If you are not familiar with a Tarte Flambée then I would say you are in for a very special treat. This glorious tart marries smoky bacon with creme fraiche and sweet, slow cooked onions in spectacular fashion. Originally from Alsace, it brings to mind the Alps, and would make a cracking lunch after a morning on the slopes. Fortunately however, you don’t have to go skiing to enjoy this.
I first came across this years ago when I bought a little one from my local Sainsburys in Fulham and both G and I loved it. So much in fact that we started making our own from scratch as a regular Sunday evening supper. Now I might make it for lunch with a big green salad, but more often will serve one up before supper when we are having a drink and a chat.
A combination of the salty savoury bacon or pancetta and creme fraiche on the crispy base makes this a consistent success and it is usually gone in minutes (see last picture). This base is essentially a riff on my Quick and Easy Flatbreads (March 2018) just flour and yogurt with a splash of oil – it couldn’t be easier and works so well cooked in my slightly unorthodox fashion.
Two little asides – if you want to use up the creme fraiche and pancetta then look no further than my Savoy Cabbage with Pancetta and Creme Fraiche (February 2018) and should you wish to serve this to vegetarian guests I would happily swap the bacon for mushrooms cooked alongside the onions – stick with the thyme, it works a treat with mushrooms and then continue with the rest of the recipe.
I sometimes buy those little packs of cubetti di pancetta which usually come in weights of 100-125 grams which is perfect. Alternatively chop some rashers of smoked bacon or pancetta. I have also, in times of need, used a ball of mozzarella in place of the gruyere – you get more melty, pizza like cheese but less of the Alpine vibe that I love but it works if that is what you have.
125g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
100ml creme fraiche
100-120g smoked bacon or pancetta in small pieces (see intro)
100g gruyere, grated
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 210 and put a flat baking sheet in to preheat. Using a large frying pan, mine measures 30cm, cook the onions in one tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt for around 20 minutes until soft but not coloured. Put the other tablespoon of oil in a bowl along with the flour, yogurt and a pinch of salt and mix until it comes together in a ball. Using a little extra flour roll out the dough until approx 30cm in diameter. Tip the softened onions onto a plate and then transfer the rolled out dough into the frying pan – don’t bother washing it, that little oil left will aid crisping the base. With the pan on a medium heat spread the creme fraiche over the dough almost to the edge, sprinkle over the cooked onion and thyme leaves followed by the bacon. Finally sprinkle over the grated cheese. Carefully check the underside, it should be starting to colour and feel dry. Once you have finished arranging the topping and are happy that the bottom is cooking, slide the tart onto the hot baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbling. Leave to cool just long enough that you won’t burn yourself then cut into slices or small squares, I can’t tell you how good this is…..