The flammkuchen is the cooler, niche cousin of the thin-crust Italian pizza. It's as versatile, tasty and fun as the universally adored pie, so how about some love for the flammkuchen too.
Flammkuchen is best when it's blistered on the edges, giving a satisfying snap with every bite. The guys at Van De Leur know what we're talking about.
Rustled up on the border of France and Germany, the flammkuchen is also known as tarte flambee, or 'flame cake'. This name – alongside being awesome – refers to the super high temperature needed to cook the dough to its signature thin and crispy finish.
Legend has it that the flammkuchen came about as a way to test the heat of wood-fired ovens. A chunk of very thin dough was thrown into the centre of the oven – and if it was toasty enough, the dough would cook until blistered in about two minutes. Only then was the oven ready. Somewhere along the line, this piece of tester dough was topped with crème fraiche and voilà – the flammkuchen was born.
So, we have the cracker-thin crust. But what goes on top? Flammkuchen's traditional topping is crème fraiche. This creamy addition gives a savoury flavour to the dish, tartly contrasting the crispiness of the crust.
As with Italian pizzas, there are endless variations on this theme, with all sorts of topping choices. Traditionally speaking, there are four main kinds of flammkuchen – one with juicy mushrooms, others finished off with Menschterkaas or gruyere cheese, and even sweet dessert versions.
Unlike your traditional pizza, flammkuchen can be a starter, main, or dessert. Get mini ones for appetisers, pile high with toppings for a hearty main, and cover in all things sweet for pudding.
The flammkuchens at Van De Leur are a testament to what good dough should be. This delight works perfectly in the create-your-own camp, so they put the power into your hands. Offering up 17 topping options, you can mix and match to your heart's desire – and make the flammkuchen you didn't even know you'd been dreaming about.
Pair onion and bacon with goats cheese and tomatoes, or pile on chorizo, smoked chicken, parma ham and pepperoni for a hearty protein-packed wonder. Go for olives, pesto, pine nuts and grilled zucchini for a vegetarian-friendly option. There's no judgement here, so put your thinking caps on and go wild with your toppings.
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