What Is Tarte Flambée And What Does It Taste Like?

While tarte flambée may not be especially ubiquitous in the states, it is a pretty exceptional choice for any sort of get-together. It combines all of the allure of a "game day" snack on a flatbread-esque vessel — and it's immensely flavorful. It is more than the sum of its parts, which sounds pretty spectacular in and of themselves: crisp dough, caramelized onions, bacon or pancetta, and some sort of creamy, cheese spread. If you're intrigued, read ahead to find out exactly where this gem of an appetizer comes from and, of course, how to make it at home.

Coined by Serious Eats as an "Alsatian flatbread," tarte flambée can also be classified as a savory tart, and The Guardian calls it a "Franco-German version of pizza." According to Kitchn, tarte flambée is also called flammekueche — or flame bread. It hails from Alsace, which is in Eastern France and directly borders Germany, so the food takes a bit of influence from both countries. 

Many of the region's foods are deeply rich and savory, and tarte flambée is no exception. The dough is usually unleavened — and if using a hot oven or broiler — can cook up very quickly. It is a great appetizer and can also be a delicious dinner or lunch. Euro Travel Coach also notes that tarte flambée pairs beautifully with the "acidity and residual sugar" that is present in Alsatian Rieslings.

How do I make tarte flambée?

You can make your own crust or even just get a store-bought flatbread crust/base if you're low on time (or just don't feel like making a crust from scratch!) Most tarte flambée recipes typically call for fromage blanc, explains The Guardian, but you can alternatively use creme fraiche or even mascarpone or cream cheese. The meat option is usually bacon or pancetta, but you can of course also opt for a vegetarian version. If you are using bacon/pancetta, though, do your best to make it as deeply crisp as possible! 

The original calls for onions, and some caramelize them, while others even use raw (via Serious Eats). The onions are almost always thinly sliced or slivered, though. You can even get out your pizza stone if you have one, the outlet suggests, as it helps to crisp up the bottom of the flatbread. Tarte flambée can also be super customizable: Add a hearty green, sub out the bacon for prosciutto, add some parm, top with Gruyère, maybe even bolster the nutritional quotient with some additional veggies or herbs, etc. The list goes on.

If you're having guests or you're headed to a socially distanced get-together of sorts, whip up a tarte flambée and bring it with you. We promise you'll be the most popular person there when you walk in with the deeply savory and delicious flatbread.