Totally Chic, Totally Crispy – Tarte Flambée

Tarte Flambée is all the rage at the moment. I see it on menus at all the hip restaurants, and it's popping up even as far away as Holland and Denmark. But where does the name "Tarte Flambée", "Flammkuchen" in German, originally come from? I set out to get to the bottom of this - and provide you with three yummy Tarte Flambée recipes at the same time - from sweet to savoury.

Tarte Flambée has its origins in Alsace as well as Baden. I've been familiar with its delicious, thin dough for a while, but didn't know where it came from. So I spent some time on the internet and found out the following: In the olden days,Tarte Flambée was baked in a wood-fired baker's oven right before the bread went in to make use of the oven's intense starting heat. By checking the tartes, the baker was able to monitor the oven's temperature.

The baking time of a classic Tarte Flambée is 12-15 minutes. If it turned dark and crispy before that, the bread had to wait for a while longer. If the tarte took more than 15 minutes, the heat in the oven wasn't high enough. The name derives from the flames in the oven that were still glowing when the dough was put in.

Traditionally, the tarte's thin dough is topped with raw onion, bacon and a sour cream sauce, seasoned with salt and pepper. Today, there are numerous variations on the original, from a vegetarian version to one with bacon.

Here's the basic dough for Tarte Flambée as well as three (non-traditional) toppings. You can buy the dough pre-made at the store - look out for brands like Tante Fanny for example - but of course nothing beats homemade.

Basic ingredients for the dough (enough for 4 people):

220g flour

1 cube of yeast

1 TBSP oil

1 pinch of salt

130ml sparkling water


1.)  Dissolve the yeast in 50ml of lukewarm water. Put the flour into a big bowl and form a hollow in the middle. Pour the yeast-water mixture into it and mix in some flour from the edges. Now add the 130ml of sparkling water, olive oil and salt and quickly process into a smooth dough, ideally on a work surface, kneading with your hands . Form the dough into a ball, place it into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for at least an hour. If you're putting it in the oven to let it rise, preheat it to 50°C.

2.)  When the dough has risen, knead it through again and roll it out with a rolling pin on a work surface covered with parchment. The size of the parchment paper should correspond to the baking sheet you will be using. Now here's the laborious bit (but it's worth it in the end, I promise): roll out the dough until the edges start retreating. Cover with cling film and let it rest for a short while. Remove the cling film and roll it out again until the edges retreat. Repeat this until your dough is around 2-3mm thin.


And now for the toppings...



#1 Tarte Flambée with Prosciutto and Figs  


100g prosciutto

2 figs

50g rocket

1 leek

1 red onion

50g cottage cheese

½ jar (125 g) sour cream

salt and pepper


1.)  Prepare the dough as described above.

2.)  Preheat oven to 220°C (upper/lower) or 200°C (fan).

3.)  Wash the leek, remove the outer layer and anything green, cut in half and finely slice the white flesh.

4.)  Peel and finely cube the onion and garlic. Combine the cottage cheese and sour cream in a bowl and mix well. Brush the dough with the cheese-cream mixture and top with leek, onion and garlic.

5.)  Bake your tarte on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for around 15-20 minutes.

6.)  In the meantime, wash and shake or spin dry the rocket. Wash and slice the figs. Remove the finished tarte from the oven and top with figs, prosciutto and rocket. Cut into bite-sized pieces, arrange on plates and serve.



# 2 Tarte Flambée with Goat's Cheese and Lingonberries


150g goat's cheese

3 sprigs rosemary

100g créme frâiche

3 onions

Lingonberry (or cranberry) preserve

salt and pepper


1.) Prepare the dough as described above.

2.) Preheat oven to 220°C (upper/lower) or 200°C (fan).

3.)  Wash, shake dry, pick and finely chop the rosemary. Put the crème frâiche in a bowl and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Peel and finely slice the onion.

4.)  Brush the crème frâiche thinly onto the dough and top evenly with the onion. Spread the goat's cheese on top and bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for around 15-20 minutes.

5.)  Remove your tarte from the oven, evenly spread the lingonberry preserve on top and serve.


# 3 Tarte Flambée



Sweet Tarte Flambée with Apple, Cocoa and Walnuts


3 TBSP cocoa powder

3 TBSP sugar

200g crème fraîche

3 tart apples, such as Boskop or Elstar

100g walnuts

1-2 TBSP honey or maple syrup


1.)  Prepare the dough as described above, but don't mix in any oil, but instead combine with cocoa powder and sugar.

2.) Preheat oven to 220°C (upper/lower) or 200°C (fan). Brush the dough with crème fraîche. Coarsely chop the walnuts. Wash, quarter, core and slice the apples (you might want to use the slicing side of a grater).

3.)  Top with the apples and nuts, drizzle with some honey and bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for around 15-20 minutes.