Flammkuchen, or 'flame cake', is a German style pizza of flatbread, creme fraiche, caramelized onions and bacon. With it's crispy cracker like crust and creamy richness it's an irresistible appetizer or light meal.
I was introduced to Flammkucken at one of our local breweries during Octoberfest. As a total pizza lover I just had to try this German pizza, and let me tell you it was everything I wanted it to be and more! The thin flatbread crust is crisp and light and the most perfect base for the cream and cheese. Topped with crispy bacon and sauteed onion, you truly can't go wrong.
Flammkuchen is a traditional dish with humble origins. Historically, these little flame cakes were made to test the temperature of bread baking ovens - when the oven was the tight temperature to cook the tart, the oven was also at the right temperature to bake bread. Now, it is a popular German staple.
Why you're going to love this!
- No dough rising - flatbread dough does not have yeast and doesn't require time to rise. You can have the dough made and rolled in about 5 minutes using a stand mixer. Mixing by hand will take a bit longer to knead the dough smooth.
- simple ingredient list - the recipe takes just a short list of ingredients that each bring a pile of flavour resulting in a simple, yet fantastic tasting dish.
- quick and easy to prepare - you can satisfy your pizza cravings with a fresh, made at home 'pizza' in under 40 minutes.
- flour - for the flatbread dough, all purpose works just fine.
- olive oil - to flavour the dough.
- pancetta - technically, lardons would be used here but I can't get those so pancetta cut into nice small chunks works really well here. If you can't find either you can use bacon.
- creme fraiche - this is a thick cream made from heavy cream and buttermilk. It's rich and creamy and tangy. It has a phenomenal flavor and you should definitely go out of your way to find it, but if you can't sour cream or Greek yogurt are close enough.
- Gruyere cheese - this is completely optional and isn't included in the most classic version of the dish, but it's a popular variation and one that I highly encourage!
- nutmeg - just a pinch of this elevates the flavour of the creme fraiche so much!
- salt and pepper - to season the dough and the creme fraiche
How to make it
Make the flatbread dough. Using a stand mixer (or your hands if you need to) mix together the flour, water and sea salt until it forms a shaggy ball of dough. Add the olive oil and mix until it is incorporated. Knead the dough until it is smooth.
Cook the pancetta and onions. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the pancetta, Cook, stirring often, until the fat has rendered and the meat has crisped. Remove the pancetta from the pan then add the onions and cook until they are tender.
Season the creme fraiche. In a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche and nutmeg then season it with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roll out the dough. Roll the dough out into a loose rectangle that is about 9" x 18" in size. Sprinkle some cornmeal across a large baking sheet then transfer the rolled dough to the sheet.
Top the flammkuchen. Using a spoon, spread the creme fraiche out across the rolled dough. Top with the shredded Gruyere cheese then sprinkle on the onions and pancetta.
Bake. Bake at 500ºF for about 15 minutes. You will know when the flammkuchen is done when the edges of the flatbread have browned and the cheesy is nice and melted.
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Flammkuchen (German Pizza)
for the flatbread dough:
- 1 1⁄4 cup all purpose flour
- 3⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 Tablespoon water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
for the tarte:
- 2⁄3 cup creme fraiche
- pinch nutmeg
- 3 oz lardons
- 1 onion - thinly sliced
- 1 1⁄4 cup shredded Gruyere
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Make the dough and set it aside.
- Cook the bacon, then cook the onions in the pan.
- Mix the creme fraiche with nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
- Roll out the dough.
- Spread with creme then top with cheese. Top with onions and bacon.
- Bake 500ºF for about 15 minutes.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.