Of all the food offerings at the Berlin Christmas Markets our favorite was the Flammkuchen and Handbrot. First, the Handbrot...a whole wheat bread with a gooey cheese and bacon inside baked in a wood-fired oven and then slathered with creme fraiche and sprinkled with chives.
The bread dough is rolled flat and the piped with a thick Mornay sauce and then rolled and pinched shut. Mornay is a Bechamel sauce (one of the traditional mother sauces made of milk and thickened with cooked flour and butter, or roux) that has cheese, usually Gruyere, added to it.
No reason for fancy ovens - a wood fired oven and a spray bottle of water create the perfect heat + steam combination for this oven handbrot.
It was served to us hot from the oven with cool creme fraiche and chives. Need I say more?
Well, yes. The handbrot was trumped by the flammkuchen. It's better known as the Tarte Flambe in France and Flammekueche in Alsace. It has a similar history to the petit four - a little something to test the heat of the oven before oven thermometers existed. The flammkuchen is a yeasted dough rolled thin, a bit of fromage blanc or creme fraiche is spread over and topped with thick-cut smoked bacon bits. When it comes out of the oven, green onion is sprinkled on top. So simple, yet so delicious.
I first experienced this wonderful creation in Paris at Flam's..
The version above was a bit dressed up with more cheese and the addition of mushrooms, but I must say I do prefer the one below - the wonderfully simple Flammkuchen I had at the German Christmas Market.
This would be really easy to make at home...I'm now on the search for the perfect yeasted whole wheat dough to recreate my own flammkuchen at home.