French

Dorie Greenspan's Apple Tarte Flambée

October 22, 2014

All week long, the lovely Dorie Greenspan is serving as a Guest Editor here at Food52, sharing recipes and stories from her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. We're also giving away a copy each day! Because we want to give the gift of Dorie.

Today: Dorie is hooked on this paper-thin Alsatian "pizza" -- soon you will be, too.

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It’s okay if you think tarte flambée is pizza -- everyone in France does, except the Alsatians, who created and treasure it. The classic tarte flambée -- sometimes called flammkuchen -- is savory and, like pizza, it’s built on a thin base of bread dough that’s baked in a ferociously hot oven until it bubbles and blisters. It’s topped with fresh cheese -- usually fromage blanc and crème fraîche -- and scattered with bacon and onions. Like pizza, it’s ubiquitous, at least in eastern France. And also like pizza, it can be very, very good or very, very bad. It is wonderful at Flamme & Co restaurant, where the chef, Olivier Nasti, who trained with the greats and earned the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (the highest award a chef can attain) decided to turn his talents to making the best -- and most modern -- tarte flambée in the region. 

More: Get your oven hot, hot, hot with a baking stone.

At Flamme & Co, the tarte flambée is paper-thin, bursting with flavor, and either sweet or savory. Their tarts are rolled out in rectangles, baked in a flash, and served on wooden cutting boards. My husband and I each had a savory one and then we shared a version of this apple tart. By the time dessert came around, I had asked the server so many questions that he suggested I go into the open kitchen and make my own tart with the chef -- an invitation I didn’t refuse. 

The instant we got back to Paris, I went on a tarte flambée-baking binge, and I amazed my Alsatian friends, not because I’d made the tarts, but because I’d made my own yeast-risen dough instead of using store-bought bread dough or puff pastry. If you’d like, you’ve got my permission to go Parisian and use store-bought dough. Do that, and you’ll be able to whip up a tarte flambée on the spur of the moment. 

A word on baking and gear: The best tartes are baked in wood-burning ovens, but you can get a great crust by cranking your oven up to its max and using a baking stone. Put the baking stone into the cold oven, turn up the heat, and let the oven preheat for another 20 minutes after it’s reached temperature. If you don’t have a baking stone, use a heavy cookie sheet. If you’ve got a pizza peel, pull it out; if not, use a rimless cookie sheet as a peel. The tarte flambée is going to be big, so if your baking stone isn’t large, make two smaller tarts.

Apple Tarte Flambée

For the crust:

3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) warm water, plus a bit more if needed
1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons rye flour
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 teaspoons olive oil

For the topping:

1 1/2 ounces (43 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (56 grams) plain Greek yogurt (non-fat is fine), or use 1/3 cup (95 grams) fromage blanc in place of the cream cheese and yogurt
2 tablespoons heavy cream or crème fraîche
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large apples, such as Golden Delicious or Fuji
Sugar or cinnamon sugar, for dusting

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Alan Richardson

We're giving away a copy of Baking Chez Moi every day this week! To win today's copy, tell us in the comments: How are you baking your apples this fall? We'll choose winners this Friday, October 24th. (U.S. entrants only, please!)

Update: Andrew DickinsonsummersavoryCari Garcia, and Jazmin Lui are our winners! We hope you enjoy your copies of Baking Chez Moi

 

 

 

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59 Comments

Kelli H. October 27, 2014
first i go to the farmer's market and get the crispiest, tartest apples i can find. <br />i find myself in the kitchen and i just cannot decide....apple hand pies for sure, but what flavors to choose. i love making salted butter caramel sauce, for caramel apple hand pies....or a chai spice blend with black tea and ginger and cloves and lots of other warming spices....or toasted walnuts and fresh cranberries....or with quince, also from the farmer's market...then there is cheddar cheese, in the crust and in with the apples...or keep it simple, some vanilla sugar and apples, it's really all you need.<br />but the choices, oh the choices are so many and all so yummy<br />but for sure, apple hand pies...make them big, make them mini...<br />but you know i do love a good tart tatin, my cast iron skillet may be calling...can i do a tatin hand pie... time to play in the kitchen!!!!!
 
robinorig October 26, 2014
Made an Apple and pear cake with candied ginger and brown butter. So good! And love to layer in apples and saigon cinnamon into my coffee cakes with crumble topping. And have used apple cider in some glazes. I always look forward to this time of year with all of the great varieties to choose from!
 
Tracey B. October 25, 2014
Simple and elegant...baked apples in puff pastry with a glaze on top. Who doesn't love warm apples in the fall?
 
Mukta V. October 25, 2014
Apple cake fromDorie Greenspans book 'my home to yours' - soft and luscious
 
Mukta V. October 25, 2014
Apple cherry pie
 
Candice October 25, 2014
Apple Butter!
 
Diane C. October 24, 2014
Apple pie and this Apple Tarte Flambee.. (drools)!!
 
Athena R. October 24, 2014
Apple crumble pies are favorite things to make! Best, Athena.
 
aacers October 24, 2014
I'm going to try my hand at tarte tatin. Oh, and apples and cheddar for snacks.
 
Audrey S. October 24, 2014
In my house, a seasonal bag of apples is always handy for eating raw or for any recipe -- from Mulligatawny soup and Apple pie, to a quick compote with ice cream or thinly sliced and added to a peanut butter sandwich. For nutrition, flavor, versatility and price -- I don't think there's anything better!
 
cgilsbach October 24, 2014
Applesauce, apple pie, apple oatmeal, apple crisp. That is if I can get any before the munchkins in the house eat them all!
 
Liz L. October 24, 2014
I am baking my apples in pies! I'm also roasting them with thyme and butter to go with pork chops. Delicious!
 
BurgeoningBaker October 24, 2014
Marie's French Apple Cake. I can't recall where I got the recipe as it is on print out someone gave to me. We are also using apples to bake into the cavities of acorn squash that will also have some chicken and nuts. I have to admit I want to make traditional baked apples with the spices in the middle but most of the time we are eating them out of hand or cutting them up to give to our little one. I may put one in to a honey and apple challah or maybe puree it in some fashion and make a cinnamon and apple babka.
 
Erin S. October 24, 2014
Chopped with onions and herbs, sauteed and stuffed into pork and chicken. For dessert, apple dumplings or apple crisps with cranberries are my favorite and for gifts, homemade apple butter. :)
 
Christine October 24, 2014
I made a salted caramel apple crumble tart using one of your apple pie recipes as a base! Also, looove apple muffins, apple cider anything, apple crisp, apple dutch babies... they really shine this season :) i love dorie, she's like our modern day Julia Child! :)
 
Yankee S. October 24, 2014
Apple butter, apple cake and baked apples. YUM.
 
summersavory October 24, 2014
I'm still mostly in the eating-them-raw phase where the first fall apples are so good that I can't bear to do anything to them, but I did make an apple bundt cake a few weeks ago for a friend's birthday.
 
crazyasitsounds October 24, 2014
Maybe it doesn't count as baking, but I'm making applesauce. I absolutely love applesauce.
 
Katey501 October 24, 2014
Every Fall I make what I grew up knowing as Jewish Apple Cake, an apple loaf cake that makes me think of the season changes in Pennsylvania (where I grew up), even though I'm in L.A. now.
 
Branislava R. October 24, 2014
Tarte Tatin, apple sauce and apple butter.