Jeff borrowed the formula for tarte flambée from his own best-seller Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. Funnily (to my French ears) he refers to the pie (also known as Flammekueche) as a traditional pizza from the Alsace region of France. I had never thought of tarte flambée as a pizza. Tarte flambée carries no Mediterranean overtones, there is not a tomato in sight, no oregano, no mozzarella. It is as un-Italian as could be. Yet, come to think of it, Jeffrey is right. It does belong in the same family as pizza: the toppings may be different but the doughs are indeed identical. Tarte flambée is a typical avant-cuisson (pre-baking) flatbread: wood-fired-oven bakers used it prior to baking bread to make sure their ovens were hot enough.
Ingredients: (for 4 pies)
- Mix all ingredients to moderate gluten development (desired dough temperature: 75-78°F)
- Bulk ferment for one hour, then divide the dough into 450 g pieces
- Round the dough pieces tightly, place into floured tubs
- Cover well and refrigerate 1 to 2 days
- Stretch the dough, top as desired, and bake in wood-fired oven with a live fire.
Jeffrey credits Jacquy Pfeiffer of the French Pastry School for generously sharing his topping recipe.
Ingredients: (for 4 pies)
- 450 g crème fraîche
- 35 g egg yolk
- 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 500 g bacon, cut into pieces about 1″ square or lardon-shape
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Nutmeg, grated, to taste
- Whisk the crème fraîche, yolks, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg together
- Stretch the pizza dough
- Spread the topping on the dough, about 1/8″ thick, leaving a 1/2″ rim around the edge
- Spread onions and bacon on top (be generous but don’t overlap)
- Bake in wood-fired oven with a live fire, at least 700°F
Note: If your wood-fired oven isn’t hot enough or if you are baking in a home oven, make sure to pre-cook the bacon and lightly sauté the onions.
- You can make the tarte flambée either round or square. Either way make sure to size it to the size of your peel
- Stretch and fold the dough between your hands, pulling at the rim a bit so that the rim isn’t too thick
- Using dough straight out of the fridge makes it less likely that it will tear
- You can use cornmeal on the peel but Jeff prefers using semolina because cornmeal burns (high fat content)
- You can make your own crème fraîche (by putting 75% heavy cream and 25% buttermilk or sour cream in a warm place for up to 24 hours)
- At home, pre-cook onion and bacon and bake the pie at 500°F on a pizza stone for about 5 minutes then finish it quickly under the broiler.