Saturday the 6 th February 2021
One of our family’s favourite recipes is “flammkuchen”, or “tarte flambé”, as it is often called, since it is a typical speciality from the south-east of France. There are a thousand and one varieties of this dish to be found in Lorraine, but also in Alsace, Switzerland and the German State of Saarland, and, as it can easily be made without either meat or fish, it’s a great choice for a vegetarian meal. We sometimes opt for a vegan version, but we love it in all its varieties, and, in today’s recipe, we are going to combine a series of special products to make “flammkuchen”, using António Nascimento’s goat’s milk, organic eggs from free-range hens raised by Eric Henriques, and honey produced by the beekeeper António Maria Nunes Valério. These are local products and we are privileged to have them here in Monchique.
The base for all “flammkuchen” is a pastry dough made from flour, water, olive oil and salt, rolled out so that it’s very thin. We like to use wholemeal spelt flour. To make sure that the thin crust is nice and crunchy, the secret is to cook it briefly before adding the topping. We make the “crème fraiche”, “quark” or yoghurt ourselves, all from goat’s milk, and these are certainly ingredients that any Italian would find strange in a pizza.
We also like to use beetroot and apples. I personally prefer the Jonagold or the Pero-de-Monchique variety of apple. We also recommend quince jelly or apricot jam from Quinta do Freixo in Benafim (Loulé). The walnuts come from our own garden or from a friend with whom we frequently exchange products. We always keep a big basket full of walnuts for when times are difficult. They are a wonderful super food for when you need a lot of energy, such as on long walks. We also have pecan nuts from Monchique. At the moment, there is an abundance of courgettes, tomatoes and red peppers in our garden, as well as rucola and onions. If you like, you can use a roll of goat’s cheese as a topping for this French pizza, but there is a special cured cheese from our region that is just as good. We only buy local products, which come from here in Monchique, the Algarve, the Alentejo or the rest of Portugal. Most of the products we use are produced less than an hour away from us. The exception is the wine.
We like to accompany this dish with a light red wine. These are not easy to find in Portugal. Most of the Portuguese wines are heavy and contain sulphites. We searched for a wine of this type in the Alentejo, in the Algarve, and even further north, in the Douro region. But we only found one in central Portugal. We are going to open one of the six bottles of organic red wine made from the Touriga Nacional and Syrah grape varieties that we ordered from our bio grocery store. It has an alcohol content of 12.5% and is from Sertã, Beira Baixa. It comes from a small regional producer named Bonjardim and I really like the 2012 vintage, but the 2015 wine is also excellent. The bottle is elegant and the label simple. The 2012 red has a more interesting finish. And it costs only five euros a bottle. Hubert Lenders, the producer, has chosen to follow the path of quality combined with a respect for nature. (www.bonjardim.eu)
And, to finish, we shouldn’t forget the dessert. Normally, we make our desserts with products from our local region, such as almonds, figs and carobs. We are going to make a cake, and you can find this recipe online at www.eco123.info.
The recipe for
For the base:
(quantities for 2 people)
- 200g of flour;
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil;
- 125ml of water;
- 1 pinch of salt.
- Preheat the oven to 200–250ºC
- Place 200g of flour in a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add the oil, water and salt and mix everything together until it forms a smooth dough.
- Roll out the dough until very thin on a floured surface, and then place it on the oven tray (you can roll out the dough between two sheets of floured baking paper).
- To pre-cook the dough, place it in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Then take it out to put on the topping. The dough will be very crunchy.
Ingredients for the topping:
- Crème fraiche, yoghurt or quark
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetables (beetroot, courgettes, peppers) and fruit (apples or pears) as you wish
- Roll of goat’s cheese (chèvre)
- Freshly picked rosemary
- Mix two tablespoons of crème fraiche, one tablespoon of yoghurt or quark seasoned with salt and pepper and spread this mixture over the dough in a thin layer.
- Cut the vegetables and fruit into thin slices and distribute them over the dough.
- Cut the goat’s cheese into slices and place this over the vegetables and fruit.
- Sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and rosemary to taste.
- Drizzle honey thinly over the topping.
- Bake at 200–250ºC for 10 to 20 minutes.
Give free rein to your fantasy and creativity when choosing your toppings.
Enjoy your food!