It’s the last day of April and May is just around the corner. We’ve had a very warm winter and a beautiful spring so far. Eating with the season is a lot of fun at the moment. As I said before, I love asparagus – and have been cooking with it at every possible meal.
Flammkuchen are a popular dish from Alsacia, a region of France. For historical reasons the food from Alsacia is also very popular in the south of Germany, which borders on Alsacia. Flammkuchen (or Tarte Flambeée) are sorta, kinda like a pizza, essentially a yeast-based dough, rolled out very thinly (so it’s very crispy) and topped with crème fraiche. Most Flammkuchen are then topped with bacon bits and leeks (or onions), but there are also sweet versions with thin apple slices drizzled with sugar and cinnamon. As a vegetarian, I had a hard time finding Flammkuchen back in the days when I still ate gluten, so it wasn’t a regular treat. I did attempt making my own, unfortunately without much success.After I was able to perfect my cripy pizza crust recipe, I decided to make Flammkuchen based on it. The result was really good, and my husband – who exclaimed “who is going to eat all of this?!” when he came home – finished every last crumb of his Flammkuchen with delight.
Ingredients (for two Flammkuchen):
2/3 cup super fine rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
2/3 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Schaer Farine)
1 tsp gluten-free agents (this is what I call a mix of xanthan and guar gums, arrowroot and carob flours in equal parts, I always have a small jar of it handy, and take out whatever I need and then simply refill and re-mix as required)
½ tsp salt
1 package instant dry yeast (about 9 g)
1 tbsp sugar
½ cup yoghurt (or buttermilk – I used low fat)
¾ cup warm soda water
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
One generous chug extra-virgin olive oil
For distributing your dough: glutinous rice flour (a.k.a. sticky rice flour)
Five medium onions, cut into thin slices
250ml crème fraiche (or heavy or sour cream, depending on what you happen to have in your fridge)
whatever toppings you fancy, e.g. 300g tomatoes or green asparagus, peppers, corn, etc.
In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (except the sweet rice flour, which you will need later).
Place the dry yeast in a separate bowl, add the sugar, the yoghurt and the warm soda water (if you are scared of killing the yeast, just use water at room temperature and let the dough rise a little longer). Using a whisk, dilute the yeast. Add the vinegar and the oil.
Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and knead into a smooth dough. The dough will be difficult to manage and rather on the liquid side, so if need be, add a bit of additional gluten-free flour mix (a tbsp or two).
Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, and then let rest below a humid kitchen towel for an hour or two until it has about doubled in size.
Line two baking tins with baking parchment; take out half of the dough and place it onto the baking parchment. Cover the dough entirely with sweet rice flour. Using the help of the rice flour spread the dough out carefully into a very thin Flammkuchen crust. You may need to add more sweet rice flour as you go.
Repeat with the second Flammkuchen crust.
Place both Flammkuchen crusts into your (cold) oven. Let rise for another hour.
Heat your oven to 275 °C (I would have heated it even higher, but my oven isn’t capable).
Take the Flammkuchen out of the oven and spread half of the crème fraiche over them, leaving lots of crust on the edges. Add the other toppings, finishing off with the onions and any herbs you may want to use.
Serve while hot, preferably on a wooden board (ensure that it is gluten-free) and with a sharp knife. In Alsacia Flammkuchen is served with new white wine. I didn’t have any, so I ate my Flammkuchen with the last bottle of Daura Damm gluten-free beer which I imported from the Netherlands.