Wednesday, October 02, 2013

tarte flambée with bacon and jalapeños

tarte flambee bacon jalapeno flammkuchen

Sometimes I can be reminded of home in the most unlikely places. For instance, last week I visited the Museum of Modern Art’s new Rene Magritte exhibit. Houston’s Menil Collection has a large number of his paintings and had donated some works to the show. As I walked through the galleries, it made me smile to see art I associate with home, and I felt Texas pride to see Houston so well represented in New York City.

After I saw the exhibit, I grabbed a bite to eat at The Modern, a restaurant at the museum. It’s German-inspired cuisine, and on the menu is a tarte flambée, which is an Alsatian baked flatbread that’s been smothered in bacon, onions, and a creamy sauce. It’s basically a bacon and onion pizza. Who wouldn't love that? And while it's not fussy, it’s still incredibly luscious and rich. It's a favorite of mine, and it’s a rare trip to the museum that I don’t make the time to stop into the restaurant and order one.

Now tarte flambée, which in Germany is known as flammkuchen, isn’t obviously Texan, but it also reminded me of home. See, Texas has a rich German legacy, not to mention in Central Texas there is also a community of folks from the Alsace region, an area in Eastern France that falls along the border of Germany and Switzerland. So an Alsatian tart is more connected to Texas than you might originally suppose.

I always thought making tarte flambée would be complicated, but after reading a recipe in Luisa Weiss’s delightful memoir “My Berlin Kitchen,” I was shocked at how easy it could be. Yes, you do make a dough using yeast, but don’t be scared of that if you’ve never done it before; the hardest part about yeast dough is being patient as it rises. After that’s done, then you simply spread crème fraiche on the rolled-out crust and then top that with large handfuls of sliced bacon and onions. Slide it in the oven, wait a few minutes, and you're done.

Traditionally a tarte flambée is only topped with bacon and onions, but I figured as long I was paying homage to Central Texas I might as well add some jalapeños, too. I doubt anyone will mind, though of course feel free to not use them if you want to keep it classic.

tarte flambee bacon jalapeno flammkuchen

It’s terrific to serve as a snack when you’re watching the game, though it also makes for a fine main course. (And if you’re like me, you’ll find it’s perfectly acceptable for breakfast, too.) That said no matter when you enjoy this tarte flambée with bacon and jalapeños, I believe everyone will agree that slices of this creamy, smoky, savory tart makes for good eating. And who knows, it might even remind you of home.

Tarte flambée with bacon and jalapeños

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
8 ounces crème fraiche
2 medium yellow onions, cut into very thin slivers
6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch batons
2 jalapeños, sliced (optional)

To make the dough, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and oil and then stir until the dough comes together. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and then knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a clean bowl. Place the kneaded dough in the bowl, cover it with a clean cloth or plastic wrap, then allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (You want the oven to get really hot, so allow it to preheat for 30 minutes.) Punch down the risen dough and divide into 2 balls. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease a large cast-iron griddle.

On a lightly floured surface, working in batches, roll out one of the dough balls until extremely thin. The dough will be resistant, so you’ll have to pause for a couple of minutes while rolling so it can rest and become more pliant.

Once the dough is rolled out, place it on the sheet or griddle. Top with 4 ounces (about 7 tablespoons) crème fraiche, half the bacon, half the onions, and half the jalapeños. Slide into the oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and blistered, and the bacon and onions are cooked. As the first one is baking, repeat the process for the remaining dough and toppings.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm.

4-8 servings

Crème fraiche can be found in many grocery stores in the dairy section, usually next to creamy container cheeses such as mascarpone. If you can’t find it, you can either substitute 1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, or make you own. To make you own crème fraiche, mix together 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Cover and then leave it unrefrigerated for 8 hours up to 24 hours or until thickened. Once it’s become thick, store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.



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ericacbarnett said...

Fellow Houstonian and longtime lurker here. This looks amazing, and your post makes me homesick for the Menil's Magritte exhibit!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Erica--Thank you! And yes, the Menil is always a must-visit whenever I'm home.

SeattleDee said...

My taste buds are crying out for a piece of this tart. I might add a handful of thinly sliced sausage coins to the top in honor of some New Braunfels and Fredericksburg memories.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

SeattleDee--That's an excellent idea!

Robert (Pyro Pig) Frazier said...

Because I like savory pies and I love your blog and book.... gonna share a couple recipes I have competed with. First one, Savory Tomato Tart took first place at the American Royal, 2007 Vegetable Side Contest.... .... this second one didnt fair as well, but I think it is just as good if not better than the tomato one... Corn and Cilantro Tart.... both of these are my original recipes, and you may use them as you please.... thanks for a wonedful blog... Robert Frazier

More Cowbell said...

That looks wonderful! I'll sub sliced green onions for the regular because I like the way they cook up better. This would make an excellent breakfast or brunch dish. Thanks, Lisa!

Julian said...

Always been one of my favourites. Freshly out of a wood fired oven, it's heaven on a peel. I like the jalapeno addition - that's saturday night sorted out...

Monika said...

Ah, la tarte flambée!
This post made me so nostalgic for Paris (my second home, where I spent my college years) from where we used to go to Strassbourg and we ate those morning, day and night. But as someone who has had them there, I feel obliged to disagree that their origin is German. In true Alsatian tradition (where they bicker about *everything*), I have to insist the tarte is very very French :)

Monika said...

P.S. I would love nothing more than to make this at home, but sadly in Bulgaria where I am we have no creme fraiche... Would sour cream work?

ninivepisces said...

And you don't even need a yeasty dough, if you want that paper-thin qualtiy of true alsacian tarte flambee- look here

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Robert--Thanks for sharing!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

More Cowbell--Yes, it's wonderful in the morning!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Julian--While I don't think I've ever had one from a wood-fired oven, that sounds magnificent. Happy to help you sort out your Saturday nigh!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Monika---Ha! Thank you for the clarification. And yes, you can substitute sour cream--I've written a note about that at the end of the recipe.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...


Mary Waller Hall said...

Lisa, I'm having so much fun trying your recipes. The pork turned out great in the crock pot, by the way. I'll try this one this weekend, but will probably cook it on the grill. I'm trying to master that technique for cooking pizza without burning it.

David said...

I love tarte flambé, reminds me of a great week in Strausburg. My cheaters tarte is to use soft lavash for the base, spread with goodies as desired, and bake on a hot pizza stone. Crisp, easy, and delicious.

USmonzu said...

Being of Germanic origin, I had to make this. Due to budget constraints, I used jowl bacon and precooked it and the onion a little bit, adding some dried thyme and granulated garlic, as well as some house made assorted pickled chiles, grown in the Yakima valley. I almost added some German Maggi seasoning to the crème fraiche, but good ol' S&P did the trick this time. The bacon really enhances the onion here. A new "go to" for me. And sad to tell Monica, above, but really the Alsace is just a German suburb anyway, and most of their good stuff is a product of German work ethic and ingenuity. (See Texas BBQ from Austin to San Antonio.)

Shelley said...

I never knew German food could sound so good.

Alison said...

As a Texan living in Austria just a few hours from the Alsace, I'm lucky enough to be able to find "Flammkuchen" dough in the grocery stores here. You can just unroll it like pizza dough and add your favorite ingredients - makes for a fast, easy dinner. We can also get frozen Flammkuchen (like frozen pizza) and it's surprisingly good.

Monika said...

Hi Lisa,
I made this last night and it was insanely good - and totally worth the hassle.
And by "hassle" I mean bugging a friend who lives in Germany to bring me some buttermilk when he comes to Bulgaria for the holidays, making creme fraiche and then finally making this tarte flambee. The jalapenos add a really nice touch to it. It is just perfect!

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