Flammkuchen (Heidelberg, Germany)

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Flammkuchen, or tarte flambée in French, is a German-style thin-crust “pizza” topped with bacon and onions…and it’s delicious!

As part of onboard entertainment, Viking hosted several cooking classes featuring local food and drink.  That’s where we first discovered Flammkuchen.  I like to call Flammkuchen a German-style pizza, but I’m not entirely sure that does this recipe justice.  Flammkuchen features a very, very thin crust (almost like a cracker) that is traditionally topped with sour cream, onions and bacon.  Yes, sour cream on a “pizza.”  Oh, and there’s a pinch of nutmeg in that sour cream topping, too.  (To be fair, an authentic Flammkuchen uses crème fraîche, but crème fraîcheisn’t easy to find in stores, so I opted for sour cream.)  While that topping might sound a little suspect, I recommend giving it a shot.  Flammkuchen is quite delicious!

After learning about Flammkuchen in the cooking class on the ship, I finally got around to recreating this one at home.  It’s really not that hard to make at all.  Yes, you do make your own dough.  But that dough doesn’t involve yeast.  (I know some folks shy away from making yeasted doughs at home.)  While the dough is resting, you cook up the bacon and then saute the onions in the bacon fat.  Just stop and think about that for a moment.  Onions sauteed in bacon fat.  They’re every bit as delicious as you might imagine!  Then just roll out the dough super thin (and I do mean super thin) and top it with sour cream, onions and bacon.  Did I mention that the onions are cooked in bacon fat?

Flammkuchen, also known as a tarte flambée in French, is roughly translated as ‘flame cake.’ It is indeed baked at a high temperature (475°F), and I highly recommend using a pizza stone if you have one. (This recipe makes two Flammkuchen, so we baked one on the stone and one on a sheet pan. The one baked on the stone was noticeably better!) Flammkuchen is a common menu item in southern Germany and northeastern France, and you can often find them with added ingredients like mushrooms, gruyere cheese or munster cheese. You can also create a dessert version of Flammkuchen using apples and cinnamon, and that one is definitely on my list of things to make on a lazy weekend day sometime soon!

Flammkuchen (Heidelberg, Germany)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. thick-cut bacon, chopped

Instructions

  1. Using a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add oil and water; mix until well combined.
  2. Knead dough for 5-6 minutes, or until smooth and well combined. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; dust parchment paper with flour and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk and nutmeg; set aside.
  6. Using a small skillet, cook bacon until lightly crispy. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
  7. Place sliced onions in skillet with bacon fat. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
  8. Divide dough into 2 equal-sized portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough until very thin (1/8”). Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining piece of dough. Dock (poke holes with fork) both pieces of dough.
  9. Divide sour cream, onions and bacon evenly over two pieces of dough.
  10. Bake on lowest rack of oven at 475°F for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and toppings are crispy.
  11. Cut into slices before serving.


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