Monday, 9 March 2015

Tarte Flambee on Cracker Thin Crust

If like me, you have an unhealthy obsession with the cracker thin crust pizza that's prevalent around these parts, cut into those familiar squares (think Gondola or Niakwa), then you can understand how excited I was to stumble upon this crust recipe. Amy Theilen, the loveable host of The Food Network's Heartland Table, has won me over in a serious way. She seems so authentic, and she's one of the few female cooking show hosts that doesn't give me the urge to smash my TV after a half hour episode (a la Pioneer Woman or Farmhouse Rules). When I read about her long time struggle to reproduce the crust we're so used to in the prairies, I was so excited to try the recipe. Her secret is to use no yeast.

The result was even better then I expected, and I plan to use it exclusively for pizza now. A few pages over from the crust recipe, contained in her debut cookbook The New Midwestern Table, was a recipe for Tarte Flambee, a French dish that Dave pointed out tastes like an ideal intersection of quiche lorraine and pizza. The few simple ingredients combine to make a savoury, decadent lunch, best served with a fresh salad.

To accomplish a high quality result you will need a pizza stone, parchment paper and high heat. As much as I'm into restaurant quality at-home-pizza, I refuse to buy a pizza peel (the oversized wooden spatula) - that would just be going a little too far, even for me. I managed without.  I was inspired by Amy's recipe, but made a few small tweaks to make it easier. I used part buttermilk in the crust because I had it for the toppings, but you could use all water if you don't have buttermilk on hand.

Tarte Flambee on Cracker Thin Crust
Makes Two Tartes

For the Crust:

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups and 2 tablespoons flour

For the Tarte Flambee:

olive oil
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup parmesan, divided
6-8 slices thick cut, good quality bacon
1 onion, sliced in very thin

Prepare dough for crust first so it can rest at least a half hour before rolling out. Combine water, 1/4 cup buttermilk, canola oil, salt and sugar in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer if you have one). Add in one cup of flour and use a whisk to mix well until smooth. Add in additional flour gradually, using a wooden spoon to combine. Use hands to mix until dough starts to stick together in a ball. If you have a stand mixer, used the dough hook to knead on low for about five minutes, otherwise use your hands on a clean counter top. Separate dough in half and form into disks, cover and let rest. 

Place pizza stone in bottom third of oven. Preheat to 500 degrees. Prepare toppings. In medium bowl combine sour cream, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and some pepper. Make sure the bacon is really cold and use a sharp knife to cut into thin match sticks, separate with fingers right away before it starts to soften. Slice onion into very thin half moons.

Roll out each disk of dough into an oval between two large pieces of parchment paper into an oval. Try to get it as thin as possible. Discard top piece of parchment paper. Roll up edges of dough and pinch together to make a little ledge. Brush lightly with olive oil. Assuming you don't own a pizza peel, make sure you top the tarte on a large enough counter that you have space to put the pizza stone beside it so you can drag the whole thing onto the stone. Assemble the tart: divide the sour cream mixture between the two crusts and spread to edges, divide the the onion evenly, then the bacon. Sprinkle a 1/4 cup of parmesan over top of each. 

Using good oven mitts, remove pizza stone and set it beside the tarte (obviously on something heat proof). Use the parchment to slide the tarte onto the pizza stone. Return to oven. Bake 15-18 minutes until the toppings are cooked and the crust is dark brown. It's fine if a few of the onions look a bit crispy - you want some blackened bits. 

Remove onto a cutting board. Pull parchment out from underneath and slice into squares. Cook the other tarte the same way. 

You can have one to yourself and gift the other to an unsuspecting family member or friend who will be hard pressed to ever repay your sacrifice.


  1. Good one on the sour cream

  2. Any chance I can get! Most recipes call for creme fraiche - but ain't noboddy got time for that.

  3. This looks so delicious and crunchy!

    The Old Fat Guy

    1. Thanks! You can't beat a crunchy crust.

  4. This looks so delicious and crunchy!

    The Old Fat Guy