Tarte Flambée

It was in Cornwall, England, where I first heard the name Rick Stein. We ate a seafood restaurant in Newquay, called The Fish House Fistral, after a beautiful beach walk from our hotel. Turns out, the chef there had worked under Rick Stein for years, prior to opening his own restaurant on Fistral beach. Chef Stein’s restaurant is called The Seafood Restaurant, which opened in 1975 in Padstow, Cornwall.

What I remember the most, besides everything being wonderful at this casual, seriously unpretentious restaurant on a cliff, during a fabulous sunset in fact, was that I finally experienced bottarga. I’d ordered an exceptional seafood pasta, and it was topped with this condensed salted and cured fish roe, grated on top of the lovely creamy pasta. Heaven.

So I never forgot the name Rick Stein, pronounced Steen, but also never heard anything about him, until recently when I discovered a tv show of his called, Rick Stein’s Secret France! The show is really good, and the passion for everything French, especially the food, really was obvious, as chef Stein makes his way to various towns in France, shown below.

I loved the show so much and was intrigued by so many recipes, that I just had to buy the companion cookbook. Plus I really loved the chef’s easy going style.

From the introduction: “Like many people, I have a romantic attachment to France that goes back to childhood, but when I was 16, a short stay near Cambrai in northern France converted me to the cuisine. My deep affection for France started then and has continued.”

A tarte flambé isn’t anything terribly unique, but there it was in the book. I think it’s the simplicity of what the chef referred to as “France’s answer to pizza,” although he also claims it’s not much like pizza at all! Especially since the dough is more like a flatbread.

I had to research lardons, because I wanted to stay true to the recipe. I discovered they’re unique, cut up from back bacon. I ordered some, but sadly discovered I’d not noticed that it was sliced. So my lardons are all various shapes, but they’re good!

I also ordered Emmental and Gruyere, because I wanted to use them both.

Tarte Flambée
French “Pizza” of Cheese and Ham

Dough
250g or 8.8 ounces plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
150ml or 5 ounces tepid water
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Topping
250g or 8.8 ounces full fat crème fraiche
1 large onion, finely sliced
160g or 5 1/2 ounces smoked bacon lardons, fried until browned
250g or 8.8 ounces Emmental or Gruyere, or a mixture of both
A few rasps freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and black pepper

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the water and oil and bring everything together to make rough dough. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead well. Roll the dough into 2 rectangles, each measuring about 25 x 28cm (8.5 x 11”).

Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F) or as hot as your oven will go. Spread the creme fraiche over the dough, leaving a little border around the edges, then dot with the onion, lardons and grated cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until he base is crisp and the cheese is bubbling. Slide the tarts on to a wooden board and use a pizza cuter to cut them into portions.

Serve immediately with drinks or as a light lunch with a green salad.

I also added some cayenne pepper flakes, just cause I can’t resist!

By Published On: January 25th, 202345 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

45 Comments

  1. BERNADETTE January 25, 2023 at 6:09 AM - Reply

    Creme freche, cheese and lardons sound like a keeper of a recipe. thanks for the introduction to the show and cookbook.

    • Chef Mimi January 25, 2023 at 7:40 AM - Reply

      The show is fun, and the recipes are fabulous. Just what you’d expect.

  2. Travel Gourmet January 25, 2023 at 6:18 AM - Reply

    Great recipe! I’ve got most – if not all! – of Rick Stein’s books and love his many TV series. There was a great Long Weekends one in 2016 – Lisbon, Vienna, Bordeaux,, etc. – and the accompanying book is a favourite. He has a great, relaxed and entertaining style on TV and I find his recipes reliable, easy to follow and authentic.

    • Chef Mimi January 25, 2023 at 7:41 AM - Reply

      Oh my! That’s a lot of books. Being British, of course you’ve heard of him. He’s not well know here, unfortunately. His style is really nice, and I love his passion!

  3. 2pots2cook January 25, 2023 at 6:32 AM - Reply

    Oh dear, my father adored it. He brought the recipe from France and we simply named it Onion Pie. Now I have the complete history of this beauty! Thank you so much! Thank you!

    • Chef Mimi January 25, 2023 at 7:41 AM - Reply

      Such a simple recipe but such great flavors! It is onion pie!

  4. David @ Spiced January 25, 2023 at 6:32 AM - Reply

    An unpretentious restaurant on a cliff? Well that sounds like the start to something amazing! And then you added a Tarte Flambee in there. Count me in! I’ve stumbled across some of Rick Stein’s videos here and there. They’re always entertaining and educational! So cool that you ate a restaurant with a connection to him. Good memories!

    • Chef Mimi January 25, 2023 at 7:43 AM - Reply

      Food memories are all good memories, aren’t they?! Well, except for uni. Still can’t eat it. Yeah, the setting was gorgeous, but I think the restaurant had plastic chairs.

  5. Charlie DeSando January 25, 2023 at 6:37 AM - Reply

    Very nicely done, looks great!!

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:30 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Charlie!

  6. Healthy World Cuisine January 25, 2023 at 7:10 AM - Reply

    Simple ingredients all combined for one delicious bite. Bookmarking this recipe for the weekend. I will have to keep my eye out for Rick Stein’s shows and videos. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:30 AM - Reply

      You are so welcoming. I’m going to find some of his other shows. He goes everywhere!

  7. Kay January 25, 2023 at 7:31 AM - Reply

    I enjoy your blog so much. Your knowledge and skill amaze me!

    • Chef Mimi January 25, 2023 at 7:43 AM - Reply

      Thank you so much! I just love food. And eating!

  8. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen January 25, 2023 at 7:45 AM - Reply

    I will most definitely see if I can find that show here, or at least look for the book.
    The dough is very simple, then beautifully adorned!

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:33 AM - Reply

      Very simple, and very tasty!

  9. David Scott Allen January 25, 2023 at 9:10 AM - Reply

    I was so glad to see this pop into my inbox today, as I grew excited with anticipation when I saw it posted on your social media. I remember having this in Strasbourg and Grenoble, but never made one. I can’t wait to try this — and I’m going to start researching the availability of Stein’s videos… and books, but I really want to get a sense of his style you mentioned. Really fun post, Mimi!

    • David Scott Allen January 25, 2023 at 9:22 AM - Reply

      So many of his videos on YouTube! I’ve just watched a couple and, like you, really like his manner. Easygoing, not fussy — very straightforward.Thanks for the introduction!

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:35 AM - Reply

      Oh, glad you found him! Yeah, I like him. Passionate but not nuts! I guess he has book about all kinds of international cuisines! He goes everywhere.

  10. Hannah Kaminsky January 25, 2023 at 9:42 AM - Reply

    Ohh that looks amazing! It makes me think of adult cheesy sticks, and I mean that in the best way possible.

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:35 AM - Reply

      Ha! Well I get that!

  11. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons January 25, 2023 at 11:55 AM - Reply

    I am going to look for those books, we love France as well. This sounds delicious.

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:36 AM - Reply

      I like the towns that he chose to visit in this particular series. That’s my kind of France!

  12. Jean January 25, 2023 at 12:20 PM - Reply

    Heaven is right. When I first came across bottarga in Sardinia it was love at first taste. I have a feeling it would be the same for this pizza. Oh, that cream and melty cheese and lardons!

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:37 AM - Reply

      Bottarga really is fabulous! Sounds weird, but is amazing!

  13. angiesrecipes January 25, 2023 at 12:26 PM - Reply

    We call them Flammkuchen here and they are really popular. Yours looks so good, Mimi.

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:38 AM - Reply

      I have no idea where you live. Germany? Yes, I’ve made flammkuchen before. All of these varieties are fabulous! I think one with Fontina would be really good!

  14. Debra January 25, 2023 at 6:31 PM - Reply

    There’s nothing but comfort and tastiness and temptation in this recipe, Mimi! I wish I could make it tonight! I think I might enjoy this cookbook, too, so thank you for all the great information. And now I’m very hungry! 😀

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:39 AM - Reply

      Sorry about that! It’s a very simple recipe, and with great flavors. The French have their way with simplicity as do the Italians.

  15. terrie gura January 25, 2023 at 8:22 PM - Reply

    This looks awesome, Mimi! I think it’s the same flatbread another friend was telling me about recently. Does your book mention this recipe might come from Alsace?

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:40 AM - Reply

      Yes, when he made the recipe he was near Colmar, which is in Alsace.

  16. Sherry M January 25, 2023 at 9:52 PM - Reply

    Rick Stein married an Aussie, and has an aussie restaurant, so we are very fond of him here. I’ve never heard his name pronounced as anything other than ‘Stine’ tho!! And his son Jack, also a chef, has spent a lot of time here. And they have both made many tv shows here too!

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:41 AM - Reply

      Oh interesting! Well I can see how easy it is to mispronounce his name and he probably doesn’t care!

  17. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 25, 2023 at 10:00 PM - Reply

    We barged through the Alsace region where tarte flambé is a traditional recipe. I love Rick Stein so will look out for this series. PS, I would swap pancetta for lardons if you cannot get whole back bacon.

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 6:32 AM - Reply

      Okay, good suggestion. I just never thought about lardons being something unique, so I wanted to buy the right thing!

  18. cookingwithauntjuju.com January 26, 2023 at 8:43 AM - Reply

    I love this – my version (besides creme fraiche) includes fromage blanc. I could eat this every week if my body could handle it :)

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 9:31 AM - Reply

      Ohhh wouldn’t that be lovely?!!

  19. Ann Coleman January 26, 2023 at 2:56 PM - Reply

    Well, that looks good! French cooking is the best!

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 4:40 PM - Reply

      Exactly!

  20. Raymund January 26, 2023 at 3:04 PM - Reply

    I use to watch a lot of Rick Stein’s TV shows and never thought of pronouncing it as Steen as well. Anyways that Tarte Flambee looks great, reminds me of a white pizza

    • Chef Mimi January 26, 2023 at 4:41 PM - Reply

      I really love white pizza – especially with a smoked mozzarella!

  21. Alex January 26, 2023 at 7:20 PM - Reply

    Hi Mimi,
    If I can add my two cents worth- I live in walking distance to the Alsace (kidding, its 20 miles) right around Karlsruhe. There are two dishes involved here. One is the tarte flamb­­ée, which is a french staple anywhere in France. The other thing is the Flammkuchen, as the Germans call it (in Alsace, where they speak a kind of antiquated dialect, it is called Flammekueche). They both mean the same thing: A cake made over/or in flames. You can make it in a baker’s oven, but often there is only a grill. The difference between a tarte flambée and and a flammekueche is that the original version of the Alsation doesn’t come with cheese. The original version just calls for creme fraiche, lardons, and thinly slices onions (red onions are in fashion now, but I remember when it was just white onions). There are many versions nowadays, to include sweet and also cheesy versions, but bear in mind that Alsace, or Elsaß, as the Germans call it, is a very popular place to visit and shop at, because the French have a lot of superior and less expensive food products than the Germans. Also, a flammkueche will be a piece of dough with no leavening, and very thin. It is traditional to be served Flammkueche with crisped or burnt edges.

    • Mimi Rippee January 27, 2023 at 1:52 PM - Reply

      Yes! This is all in keeping with the recipe, although I didn’t let the crust get too burnt. As far as the cheese, I don’t know, I was just following this recipe, and I prefer anything with cheese! I’ve been to Colmar and Ribeauvillé, but I need to see more of Alsace. It’s so beautiful. My grandfather was Alsatian.

  22. Pauline McNee January 27, 2023 at 12:12 AM - Reply

    Mimi thanks for the reminder about Rick Stien’s book, I watched a few of the Secret France programs before Christmas and loved them, time has gotten away. I’m travelling to SW France in April so need to do some more research. Your tarte flambee looks delicious. My son tells me that ordinary pizzas in France are quite expensive to buy.

    • Chef Mimi January 27, 2023 at 1:48 PM - Reply

      Probably because they don’t like Italians! The show really is good. I only watched 4 episodes I think and then bought the book! So I need to finish it.

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