When I came to live in the Netherlands after years of living elsewhere, I quickly realised I’d missed all the recent developments and the latest hypes. The Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet scandal mostly passed by me unnoticed and uncared for. Primark had suddenly opened stores all over the country, whilst I thought that only the British would be willing to buy their neon-coloured leggings and animal-print onesies. I can’t even remember who the Prime Minister was the last time I spent any noteworthy amount of time here, but there definitely was a queen back then, who has been swapped for this chubby blond character in the meantime.
Of course I don’t actually care much about politics or shopping, so the above-mentioned developments raised one of my eyebrows, but didn’t really shake me further. Of course this cannot be said for the brand new culinary delights that I’ve been seeing around the country. Because there’s a weird trend going on there, as well: everyone eats fuckin’ Flammkuchen now.
Seriously, Flammkuchen, where did it come from? What is it even? I never even knew this thing existed but there you go, this country lives off them now. It’s kind of like a German, white pizza, except there’s no yeast involved, so you get a super thin, crispy base, traditionally topped with crème fraîche, onion and bacon lardons, but in reality topped with whatever people here can come up with. Knowing the Dutch, that’ll be the wildest, craziest, most ridiculously disgusting abominations. The traditional one is really good though, and it’s not very difficult to make.
Literally, Flammkuchen means something like ‘flamecake’ in German and although it’s not a cake, it should ideally be cooked over fire, in a proper wood oven. I don’t have that, so instead I just preheat my oven to the highest temperature it can possibly reach and then I up the cooking time a little bit. Not ideal, but it’s the best I can do. See how hot your oven gets and change cooking times depending on that. You’re going for crispy.
For a couple of Flammkuchen, use:
- 200 gr plain flour
- 125 – 150 ml water
- good pinch of salt
- a small tub of crème fraîche
- a wee pack of bacon lardons
- a couple of onions
First of all, mix the flour with the water (go easy first, then add more if you need to) and a pinch of salt. Knead properly, you really want to take your time here. Once you have a smooth ball of dough, wrap it up in cling film and leave it for about an hour.
When an hour has passed, rip your dough in two halves, then flatten them both out as flat as you possibly can. Thin and crispy, keep that in mind.
When you’ve got two flat discs, top them both with crème fraîche, the lardons, and the thinly sliced onions, and stick them in a scorching hot wood oven for about 8 minutes, or a normal oven preheated to the highest possible temperature for about 12 – 15.
Eat with copious amounts of German beer.