Coincidentally, after the Alsace Wine Fair, I came across an article on the Wine Enthusiast magazine (published July 11, 2012) about Alsace, so here’s a dish that would pair well with Sylvaner.
Traditional Alsace Tarte Flambée, similar to a pizza and traditionally baked in a wood oven stoked with vine cuttings, can be cooked in an oven at home.
Recipe: (Serves 4–6)
For the dough
2½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole grain flour
1 cup rye flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
½ ounce baker’s yeast
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1¼ cup whole milk
For the topping
½ cup crème fraîche (recipe below)
½ cup fromage blanc (substitute plain yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese, lightly whipped)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 Vidalia or sweet onions, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rings
7 ounces smoked bacon, cut into ¼-inch-thick strips
For the crème fraîche
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1. Combine the heavy cream and buttermilk, and stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it thickens, approximately 12–24 hours.
2. [Dough] Place the flours, salt and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the baker’s yeast and butter to make a paste. Stir enough milk into the flour to give a smooth, creamy consistency.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture. Then knead the dough until it is well mixed and elastic. Cover it with a towel and let it sit for about two hours, until it has doubled in volume.
3. As soon as the dough has risen, roll it into an ultrathin sheet, approximately 1/16-1/8-inch thick, and place it on a nonstick or lightly oiled baking tray. Create a lifted edge around the dough and let it sit for 30–45 minutes.
4. Preheat an oven to 500°F.
5. [Topping] In a bowl, mix together the crème fraîche, fromage blanc and oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the cheese mixture onto the dough then evenly top with the onion rings and bacon slices.
6. Place the pizza in the preheated oven and cook for up to 15 minutes, or until the onions are golden and the bread edge is crisp. Once cooked, cut the pizza into the desired number of slices and serve immediately.
**Tarte Flambée dessert: Add brown sugar to the crème fraiche/fromage blanc mixture. Garnish with cooking apples and a splash of Calvados apple liqueur. Bake as instructed above.
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