Tarte flambee is also known as flammekueche, but I prefer a blog title I can pronounce.
It’s an Alsatian dish of a rolled out dough and traditionally topped with creme fraiche, onions, and lardons. Lardons are strips of pork belly – essentially bacon.
So you can think of tarte flambee as a fancy French pizza. But just because it’s French and fancy-sounding doesn’t mean it’s hard to make.
In fact, I found out that it’s dangerously easy to recreate at home.
I’ve tried different versions of tarte flambee from restaurants in Boston, including Sandrine’s Bistro and Brasserie Jo. I remember the dough being flat and thin but sturdy. I wanted to make my homemade version similar to the restaurants, but I was too lazy to make my own pizza dough. So I just used a favorite shortcut:
The buttery puff pastry transforms into a flat base for the tarte flambe, and it is blanketed with two magnificent ingredients: thick cut bacon and creme fraiche.
I bought slab bacon from Whole Foods but you can also use regular bacon and cut it into strips before frying. Once the bacon starts to brown, you remove it and cook the onions in the same pan, infusing it with the smoky bacon flavor. I suggest cooking a little bit of extra bacon because you’ll probably be tempted to nibble on it while making this tarte flambee.
Creme fraiche is a rich and tangy cream, similar to sour cream, but even thicker. I saw other tarte flambee recipes use sour cream instead, or fromage blanc. But creme fraiche is the creamiest. If you want to cut back on calories, I suspect Greek yogurt could work too.
I also sprinkled some shredded Gruyere on top, and finished it off with some fresh chives.
Served with a simple side salad, this was an easy dinner, and also made for great leftovers. I really liked the creamy cheese and I especially liked the salty bacon strips. Tarte flambee, flammekueche, flammkuchen, Alsatian pizza, you can call it whatever you want. You can even skip the extra cheese and the chives. Just don’t skimp on the bacon.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/3 lb slab bacon or thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup gruyere, shredded
coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out your puff pastry. You can further stretch and flatten it using a rolling pin, so that it fits your baking sheet more evenly. Line a 9x12 baking sheet with parchment paper before fitting dough in.
- Place bacon in a medium skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until lightly browned and starting to crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and place skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add onions and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 12 minutes. Remove onions from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together creme fraiche, salt, and pepper. Spread the creme fraiche mixture over dough. Top with onions, bacon, and grueyere cheese.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are puffy and golden. Sprinkle with chives and cut into squares before serving.
Have you ever tried tarte flambee? Do you have other easy French recipes?