A Savory Apple Flatbread, for When You're Full of Pie

October  2, 2015

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: 

  • Best apple for a pie: Northern Spy, which Isabel calls "the Cadillac of pie apples."
  • Best apple for sauce: A mix. Using a combination of four or five different apples such as Cortlands, Empires, Golden Delicious, Macoun, and McIntosh will add immensely to the flavor of the sauce. 
  • Best apple for a salad: Cortland, because they stay white for a long time—tossing the apples in lemon, often necessary with other apple varieties, can change their flavor.
  • Apple picking tips: 1) Twist or snap up—don’t pull towards you or they’ll all come crashing down; 2) the larger apples tend to be closer to the trunk, though size doesn’t mean much; 3) generally, the richer the color, the sweeter the apple.
  • The best way to store apples: 33º F—as cold as possible without freezing. Store your apples in the fridge in plastic perforated bags. They’ll keep for months.

Shop the Story

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.

Savory Apple Tarte Flambée

Serves 2

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

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

Photos by Alexandra Stafford  

The Magical Mini Guide to Cozy Weekends
View Guide
The Magical Mini Guide to Cozy Weekends

Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering, leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...

View Guide

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Wolfette
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.


Wolfette May 5, 2017
Such a nice surprise to see a mention of a restaurant in my beloved city of Strasbourg on Food52! I'm happy you liked Alsace Alexandra, it truly is a beautiful place with simple, delicious food. I'll try this recipe next week, it sounds delicious! Apple a commonly used on tarte flambee with cinammon and sugar and eaten as desert, but I've never tried it the savory way. I have a nice chunck of Beaufort cheese in the fridge that should do the trick.
Alexandra S. May 6, 2017
Oh Wolfette, I wish I could say I've been to Alsace, but alas I have not! I would love to visit. The sweet tart flambée sounds lovely!