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Rick Stein’s Tarte Flambée

Rick Stein's tarte flambée combines a crisp dough base with delightfully charred edges and a topping of melted Emmental and Gruyère, and bacon. As seen on BCC2's Rick Stein's Secret France.

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Introduction

I was first introduced to tarte flambée with the explanation that it’s France’s answer to pizza. In fact, though, it’s not much like pizza at all, apart from being very thin and savoury, and as it is made with unleavened dough it bakes very crisply indeed, which is its great quality. Like pizza, it’s best baked in a wood oven, especially when the wood embers are pushed aside from the base of the oven and slightly burn the edges – hence the name tarte flambée, or in Alsace, where the dish comes from, flammekueche. I know you can get tarte flambée in London but why it isn’t as famous as pizza escapes me. It’s just as good, almost better dare I say, when made with bacon lardons and Emmental or Gruyère. It comes in big discs or rectangles, but I find the rectangles are more convenient, as you can fit two on a standard domestic oven baking sheet.

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Ingredients

For the dough:
250g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
150ml tepid water
2 tbsp sunflower oil
For the topping:
250g full-fat crème fraiche
1 large onion, finely sliced
160g smoked bacon lardons, fried until browned
250g Emmental or Gruyère cheese or a mixture, grated
a few rasps freshly grated nutmeg
salt and black pepper

Method

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the water and oil and bring everything together to make rough dough. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead well. Roll the dough into 2 rectangles, each measuring about 25 x 28cm.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/Fan 210°C or as hot as your oven will go. Spread the crème fraiche over the dough, leaving a little border around the edges, then dot with the onion, lardons and grated cheese. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Bake for 10–12 minutes or until the base is crisp and the cheese is bubbling. Slide the tarts on to a wooden board and use a pizza cutter to cut them into portions. Serve immediately with drinks or as a light lunch with a green salad.

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Rick Stein's Secret France

Rick Stein's Secret France is a celebration of a cuisine that Rick, along with the rest of the world, fell in love with years ago: the unparalleled cuisine of France. Focusing on rustic, simple and traditional French fare, Rick sets off on a discovery of dishes from all corners of this beautiful land, from Normandy to rural Provence, showing how authentic French recipes can be easily recreated in your kitchen at home.

Available for 99p for a limited time only for UK customers.

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From the book: Rick Stein’s Secret France

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