake it in 1 or 2 minutes. The crust that forms the border of the tarte flambée would be nearly burned by the flames. The result resembles a thin pizza.

In the video recipe we make the dough first of all by combining the bread flour, with the yeast, salt and warm water… mix well with hands then turn out and knead well until smooth. Stick in bowl with a little oil at the bottom and seal with clingfilm sitting in a warm place to prove for an hour.

Meanwhile mix the creme fraiche with the quark cheese and also season with salt and pepper, mix well.

Once the dough has doubled in size remove the cling film and knock back in the bowl. Roll out into a pizza shape using half the dough (you should have enough for 2) then spread some of the creme fraiche topping over the pizza. Stick in slices of spring onion and gammon chunks, then bake in the oven at the hottest temperature on a warmed pizza stone for 10 minutes. This tastes phenomenal!