Saturday, April 11, 2020

Easter Brunch at Home - Oster Brunch Zuhause


This weekend is Easter weekend. But, of course, things are different this year. And different times call for finding different ways of celebrating special festive days that have always been close to our hearts and that remain important to us. Usually we celebrate Easter with a big, long family picnic. This year we are staying home and we will celebrate with an Easter brunch. As in previous years, there will be lots of colored eggs (bunte Ostereier) and Easter chocolates (Osterschokoladen) of course, but we have decided to skip the traditional leg of lamb and big feast for unpretentious, yet big on flavor dishes, including Creamy Peas Soup with Frothed Milk (Erbsenschaumsüppchen), Alsatian-style Tarte Flambée with Goat's Cheese & Zucchini (Flammkuchen mit Ziegenkäse & Zucchini), Braided Easter Wreath (Hefekranz)and Easter Lamb & Bunny Cakes (Osterlamm-und Hasenkuchen).




Personally, I find that cooking and baking cookies and cakes lightens my mood and although it might seem trivial to some, it provides a little ray of normality and makes staying home that little bit more bearable.

This year to celebrate Easter from a different perspective, you might want to have a go at a new recipe or two, maybe you will spend some time doing Easter arts and crafts with the kids, or you will take a walk with your family, admiring all that nature has to offer, you might also re-discover your home library or color lots of beautiful Easter eggs. Set a pretty Easter table, use colorful tableware, and those vintage and/or heirloom serving pieces that remind you of a loved one. Whatever you do, make it special, make it festive, celebrate what you treasure.





Onto my recipe for our Easter brunch. Tarte flambée or Flammkuchen is often said to be an Alsatian version of or France’s answer to the Italian Pizza. In fact, I think it’s not much like pizza at all, apart from being very thin and savory. Flammkuchen is a speciality of Alsace and the Baden-Württemberg (Baden) and Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) regions on the German-French border. As it is made with unleavened dough, it bakes very crisply indeed, which is its greatest quality.

Traditionally, it is cooked quickly at very high temperature in a wood-fired oven and takes its name from the fact that the edge of the dough often caught fire in the intense heat of the oven, it is said to have been 'licked by the flames'. For all those of us, including myself, who do not own a wood-fired oven, tarte flambée can be made in a regular oven and still be deliciously crisp, it just will not have that typical 'smokey' aroma.





The dish was created by farmers from who used to bake bread once a week. The Flammkuchen was originally a homemade dish which did not make its urban restaurant debut until the 'pizza craze' of the 1960s. A Flammkuchen would be used to test the heat of wood-fired ovens. At the peak of its temperature, the oven would also have the ideal conditions in which to bake a Flammkuchen. The embers would be pushed aside to make room for the tarte in the middle of the oven, and the intense heat would be able to bake it in 1 or 2 minutes.

A traditional tarte flambée always consists of a very thin bread base, either round or rectangular, that is typically topped with fromage blanc or crème fraîche, lardoons (French bacon) and onions - all popular ingredients in Alsatian cuisine.  Depending on the region, this tart can be called 'Flammekueche' (in Alsatian), 'Flammkuchen' (in German) or 'tarte flambée' (in French).




For today´s springtime version, I chose a veggie topping of thinly sliced zucchini (aka courgette) and spring onions as well as an artisinal soft goat‘s cheese (or chèvre) manufactured by my favorite small producer. Especially during difficult times like these, I find it important to support small local businesses. On a positive note, it has become increasingly easy to order fresh regional products online. So, for this recipe, I substituted a third of the traditional crème fraîche with soft goat’s cheese. That lovely fresh cheese definitely adds another layer of flavor here, and, it makes me feel good too.





There are countless variations to the original recipe and there are really no limits as to what can be added as a topping. For example you could add smoked bacon and reblochon or gruyère cheese or maybe red onions and pancetta, other veggies, no onions, add all crème fraîche, lots of soft herbs after your tarte emerges from the oven – use what you have available and what suites your taste buds.

I should add one more thing, there are recipes out there for dough that is leavened with yeast - my recipe doesn’t call for yeast – an item that a couple of weeks disappeared from the store shelves and can still be hard to come by. I prefer a tarte flambée dough sans yeast, always have, always will. It is very easy to work with and bakes up beautifully.




Tarte Flambée with Goat's Cheese & Zucchini

Ingredients
  • 150g AP (plain) flour, plus flour for rolling
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (chose a mild one suitable for cooking)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 zucchini (about M size)
  • 2 spring onions
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • 50g soft goat’s cheese
  • salt, pepper, grated lemon zest
  • some wild garlic, cress, basil or other soft fresh herbs to finish

Preparation
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, add oil, egg yolk, 125ml water and then salt. Mix together with your hands or the dough hooks of your hand mixer until the dough comes together to from a smooth dough.
  2. Brush the dough with a bit more oil, cover with an upside-down bowl and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. While the dough is resting, wash and slice the zucchini very thinly. Wash the spring onions, dry and slice thinly.
  4. In another bowl mix together the crème fraîche, goat’s cheese, salt, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of grated lemon zest.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 220°C (428°F) or 200°C (395°F) convection.
  6. Divide the dough in 2 and roll out each portion on a very lightly floured work surface – make sure to roll it out very thinly.
  7. Transfer the rolled-out dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or use a pizza stone if you own one, following the manufacturer’s instructions).
  8. Distribute the cheese mixture evenly between the rounds of dough and spread it up to the edges. Layer the zucchini slices and sliced onions on top.
  9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges of the dough are deep golden and crunchy.
  10. Remove the baked tarte from the oven, sprinkle with a few fresh herbs (optional) and serve immediately.


Flammkuchen mit Ziegenkäse & Zucchini

Zutaten
  • 150g Mehl (Type 550), plus etwas zum Ausrollen
  • 100g Weizen-Vollkornmehl
  • 4 EL Olivenöl (mild)
  • 1 Eigelb
  • ½ TL Salz
  • 4 Zucchini (M)
  • 2 Frühlingszwiebeln
  • 100g Crème fraîche
  • 50g Ziegenfrischkäse
  • Salz, Pfeffer, Zitronenabrieb (Bio-Zitrone)
  • etwas Bärlauch, Kresse, Basilikum oder andere frische Kräuter (nach Geschmack)

Zubereitung
  1. Beide Mehle mischen und mit dem Öl, dem Eigelb, 125 ml Wasser und dem Salz zu einem glatten Teig verkneten.
  2. Die Teigkugel mit Öl bestreichen und unter einer Schüssel bei Zimmertemperatur 30 Min. ruhen lassen.
  3. Inzwischen die Zucchini waschen, in feine Streifen schneiden. Frühlingszwiebeln waschen, putzen und in Ringe schneiden.
  4. Crème fraîche mit Ziegenfrischkäse, Salz, Pfeffer und etwas Zitronenabrieb verrühren.
  5. Ofen auf 220° (Umluft 200°) vorheizen. Den Teig halbieren und jede Hälfte und auf der leicht bemehlten Arbeitsfläche zu sehr dünnen Fladen ausrollen. Jeweils 1 Teigboden auf ein mit Backpapier ausgelegtes Backblech legen.
  6. Die Teigböden mit der Crème fraîche Mischung bestreichen, mit Zwiebeln und Zucchinistreifen belegen und im Ofen (Mitte) 10 Min. backen bis die Böden schön knusprig sind.
  7. Etwas Kresse oder andere Kräuter darüber streuen und die Flammkuchen noch heiß servieren.



Please note that this blog post is part of my series for a 'local' radio station, where, throughout the years, I present different baked goods that are closely tied to various holidays and seasons. If you are interested, have a LOOK & LISTEN (in German) HERE.

The various recipes of my series can be found here:

  • in January, for Three Kings Day (Dreikönigstag) two kinds of Galette des Rois (Dreikönigskuchen) (HERE)
  • for Lent (Fastenzeit) Lenten Soup with Lenten Beugel (Fastenbeugel) (HERE)
  • for Good Friday (Karfreitag) the delicious Hot Cross Buns (HERE)
  • for Pentecost /Whitsun (Pfingsten) the fun Allgäu Bread Birds (Allgäuer Brotvögel) (HERE)
  • for the beginning of the summer vacation, the lovely Sacristains (Almond & Sugar Puff Pastry Sticks) (HERE)
  • for St Christopher's Day (St Christophorus), the energy-packed Müsli Power Bars (Müsli Energieriegel) (HERE)
  • for Mary's Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt) my Tear & Share Herb Bread (Kräuterbrot) (HERE)
  • for Mary’s Birthday (Mariä Geburt) some very pretty Mary’s Sweet Rolls (Süße Marienküchlein) (HERE)
  • for Thanksgiving (Erntedankfest) a delicious and seasonal Thanksgiving Apple Tart with Frangipane (Erntedank Apfeltarte mit Mandelcreme) (HERE)
  • for Halloween a Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake (Kürbis-Gewürzkuchen)
  • for St Martin's Day (Martinsfest) the cheerful Sweet Dough Men (Weckmänner) (HERE)
  • for St Andrew's Day (Andreastag) a classic Petticoat Tails Shortbread (HERE)
  • for Christmas Day (Weihnachten) these Traditional German Gingerbread (Elisenlebkuchen) (HERE
  • for New Year's Eve New Year's Eve Pretzel (Neujahrsbretzel)
  • for Candelmas Day (Mariä Lichtmess) some delightful Navettes de Saint Victor (HERE)
  • for Carnival Season (Karneval) these lovely Carnival Doughnuts (Karnevals-Krapfen) (HERE
  • for St Patrick's Day a traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread (Irisches Sodabrot)(HERE
  • for St Joseph's Day a long-forgotten but thankfully re-discovered Sweet Cotton Bread (Baumwollbrot)(HERE
  • for Palm Sunday (Palmsonntag) these very pretty Palm Pretzels (Palmbrezel) (HERE
  • for Easter (Ostern) an elegant Tarte Flambée (Flammkuchen) (HERE
  • for Mary's Month of May (Marienmonat Mai) little divine almond cakes called Visitandines (Mandelküchlein) (HERE) - more delicious treats to come very soon.



15 comments:

  1. So beautiful all Andrea.
    Happy Easter and blessings!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gloria, and a very Happy & Healthy Easter to you and your lovely famly as well!
      Andrea

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  2. Happy Easter dear Andrea, it looks like you are going to have a lovely Easter with your delicious Flammenkuchen.

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    Replies
    1. Liebe Gerlinde, auch euch ein Frohes Osterfest! Wir hatten wunderschönes Wetter und der ausgiebige Oster Brunch Zuhause mit Hefekranz, Suppe, Eiern, Salaten, Flammkuchen und vielen anderen Leckereien war richtig schön und hat uns alle glücklich gemacht!
      Liebe Grüße und weiterhin alles Gute,
      Andrea

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  3. NO yeast! That means no waiting to eat this deliciousness!
    How I love your photos, Andrea. Your beautiful serving dishes, arrangements and the sun bathing the lot in your garden....I always say to myself I will visit you one day!
    Hope your Easter Sunday made a sweet start to the week. XX

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    Replies
    1. Dear Colette - yes, it's true no yeast in the dough for this Tarte Flambée. This is a recipe I always use (before it became a true challenge to find fresh or dry yeast in stores around here) and I love it. What a nice comment, my sweet friend! Here's hoping that things will change soon and we will all be able to travel again and visit family and friends.
      Hope you and your wonderful family spent a terrific Easter weekend despite all the necessary restrictions!
      Andrea xx

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  4. Se ve fabulosa la mesa montada :-))
    1 saludito

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you kindly, glad you enjoy my brunch table! Hope you and your family spent a wonderful Easter weekend!

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  5. Your tarte flambé sounds fabulous! I was at home alone over Easter so I made roast lamb so that things felt celebratory despite everything. I would have flown to visit my family and my mother always makes a roast for Easter Sunday.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Gaye, that sounds like you prepared a true Easter treat for yourself. Respect. Hope things are going well so far - from what I have seen on your blog, you have baked up a storm despite it all. Roast lamb is traditional, of course, around here as well, but this year we decided to take a different culinary route, celebrating the special season with foods and ingredients we love and with table ware that holds dear memories for all of us and it felt wonderful and festive, different but just as festive.
      Continue to take good care of yourself, my friend.

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  6. What a feast! I would not miss a lamb dinner if I started my day with this marvelous holiday brunch!! P.S. I had my first taste of flammkuchen on our cruise. It was sooo tasty, but the recipe they passed along didn't make much sense, so glad to have yours!!! xo

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  7. I think you made wise choices for Easter dinner. Scaling back during these times is a good way to go - and, by the looks of it, you still had a wonderful feast! The Tarte Flambée is so beautiful, as is the soup. Happy (belated_ Easter - it is a good time to take stock of our lives and to be grateful for all we have, even in these times of isolation. XO

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  8. I wish I could've been there! This looks like such a lavish feast. I live in a part of the world where a picnic on Easter would be unthinkable. (Much too cold.) Nonetheless, I do love a good indoor feast. But things being what they are this year, I couldn't muster the motivation to make it. We did have some delicious pasta, though.

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  9. Oh Andrea, what a beautiful Easter meal...I am loving everything on your table...so pretty and so peaceful...makes me forget about the situation we are dealing with...thank you!
    The tart looks and sounds amazing...goat cheese and zucchini...I think I can have this tart anytime.
    Thanks for the beautiful post and please stay safe...have a wonderful weekend!

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  10. Dear Andrea, your Easter spread was beautiful, and as always, I love it when you share the special ways that you celebrate these occasions. It's like looking into a fairy tale! The Flammkuchen is a wonderful addition, one I would happily eat every day! Bonus points for not needing yeast which is so hard to come by these days! I hope you had a wonderful Easter and are staying safe and healthy, my friend!

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