When I visited the beautiful city of Colmar, France in the Alsace region, I was tortured by the pizza I saw on the tables in every cafe I walked by. It looked like a very thin flatbread with a white sauce. I was tortured because I am allergic to gluten and couldn’t order what I learned was flammekueche.
Recreating recipes from around the globe at home
During the same trip, I visited friends who live in Luxembourg but are originally from Germany. They are very good in the kitchen and were excited to serve a few gluten-free versions of their favorite meals for me. One night for dinner, I watched as they mixed gluten-free flour and water to make a dough and had no idea that they were making the same pizza I saw in Colmar.
In French, it’s known as tarte flambée, in the Alsatian region it’s called flammekueche, in German flammkuchen. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious and decadent.
Gluten-Free Flammkuchen (with recipe)
My friend’s homemade gluten-free version was absolutely delicious and I’ve been looking forward to recreating this recipe. The biggest stumbling block is that the traditional Alsatian recipe calls for lardons and creme Fraiche; two items I’m having a hard time getting my hands on at the moment.
What is Flammkuchen?
Flammkuchen is a specialty of Alsace and regions on the southwestern German-French border. In my opinion, it is a more delicious version of pizza. It consists of dough rolled out very thinly and covered with crème fraîche (or sour cream), thinly sliced onions and lardons (or bacon or pancetta) and baked.
In French, it’s known as tarte flambée, in the Alsatian region, it’s called flammekueche, in German flammkuchen. Some call it Alsatian Pizza but I’ve been told that you don’t want to make the mistake of calling it pizza in Alsace!
Country of origin: Alsatian region on southwestern German-French border.
Alsace is a historical region in northeastern France on the Rhine River plain. Bordering Germany and Switzerland, it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries.
What does Flammkuchen mean in English?
Flammkuchen (pronounced flam-KOOK-en) means “flame cake” or “flame pastry”; French: tarte flambée).
History of Flammkuchen
Some say that Flammkuchen was originally used by bakers to test the temperature of their ovens. Others say Flammkuchen was initially prepared by German farmers’ wives and oven-baked just after the bread. They would use the remaining dough and cook it with the intense heat in the oven.
It is traditionally served as a first course or an appetizer with a glass of chilled Alsatian white wine, the flammeküeche is made with thinly rolled-out bread dough, but you can easily substitute a store-bought roll of gluten-free pizza dough.
The dish is now cooked throughout both Germany and France as well as some towns in Switzerland.
How to Make Gluten-Free Flammkuchen
Gluten Free Flammkuchen is quick and easy to make. Even the crust is easy to make, but if you prefer not to make your own crust, look for one that is very thin. It’s really only a few steps; make dough & let it rest, add topping and bake. Super simple and super delicious.
Flammkuchen Ingredients & Grocery List
My gluten-free version of this Alsatian pizza is based off the dish my German friends made me and includes gluten-free flour (I use Mama’s Pizza Crust Mix), Avocado oil (I like the taste of Primal Kitchen avo oil), kosher salt, bacon (or pancetta or lardons) onion, salt, sour cream or crème fraîche, and pepper.
Most European versions of the recipe call for Lardon, which Bon Appetit says is just a fancy word for slab bacon sliced into matchsticks.
Note: if you aren’t gluten allergic/sensitive you can use any flour substitute.
The dough rolled out very thinly and covered sour cream or crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions, and bacon and baked.
The key here is to be sparing with the toppings and to slice them thinly so that they will cook quickly before the tart burns.
I love that it’s paper-thin and crunchy, I love the savory taste, everything. It tastes not like any pizza you have ever tasted. It’s super simple but somehow it delivers!
Below is a photo of Flammkuchen before and after baking. It’s important to get the edges crispy (because they are delicious).
Not exactly low-fat or low-cal…. but it has been on my list of things to make since we got back from our trip. It truly is simple to make and will be in regular rotation when we are looking for savory, delicious, comfort food at it’s best!
- 2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (you can also use any flour substitute if you aren't gluten allergic/sensitive).
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup room temperature water
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 4 ounces diced bacon ( or pancetta or lardons)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (or crème fraîche)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper
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Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.