I hope everyone who celebrated Christmas had a lovely holiday! And to those of you who don’t celebrate, I hope you had a nice week, too. I’ve got another savory installment of Bake on Saturday for you today paired with a dining suggestion, should you ever find yourself in Linz. Hopefully you’ll find it’s a nice break from all the sweets that have been invading the Internet (and my blog as well) as everyone geared up for Christmas. Today I’ve got a version of an Alsatian dish that is also found throughout other Central European countries. Flammkuchen is sort of like thin crust pizza without the red sauce. Instead, the base is creme fraiche. The most traditional are topped with thick-cut bacon (Speck in German) and thinly sliced onions. I’ve actually never had that kind. I don’t go out to eat here in Linz a lot, what with the teaching assistant salary and all that, but I definitely have one favorite place: Barok België, a Belgian brasserie. I’m not sure if it fits the true definition of a French brasserie having never been to France, but the atmosphere is great and their Flammkuchen is awesome. They serve some interesting variations that I haven’t yet tried but am curious about, like a sweet version with apple and Calvados. The restaurant is cozy with arched ceilings, dark wood furniture, and European-style booths. I was going to tell you that they also have a great lunch deal where you get a Flammkuchen, waffle, and beer for 10 Euros, but it looks like they have replaced that deal with a 5 Euro Flammkuchen lunch special. Still a great price, though!
Anyway, this is my version of one of their dishes: in place of bacon and onions, this crispy crust is topped with creme fraiche, goat cheese, arugula, and honey. YUM. Seriously. Goat cheese and honey complement each other so well, and the slightly spicy arugula adds another level of flavor that plays so well off the honey’s sweetness. My plea to you is that the next time you want pizza, or some sort of dough baked at a high temperature and covered with cheese, try this instead. Though the flavors are sophisticated, this Flammkuchen comes together relatively quickly and easily. I mean, it does have to rise, but you don’t have to do anything while it rises. Or maybe you’ve got a pizza stone and have been looking for a way to put it to use (Mom, Dad, I’m looking at you). Or, you know, whatever. You don’t need an excuse to try this recipe, just go do it. P.S. Yesterday I updated my post on hamburger buns with slight changes to use the same recipe to make whole wheat dinner rolls!
Goat Cheese and Honey Flammkuchen
Makes two personal-sized Flammkuchen, enough for a light meal for 2
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white), plus more for rolling
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 T olive oil
Toppings (these are approximate measurements, so you may want to have a little extra on hand or be flexible!)
- about 8 oz creme fraiche
- about 5 oz goat cheese, sliced
- a handful or two of arugula
- honey, to drizzle
Instructions In a large bowl, combine yeast and water. Let the yeast bloom for about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, and olive oil. Turn onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Cover and set in a warm place to let rise for about an hour and fifteen minutes. If your house is freezing like mine, you can put a pan of hot water in the oven (with the oven off!) along with your bowl of dough to create a warm space. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to its hottest temperature. Divide your dough in two. Take one section of dough and roll as thinly as possible. Place on your pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. After five minutes, remove the flatbread from the oven and spread with half the creme fraiche and half the goat cheese. Return to the oven for another 5-ish minutes (depending on your temperature). When the Flammkuchen is crispy and slightly brown, remove from the oven. Slice the Flammkuchen, then sprinkle with arugula and drizzle with honey. Repeat with remaining dough.