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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Tarte flambée is crisp and tasty

Tarte flambée or Flammkuchen is a kind of quiche, a speciality of Alsace. The base is a crisp, thin yeast dough that is covered with a thin layer of filling. The classic filling is crème fraîche, bacon and onion, but there are any number of variations using sauerkraut, cabbage and squash. The traditional way to bake a Flammkuchen in Alsace is a wood-fired oven and the tart was put in when the flames were still licking at the wood, hence the name “flame cake”. You can bake a crispy Flammkuchen in a modern oven just as successfully.

How to bake the perfect French-style tart

A tart in France can be sweet or savoury. First you make (or buy) shortcrust or puff pastry. If you’re making your own, chill it for two hours before rolling it out on a floured board. To get it really thin, roll it out between two sheets of clingfilm. Put it into a round or oval baking dish, prick it all over with a fork and bake it blind for about ten minutes. Then fill the tart with fruit, or vegetables, fresh herbs, cheese or ham and crème fraîche. Try a "tarte tatin", a French apple cake with a fine caramel layer, with our afternoon coffee.

The quiche from Lorraine

Making a quiche is like making a Flammkuchen except that the filling is deeper and juicier. As the name says, the quiche Lorraine comes originally from the French province of Lorraine. Quiche Lorraine is always savoury, but it can be vegetarian or contain meat. All sorts of things can go into a quiche Lorraine – fish or meat, leeks, broccoli, chard, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes. Lightly cooked, they go into the pastry shell where they’re covered with a mixture of eggs and milk, and some sort of grated cheese – parmesan, feta or goats milk. A classic quiche Lorraine is made of bacon and crème fraîche beaten up with eggs. Eat it as a starter, or add a large green salad and some boiled new potatoes and you have a delicious lunch. The Swiss have a similar tart which they call a "Wähe".


Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de