While it might just look like an oblong pizza, tarte flambée is a dish that dates back centuries. It was reportedly prepared by Alsatian bakers who would use it to test the heat of their ovens. If the flatbreads cooked perfectly in just a minute or two, the bakers would know that their oven was at the right heat. Those bakers had the right idea — nothing gets us ready to cook a big meal than a little pre-game snack. This pizza is great to slice up and pass around with drinks during cocktail hour or to serve warm or at room temperature for lunch or dinner.
Tarte flambée (flammkuchen in German) is basically a simple thin-crust pizza topped with smoky bacon, caramelized onions and cheese. To make things easy, start with store-bought pizza dough. Bring it to room temperature before topping and baking. Cold pizza dough will start to shrink as you roll it out, so working with rested room-temperature dough will make your life so much easier. While the dough rests, work on the toppings. Start by frying bits of bacon until the fat has rendered but the bacon isn’t totally crisp (it will continue to cook in the oven). Save the bacon grease — we use a few tablespoons to cook the onions, which soften and caramelize, turning a warm golden color.
We use herbed goat cheese for this recipe because it adds another punch of flavor, but you can substitute it with any soft cheese that you’d like — fromage blanc, ricotta, cottage cheese or even regular cream cheese are good alternatives. Layer the cheese spread with the caramelized onions and bacon and pop the pizza in a blazing hot oven until the crust is nice and crisp.
- 1/2 pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced into half-moons
- all-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese, herbed Gournay (like Boursin) or cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Set a rack in the lowest position of the oven and preheat to its highest temperature (at least 450 F).2.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, just until fat is rendered but bacon is not totally crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon and set aside.4.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the remaining bacon fat so that the entire pan is coated evenly.5.
Add the sliced onions and sauté for 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, reduced slightly and started to turn a slightly golden shade of brown. Remove from heat and let cool.6.
Meanwhile, place pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a long narrow oval shape. If dough shrinks while rolling, allow it to rest a couple minutes before rolling out again. Transfer to a lightly oiled sheet pan. (I like to arrange it on a diagonal to allow for maximum space on the sheet pan.)7.
Whisk the cheese and heavy cream in a small bowl until smooth then spread evenly on the dough, allowing for a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Top with the cooked onions and bacon. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper.10.
Bake until edges of the crust are golden brown and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.11.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve hot, room temperature or chilled.