Lately, I've been really trying hard to steer clear of cheese. As much as I love it, it just doesn't seem to love me. And when cheese goes... well... I've tried to love pizza without the cheese, but I just haven't been successful.
Enter the Alsatian dish: Flammekueche.
Flammekueche (or Flammekuchen in German) roughly translates into baked in fire... which means you're required to get that oven piping hot. It's a thin crust, topped with fromage blanc (or, in my inauthentic case, full fat sour cream), onions and cooked bacon.
I like mine with a beer crust.
Beer. Bacon. Shallots. It's a winner based on those ingredients alone.
(adapted from bonjourlafrance.com)
2¼ cups all purpose flour, divided
¼ cup warm water (100º-110ºF)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup dark beer
6 tbsp milk
1 cup sour cream
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 pinches ground nutmeg (crucial to the dish)
3 slices bacon, chopped into ¼"-½" wide strips
4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1. In a large bowl, mix together ¼ cup flour with water, sugar and yeast. Set aside for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Stir in remaining flour, 1 tsp kosher salt, beer and milk. Turn ingredients onto a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a smooth, elastic ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning dough all over to coat. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a draft free location, and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and let rise again for 1 more hour.
2. Meanwhile, with a rack in the middle, preheat oven to 475º and line your largest square baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a bowl, stir together sour cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside
4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and drain off all but ½ tbsp fat. Fry shallots in fat until golden and brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
5. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until as thin as you can manage to transfer. Transfer to baking sheet, cover with tea towel and let rest for 5 - 10 minutes.
6. Spread sour cream mixture over surface of dough, leaving a ½" border on all sides. Sprinkle with shallots and bacon. Fold up sides of dough.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until bottom is golden. Let cool on rack for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Best enjoyed with beer, in my opinion.