Apple season isn't only about dessert. Eat apples—on top of blistered flatbread—for dinner, too.
Every fall I look forward to the re-opening of the local orchards and country shops selling seasonal treats. I recently made a run to my favorite spot, Riverview Orchards, and chatted with the owner, Isabel Prescott, who reminded me how fleeting this season is: Only one month remains for apple picking! Over hot cider and apple cider doughnuts, Isabel shared some of her best apple know-how:
Most of the apples in my kitchen find their way into pies, butters, and sauces. But recently, while flipping through Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi, I happened upon a striking image: a blistered flatbread topped with layers of glistening, whisper-thin apple slices. Extreme wanderlust is a sensation I’ve come to expect when perusing any of Greenspan's books, but never have I felt more moved to pack my bags.
I turned the page and read the inspiration behind the recipe, the tarte flambée at Flamme & Co, a restaurant in Alsace that bakes the regional specialty in ferociously hot wood-burning ovens. Classically, tarte flambée is made with fresh cheeses, cured meat, and raw onions, but Flamme & Co serves both sweet and savory versions.
Greenspan’s passage sent me on an Alsatian pizza making bender. I soon discovered that the union of tangy crème fraîche, sweet onion, and smoky bacon needs nothing more.
But the combination lends itself to countless variations: mustard greens, crisped and charred, provide spicy contrast to the creamy crème fraîche; delicata squash slices, briefly blanched, melt into the dough, their sweetness offsetting the bacon’s saltiness; apples, sliced on a mandoline, soften in a screaming hot oven and emerge with edges ruffled like campanelle pasta.
I'll still make pies and cakes this apple season, but this savory use has proven to be a welcomed addition to the fall dinner rotation. And, more importantly, it has subdued my longing to move to eastern France—for now, that is.
1 to 2 teaspoons grapeseed, canola, or olive oil
8 ounces pizza dough (I use the Lahey no-knead dough)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 slice bacon, uncooked, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion
1/4 cup grated Gruyère or Comté
1 apple, thinly sliced on a mandoline
2 teaspoons sugar
Photos by Alexandra Stafford
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