Tarte flambée: A traditional dish from Alsace



Tarte flambée or Flammkuchen is a thin, oval-shaped flatbread traditionally baked with crème Fraiche (sour cream), onions, and bacon. It originated in the Alsace region of France and Germany. The name means "pie baked in flames." The dough is similar to pizza and can be topped with anything from the traditional ingredients to cheese, mushrooms, or even apples.

The variant of Tarte flambée found closest to Strasbourg is spread with fromage Blanc (or cottage cheese), onions, and lardons (bacon pieces).

  • Tarte flambée, also known as flammekueche or by its Alsatian name flammkuchen, is a thin-crust pizza-like dish from Alsace.
  • It is traditionally made of bread dough rolled out thinly, often in a rectangular shape, covered with fromage Blanc or crème Fraiche, thinly sliced onions, and lardons.

It has been recently called the "most popular dish" in the cuisine of Alsace.


Why is it called Tarte flambée?

Tarte Flambée is a specialty of the Alsace region of France, and it's also known as flammekueche, which means "flame cake" in German. The name is appropriate because the dough is topped with crème Fraiche — a rich French cream similar to sour cream but not quite as sour — and then baked until it's crisp and golden brown.

The dish is similar to a pizza in that it has dough, cheese, and toppings, except that tarte flambée has an extremely thin crust. It gets its name from the tradition of cooking it directly on the oven wall (or even better, over an open fire) to crisp up the bottom very quickly.


Resemblance of Tarte flambée with Pizza

  1. Tarte flambée is a pizza-like dish that originated in the Alsace region of France. It is made from dough rolled out very thin and topped with fromage Blanc, crème Fraiche, bacon, onions, and sometimes mushrooms. The dough used is more bread-like than pizza dough and can be leavened or unleavened.
  2. Tarte flambée, also known as flammekueche, is a traditional dish of the Alsace region in France located on the country's eastern border with Germany. It consists of a thinly rolled piece of bread dough covered with crème Fraiche or fromage Blanc (a soft white cheese), thinly sliced onions, and lardons (bacon). 

In its simplest form, tarte flambée dates back to at least the 16th century, when Alsatian peasants would cook it in their ovens after the bread had been baked.

  • Even as pizza has expanded in popularity and cultural significance, pizza has been defined more by its flatbread qualities than by its baked dough qualities. Pizza is a flatbread, and the crust is a thinner version of what you'd find in focaccia or naan.
  • In contrast, the crust of tarte flambée is a much puffy-er version of what you'd use to make bread. The biggest difference between pizza and tarte flambée is that in addition to yeast, the tarte flambée dough also uses baking powder to help it get extra puffy and airy.

That doesn't necessarily mean that tarte flambée is better than pizza — but it does mean that tarte flambée is not just a fancy name for pizza. Instead, Tarte flambée resembles pizza only in places where other flatbreads resemble a pizza, too — namely, that it's cooked in an oven until crispy. But unlike many other flatbreads, tarte flambée isn't used for foods like sandwiches or kebabs or gyros; instead, it's used for pizza toppings.


What to drink with Tarte flambée?

The light, dry and crisp wine won't overpower the delicate flavors of the Tarte flambée. White wines are usually best with fish and seafood, and red wines are generally best with red meats. A good rule of thumb is to match the color of the wine to the color of the food.

  • This dish is so versatile that it can be eaten as a main course or appetizer. Therefore, what you will drink with Tarte flambée largely depends on the time of day and whether it is a meal or an appetizer.
  • I like to pair this dish with a nice white wine for dinner. Tarte flambée is usually topped with cream, which pairs well with white wine. If your recipe calls for onion, then a chardonnay would go well with this dish. If you choose not to use onion in your recipe, try pairing it with a sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.
  • If you are making this as an appetizer instead of dinner, you may want to consider serving it with a glass of champagne or prosecco.

I also have found that pairing Tarte flambée with a beer works very well. Since beer has yeast (just like bread), the flavors complement each other nicely.


What wine goes with Tarte flambée?

The answer to this question is going to be pretty subjective and personal, and you can get help from this cooking nytimes website. 

Tarte flambée, or flammekueche as it's called in Alsace, is a very thin-crusted pizza of sorts, topped with creme Fraiche, onions, and lardons, the smoky-cured French bacon. It's not very assertive in flavor but rich and fatty.

Wine doesn't go with food so much as wine or food goes with you. So what types of wine do you like? What wines do you find most compatible with your palate? What flavors don't you like? What flavors do you want?

  • Alsatian whites are often made from grapes not grown in other regions of France (or the world), so if you're looking for a match to the local cuisine, that might be a good place to start.
  • What about some regional Riesling? If you prefer reds, try some mature Pinot Noir from Burgundy--the earthy smoky notes might work well with the bacon--or something from Beaujolais--a fruity yet lighter-bodied wine whose acidity will help refresh your palate between bites. If you're feeling more adventurous, look for some.
Tarte flambée flammekueche


Tarte flambée toppings 

  • Bacon: Tarte flambée is usually topped with pork, such as smoked bacon. If a vegetarian wants to eat tarte flambée, they can ask for the tarte flambée to be prepared without bacon.
  • Onions: Onions are the main ingredient of tarte flambée.
  • Fromage Blanc: Fromage Blanc is a fresh dairy product made from milk and cream. It has a smooth texture and is white. It is similar to sour cream, although it tastes more like yogurt.
  • Creme Fraiche: Creme Fraiche is also used in the preparation of tarte flambée. It is similar to sour cream, but it contains 30% butterfat, which gives it a richer flavor.
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms are very commonly used as toppings on tarte flambée. Mushrooms are added after the dough has been baked without toppings not to become too soggy.
  • Cheese: Cheese is another popular topping on tarte flambée. Popular varieties include Emmental cheese and Munster cheese.


What is the difference between pizza and Flammkuchen?

  1. Pizza and Flammkuchen are both a form of a flatbread baked in an oven. Both breeds have a base (the dough) and a topping.
  2. Pizza is generally thick but can also be thin (like focaccia). The dough consists of wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. It's topped with tomato sauce, cheese, herbs, and other toppings like meat or vegetables. Pizza is popular worldwide.
  3. Flammkuchen is originally from Alsace (France) and the German Rhineland-Palatinate. It's similar to pizza but thinner and not as wide (identical to a rectangular sheet cake), with crispy edges. The dough consists of wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. In contrast to pizza, the topping consists only of bacon strips, onions, and sour cream or crème Fraiche.


Pizza and Flammkuchen are flatbreads with toppings, but the dough is the main difference;

  • Flammkuchen is a traditional dish from Alsace in the northeast of France, bordering Germany and Switzerland. It is made with thin dough topped with crème Fraiche, bacon (lardons), onions, and sometimes cheese. The dough is rolled out so thinly that it becomes almost translucent.
  • Pizza is thicker, made with yeast-risen dough and a tomato sauce. The toppings vary, but most pizzas have cheese as a base, along with additional toppings like mushrooms or pepperoni.


Tarte flambée is a traditional Alsatian dish

Tarte flambée is a traditional Alsatian dish that features a thin crust of dough spread with crème Fraiche. If you're making Tarte flambée at home, we recommend using our recipe of carolinescooking for Crème Fraiche to make your own and here is link for you.

To serve, cut into desired size and top with the following:

  • Chopped chives
  • Crème Fraiche
  • Onion confit

A French flatbread topped with creme Fraiche, onions, and bacon, Tarte Flambée is an easy dinner option filled with rich, savory flavors. If you want to serve something alongside your Tarte Flambée for dinner, here are some good options:

  1. A green salad with vinaigrette dressing. The acid in the sauce will cut through the richness of the Tarte Flambée and balance out its flavor.
  2. Steamed asparagus. Tarte Flambée is a rich dish, so you need a fresh side and light to counter it. Steamed asparagus will also add a nice bit of color to your plate that will look beautiful next to the flambée.
  3. Mashed potatoes or potato salad. The earthiness of these dishes goes well with the rich bacon in the Tarte Flambée and adds some carbs to round out your meal into a full dinner.
  4. Sauteed spinach or Swiss chard. Adding some greens to your dinner is always a good idea, and they'll pair well with the cheese, onions, and bacon on top of your flambée. You could also add some baby spinach leaves or arugula to your green salad for a similar


One of the great things about tarte flambée is that it's a blank slate for any number of toppings

A few popular options are:

  • Crème Fraiche (a slightly tart French cream)
  • Fromage Blanc (a mild, fresh cheese)
  • Potato slices
  • Mushrooms
  • Grated Gruyère or Emmental cheese
  • Speck (an Italian cured meat)


Popularity of Tarte Flambée

The popularity of Tarte flambée in the UK has been growing steadily for many years due to its simplicity and low cost. It is usually served with a salad and eaten as a light meal.

  • The dough is similar to that used for traditional French bread. The topping consists of fromage Blanc (a piece of soft white cheese made from cow's milk) or crème Fraiche (a thickened cream), thinly sliced raw onions, and bacon lardons.
  • The dish is baked in a pizza oven until the dough is crisp and the toppings are lightly browned. Often herbs such as thyme are added to the topping after baking.

The popularity of tarte flambée in the UK has grown in recent years. In London, there are now several restaurants serving this dish. These include Le Coq in Clerkenwell, Le Garrick in Covent Garden, and Maison Bertaux in Soho. Tarte flambée is also available in supermarkets and can be found at festivals such as Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where L'Alsace sells it.


Sauces for Tarte Flambée

Here are some sauces for Tarte flambée:

  • Crème Fraiche
  • Mascarpone
  • Fromage Blanc
  • Ricotta softly whipped with a little crème Fraiche or cream cheese (do not over whip!)


There are two main sauces for the Tarte flambée:

  1. The Alsatian sauce: is made with cream, onions, and nutmeg.
  2. The Lorraine sauce: made with crème Fraiche and onions (sometimes garlic).


Tarte Flambée is easy to make

Tarte flambée is a very simple dish made with very basic ingredients. The dough is usually made with flour and water, though some French chefs insist that a small amount of milk and oil be added to the mix.

  • It may also include yeast or baking powder for leavening, but this varies according to personal taste. The dough is rolled into a very thin sheet then covered with fromage Blanc (a soft cheese made from cow's or goat's milk) and crème Fraiche (thick cream).
  • Thinly sliced onions are then sprinkled on top of the dough, along with lardons (bacon bits) and sometimes mushrooms. Finally, the tart is baked in an oven until it becomes crisp and browned.

Tarte flambée tastes best when it is served hot out of the oven and finds best tastes here in foodnetwork. The best accompaniment for tarte flambée is a glass of Alsatian Riesling wine. 

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