Friday, 6 August 2010

Flammkuchen for Some Weary Travellers

This Monday night we welcomed back R - M's Godfather who often stays with us while he is working. He is quite definitely a man with an appetite, so something rich in carbohydrates for supper was definitely on the cards.

I had spent the day alone at home with M, as L had gone South for a flying visit to his grandmother. When he has been travelling all day, he likes to come home to a treat of a takeaway in front of the tv - most often pizza. Sometimes we go for that blasphemous option, especially if I'm too tired to cook, but that day I decided it would be easy enough to knock up some bread dough (I have spent months trying to perfect my pizza dough recipe, and think at last I have it). I did not have time however to knock up some tomato sauce to top it with and nor could I be bothered to go and pick up mozzarella and other toppings. I've had some creme fraiche in the fridge for a week that was begging to be used and upon remembered an article in the newspaper I'd read a couple of weeks ago about alternatives to pizza, decided that a Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambee was what we'd be dining on that evening.

Flammkuchen is similar to pizza, but the top is traditionally spread with well seasoned creme fraiche, scattered with lots of red onions and bacon and sprinkled with fresh chives when it comes out of the oven. I was feeding two vegetarians so bacon was naturally out of the question. I put some leftover cooked spinach from lunch on one of them, which also worked a treat.

We got two Flammkuchen out of this recipe

For the dough
200g strong white bread flour
100g wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp caster sugar
14g dried yeast
175ml warm water
1tbsp olive oil
For the topping
200ml creme fraiche
50ml double cream
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
2 red onions, halved and finely sliced
generous handful of chopped fresh chives
(50g bacon or pancetta)

To make the dough, mix the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle using the back of a spoon.
Dissolve the yeast in the water with the caster sugar and leave for three minutes to foam a little.
Pour this into the well along with the olive oil and combine until a dough has formed. Knead for 5 mins until the dough is silky and elastic.
Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30mins in a warm place.
Knock down the dough and divide into two balls before leaving to rise for another 30mins.
Preheat the oven to as high a temperature as it will go - gas mark 9 in our case.
On a well floured surface, roll out each dough ball to fit onto two lightly greased baking sheets and transfer them over using the rolling pin to help.
In a bowl, mix together the creme fraiche and double cream with some salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Spread this over the bases.
Scatter the red onion slices and pancetta, if using, all over the creme fraiche.
Carefully place into the oven and cook for about 10mins until it is golden brown and bubbling.
Scatter the fresh chives over the top and serve.

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