Can you guess what this tasty treat is? It may look like a pizza, but it’s not……
It’s a FLAMMKUCHEN, a German specialty from the Alsace region. Flammkuchen is an ultra thin pizza-like snack cooked in a hot wood-fired oven. Rather than a red sauce with mozzarella cheese, it uses a creme fraiche base with toppings of bacon and caramelized onions. I had the amazing opportunity to sample this awesome snack while traveling with my husband on an extended business trip in Cologne, Germany, and I can tell you….. it was delicious.
And so, when I arrived home, I couldn’t wait to make this recipe but didn’t know how. Of course, I googled it and tried a few recipe sites attempting to recreate my new favorite snack. After a few tries, I think I got it just right. Wanna know how to make it? Keep reading.
Below is a list of ingredients that you will need for 1 Flammkuchen:
- 1 Store-bought Pizza Dough, using only 1/4 of the dough.
(This means that you can make 4 Flammkuchens, but I usually double this recipe and make 2 at a time, saving the other half of the dough for another time. Also, I purchase homemade pizza dough at Trader Joe’s or my local food store; however, you can make your own pizza dough with a little flour, salt, yeast and water, but it find buying it is so much easier.)
- Creme Sauce: The original recipe calls for creme-fraiche, which is probably the standard ingredient, but I found that sour cream with a little whipping cream will work just as well. In fact, I like it better, plus it’s cheaper.
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons of heave cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 2 oz package of precooked bacon, about 7-8 slices
(Feel free to use more or less bacon depending on your preference. Of course, you can use real bacon and precook it, but then that will take more time. HaHa!)
- very thin slices of red onion (as thin as you can make them)
- basil sprinklings as desired
- Use a pizza stone to cook the pizza, as this will give it a wood-fired oven taste. Also, use a pizza peel to transfer the flammkuchen from the board into the oven and back out again.
- Optional: substitute fresh cut basil for the dry spice, or use both dry and fresh basil.
- Optional: garnish with a few pieces arugula and sliced cherry tomatoes, as seen in the photo above.
Now for the the directions:
- Put your pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
2. Mix the sour cream, whipping cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley to make a similar creme fraiche sauce, spreading the sauce all over the pizza crust.
3. Cut 7-8 precooked bacon slices into small bite size chunks.
4. Slice about 1/4 cup of red onion into very thin slices. Try to cut the slices as thin as you possible can. I like to cover the pizza with these onions, but feel free to use as much or as little as you like.
5. Next, roll out your dough onto a wooden pizza peel board. Try to spread the crust into a large circle spanning the size of your board.
- Before you start, generously spread cornmeal on the board to prevent the dough sticking to the board.
- Also, shape the dough into a circle with your hands, and gently pull it out in a circle as much as you can before you start rolling out the dough.
And again, as you roll out the dough, continue to make sure there is enough cornmeal underneath the dough. This is extremely important for you to easily slide the flammkuchen onto the hot pizza stone. Roll out the dough into an very thin circle, spreading the size of the pizza peel. (Hint: don’t flip the dough in the air like you were making a pizza, roll it out using a rolling pin. Press hard onto the dough to attain that thin, THIN crust.
6. Gently brush melted butter or olive oil on the ends of the crust. This step make the crust crispy like a thin cracker. If you have left over oil or butter, spread some in the middle of the crust. (Personally, I prefer butter over olive oil as it appears to make a lighter crust. Just saying.)
7. Carefully spread your sauce over the dough, followed by placing the bacon, the red onions and then the basil over the dough. (I often use fresh basil and then some additional dry basil.)
8. Bake for about 5-6 minutes. checking on your creation. Since the stone is hot, the flammkuchen will cook fast. Watch closely that the crust does not burn as it will turn quickly turn brown.
9. When crust is golden, transfer the flammkuchen onto your pizza peel. Cut and serve immediately.
As you feel like creating your own creation, feel free to modify the toppings.
- Substitute pancetta for the bacon, but slightly pre-cook it. Then, caramelize white onions in bacon fat.
- Add a little pesto into the sauce. Or you could even spread pesto onto the crust and omit the sauce.
- Try different toppings. Rather than the standard flammkuchen ingredients of bacon and onion, top with ingredients such as chicken, artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives and even some types of cheeses like goat cheese, feta or asiago.
- Change up the savory snack to a sweet one. Use a sweet sauce (2 oz of cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and a tablespoon of sugar.) and then top with a mixtures of apples, cinnamon and sugar. In France, they call this a Tarte Flambe.
Just have a heart to experiment with your taste buds and see what you like.
And finally, why not enjoy with friends and family? You could have a Flammkuchen party? I am planning to make these creations while entertaining during the holidays. My guests will be invited to try to roll out the dough if they like. It will be so much fun. Tasty too.
While my creation may not look exactly like the picture above, I can assure you the taste is pretty darn close. If you want, top the finished pizza with basil, arugula, and sliced cherry tomatoes.