Although a Tarte Flambée is traditionally just a by-product of bread baking, with the right toppings it can be a glorious tarte in its own rights.
For a seasonal twist on the classic, I have used beetroot and orange, which a balanced with goats' cheese and fresh rocket for a beautifully complex combination of flavours and textures.
In the Alsace and South Germany, a thinly rolled out piece of bread dough was used to check the temperature of the wood-fired ovens: if it baked to a crisp flatbread, the oven was ready to bake the loaves of bread the bakers had prepared. Adding toppings made sense, to the point that Tarte Flambées - or Flammekueche - have become a staple of the local cuisines. Simply hold back some dough when you are baking bread to make yourself a delicious snack!
In a medium-sized bowl or a stand mixer, mix the water, yeast and sugar with a little bit of the lukewarm water. Once the yeast is dissolved, add the remaining ingredients and knead the dough quite vigorously for a good 5 minutes or so – a mixer will do the job without you breaking into too much sweat. Cover and leave to rest in a warm, draught-free spot until it has roughly doubled in size.
Cut the beetroot into fine slices and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice or vinegar. You can leave out the last step if your beets have already been cooked in vinegar.
Peel the orange and cut it into fine slices, which you then quarter. Slice the cheese and wash the rocket, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 250°C / 480 F. If you have a baking stone, place this on the bottom rack and remember to wait for an additional 30 minutes once the oven has reached the temperature to make sure the stone is piping hot.
When you are ready, knock back the dough and cut it into half. Roll out one half on a lightly floured sheet of baking parchment until it is paper thin. It helps to roll out bot portions at the same time, alternating between them, until they are both as thin as you can possibly make them.
Spread a little of the soured cream evenly over the surface of the bases, leaving a thin rim. Distribute the beetroot and orange slices evenly over the surface, then add the goats’ cheese.
Season generously with salt and pepper before popping them into the hot oven. Reduce the heat to 220C / 430 F and bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Before serving, sprinkle the rocket over the tartes and serve.