Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gut Food? Flammkuchen with white asparagus and Black Forest ham

My mouth waters just looking at this photo. Must get more Flammkuchen dough. Stat.
I’ve not been terribly efficient at writing up my German culinary explorations, which have continued with varying levels of success (high point: eggs in mustard sauce; low point: spinach Spätzle; point of Benny Hill-style hilarity: Frankfurter Green Sauce) since my semi-triumphant Lentils with Spätzle and Sausage.  If I'm honest, part of the reason that I've not blogged my adventures is that I can no longer stand writing 'Gut Food': what started out as a "hilarious" play on words now just makes me cringe so badly I just can't bear to even think about it.  Last weekend, however, I produced such a simple little dazzler of a Sunday evening hangover snack – and a cheat’s version at that - that I can't help but post it regardless.  In the meantime, I've had a couple of brilliant ideas for a new name for my recipe series on Twitter, and would love to hear any further suggestions here!

But on with the food.  Introducing Germany’s answer to a very thin-crust pizza: Flammkuchen - or Tarte Flambée, as it’s known in Alsace.  Actually, Flammkuchen is really only really like a pizza in the sense that it’s a flat bread that goes in the oven topped with whatever you fancy: that's where the similarity ends.  Instead of cheese, the dough is smeared with crème fraîche or its German sort-of-equivalent, Schmand, and the whole effect is of something a little more elegant than our everyday equivalent of its Italian relative, though I’m sure you could bring it down a peg or two by covering it in pre-grated cheddar and some chunks of ham and pineapple.  The most popular version of Flammkuchen in this region is the Badischer Flammkuchen, which is sprinkled with finely-cubed bacon and slices of white onion and good grief, it's heaven.

I mention this recipe is the cheat's version: I had cunningly planned ahead to take into account that I might potentially have a small headache following my birthday party last Saturday night and had nipped out and bought a roll of readymade Flammkuchen dough in preparation. Topping-wise, I went ultra seasonal with a bunch of locally-grown, fresh-out-of-the-ground, very fine-looking white asparagus; as ever, I couldn’t resist a bit of Black Forest ham; and decided to mix the crème fraîche with a little cream and an egg yolk, as recommended by Essen und Trinken magazine (link in German).  The whole thing was extremely straightforward to put together and it took just about half an hour to chop things, assemble things, and get things hot and crispy in the oven.  I’d like to try making my own dough from scratch at some point, but in the meantime I'd recommend this quick and easy version very highly indeed.
Extreme close-up: look at all that creamy, eggy goodness.
Ingredients (serves 2)

1 roll of Flammkuchen dough (found in the cold bit of the supermarket)
1 egg yolk
50g Crème fraîche
1 tablespoon double cream (Schlagsahne)
Salt and pepper
2 spring onions, white and pale green part finely sliced
A bunch of white asparagus - I suppose I used 5-6 stalks
Black Forest Ham (Schwarzwälder Schinken) - or some other cured meat such as Parma ham or Prosciutto

Method and serving suggestion

1. Roll out the dough out flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper – mine came wrapped in baking parchment that it told me to keep it on, which was useful
2. Mix together the whisked egg yolk, crème fraîche, cream and pepper and spread two thirds of it evenly across the base
3. Split the asparagus lengthwise down the middle and chop into pieces 4-5cm long, placing them all over the dough cut side down
4. Sprinkle the spring onion on top, drizzle over the remaining cream mix, season with salt and pepper and put your Flammkuchen in the oven for 15 minutes at 220˚ (or as per the packet instructions).  Your kitchen will smell INCREDIBLE
5. Cut the ham into strips and, once the Flammkuchen is out of the oven, drape it artistically all over the top.

Enjoy with a green salad and, in an ideal world, a large glass of white wine.


Marc Frederic said...

Pictures say it all! Save me a slice....

Anne said...

that looks sooo good!
I've often wondered about the dough in the store - thanks for the inspiration to try it

C N Heidelberg said...

Yum! I love Flammkuchen but haven't tried to make it myself. Yours looks delicious! I'm curious about the green sauce story...that's another big favorite of mine. :)

Frau Dietz said...

@Marc: I'll put a stamp on the next one. And write your address on using... ham?

@Anne: I can't remember which brand I bought but I'm pretty sure it was the only one available in the shop: it tasted as good as any I've eaten. Let me know how it goes :)

@CNHeidelberg: I will get round to blogging the green sauce at some point but it was such an escapade it's taken me weeks to recover!!

Anne said...

hmmm that looks so good! I'll try that asap :)

german-gems said...

I usually save flammkuchen for fairs and fests, but with two of my favorite things on top, this will have to be made at home. Thanks for the idea.

Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista said...

This looks great! If there is one thing I really love about spring in Germany, its the white asparagus. Yummy good.

Frau Dietz said...

@Anne: (wow two Annes in one post!) looking forward to hearing what you think! And what do you use instead of all the creme fraiche and things - are there dairy-free versions of those?

@German Gems: you are very welcome! Be sure to tell us how it goes!

@Debbie: I didn't think much of white asparagus last year, I think I must have eaten it at the wrong places, however THIS year I just can't get enough of it!

Harvey Morrell said...

Wow! That looks great! Thanks for the idea, I was wondering what to make for dinner.....

Jen said...

Ohhhh I'm so glad you posted this. I adore Flammkuchen. Will have to try it this way!

otomcio said...

Ahhhhh, streaming BBC video. How!? I tried expat shield too but can't get it to work. Any ideas. Help.

P.S. You can PM ne via the new link on my bleurg :)

P.P.S bought some asparagus at the weekend from the market. Should have whacked it on a Flammkuchen like that!

Frau Dietz said...

@Harvey: glad to be of assistance! Can you get Flammkuchen dough in Baltimore or do you make it yourself?

@Jen: Do!! So easy and SO tasty. Let me know what you put on it :)

@Otomcio: I think the key thing is to buy as much asparagus as you can carry (or more) and make as many things with it as possible. Will go look for that link... :)

minidietz said...

Being slightly connected to a swiss family of trdaitional bakers, who are extremely (!)picky about their doughs and baking, I can asure you. Even Mr. Miller senior (main baker) recommends the dough from the store for a quick "Wähe" - something like swiss pizza. Since then we like to use it, but of course, only from the swiss stores, luckily only five minutes away.
I am very happy (and relieved) you made it to the white Spargel, the Dietz is coming through!

Frau Dietz said...

@minidietz: thank you, with your official Swiss baker family authorisation I shall go forth and make more Flammkuchen. See you soon!!!

Andrew said...

Freiburg is just crawling with Flammkuchen. There are several restaurants that do nothing else BUT Flammkuchen. My favorite is olive, feta, salami and herbs.

Frau Dietz said...

That sounds heavenly!!