November 3, 2008

Tarte Flambée

Tarte flambée is an Alsatian dish composed of thin bread dough rolled out in a circle or a rectangle, which is covered by crème fraîche, onions and bacon. It is one of the most famous gastronomical specialties of the region.
Depending on the area of the region, this dish can be called inAlsatian flammekueche, in German Flammkuchen, or, inFrench, tarte flambée.
Legend says that the creators of this dish were those Alsatian farmers who used to bake bread once a week. A tarte flambée would be used to test the heat of their wood-fired ovens. At the peak of its temperature, the oven would also have the ideal conditions in which to bake a tarte flambée. The embers would be pushed aside to make room for the tarte in the middle of the oven, and the intense heat would be able to bake it in 1 or 2 minutes. The crust that forms the border of the tarte flambée would be nearly burned by the flames.
The name itself comes from this method of baking, the English translation of the original Alsatian name meaning "baked in the flames".
In some parts of Alsace the crème fraîche may be replaced by fromage blanc (similar to Quark), or by a mixture of half fromage blanc and half crème fraîche. The result resembles a thin pizza.
When ordered at a traditional restaurant, the waiter will typically keep bringing tarte flambées until the customer asks him to stop.

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