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Tarte Flambee recipe PDF Print E-mail

I can’t remember how I first experienced this dish (and for those who were expecting that anecdote – sorry folks!), but I plucked it from wherever that was yesterday and made it for dinner and I’m going to make it again tomorrow (we had leftovers today – and if you haven’t gathered yet, I like to make the same dish over and over again until I am completely sick of it… not a good idea).

Having made it from the part-fiction kaleidoscope that is my memory, I thought I would have a look afterwards at some other recipes on the web because I am a stickler for authenticity. To cut a long story short, there is a vast array of different recipes out there, some with bready bases, some with pizza bases and some with pastry bases. Personally, I like to roll out a really thin pizza base and pile on lots of topping – but not so much that the base doesn’t cook. If you are into saving time, you can buy ready made pizza bases at the supermarket.


400g strong bread flour
pinch salt
15 dried active yeast
200 ml lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 onions
knob of butter
300g bacon
400g crème fraiche
20 crushed peppercorns

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and thoroughly mix in a pinch of salt. Mix in the yeast (if you are using a yeast that needs activating, do this as per instructions on the packet, but don’t use more than 200ml water). Gradually mix the water and olive oil and pour into a well at the centre of the bowl. Slowly mix it all together and use your hands once it becomes less sticky. Depending on the flour you may need more or less water – it is better than it starts off on the wet side rather than it being too dry as adding more water once you start kneading never really works for me as it remains very tough and doesn’t rise properly, but adding little bits of flour add you knead is better.


Powder your hands with flour and go for it. Just combine the dough by pressing it together, folding it onto itself, turning it. You will get sticky hands but just keep flouring them… if you want to remove the excess dough from your hands, take up some flour from the bag and rub your hands together with it – discard whatever comes off. When the dough looks more or less in one lump, flour a worksurface: a light even sprinkling from high up, you don’t want to over-flour, you just don’t want the dough to stick. Then tip the dough out of the bowl and start kneading: the idea is to form strands of gluten in order that the dough will not collapse under its own weight when it begins to rise, but will be able to hold its structure. You stretching and working the dough forms long strands of gluten. Anyway, anything that stretches and warms the dough will form the gluten you strive for: slapping the dough down on the worksurface, rolling and stretching it. There is the more traditional method of holding the end nearest you with the heel of your hand whilst stretching it away from you with the heel of the other, then rotating it by 90 degrees and repeating. It is easy to under knead but not as easy to over knead – you would have to keep going for about half an hour before this happens, so don’t worry about that. About ten minutes is about right – you will notice the dough becomes smooth and elastic and if you lightly press your finger into the dough it should quickly spring back. Once you have achieved this, cover the ball of dough in a thin layer of oil to stop it from drying out, place it back into the bowl and cover with a plastic bag or damp towel. Put this in a warm place to double in size, which takes about 45 minutes.

Preparing the toppings

Whilst the miracle of biochemistry is taking hold, slice the onions into rings and sautee in a frying pan with a knob of butter until they are soft and golden brown. Remove them from the pan and fry the bacon, which you should first slice into strips. Season the crème fraiche with pepper to taste – I don’t add salt because the bacon is quite salty already, but you can do as you please. Mix in the onions with the crème fraiche. When the bacon starts to crisp, take it off the heat.

Knocking back and assembly
When the dough has risen, knock it back – give it a punch – and it should collapse. Flour your hands and a worksurface and pick up the dough and knead it again for a minute until it resembles the dough before it began to rise. You may be thinking, what was the point of that? Well, the yeast have been multiplying while you have been faffing around over the hob, and you need to make sure that they are evenly distributed in the dough to help you to get a more even rise. The yeast would continue to ferment and raise the dough a second time and this is what will happen in the oven before it is killed by the high temperature.

Roll out the dough thinly (mine is probably about half a centimetre) and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Top with crème fraiche mixture and bacon, then place into the oven at as high a temperature as you can make it (mine goes to 250 C) for 7 – 10 minutes until the crust has turned golden.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 17:58