La Flamiche or "White Pizza"

Hopefully, we all have around us people who will help us out of a sticky spot a the drop of a hat, warm generous people and last week-end I found myself in one of these situation: I had written an article which had not met the buyer's approval, wanting to do my best, I called on Ann and Barbara, both ex-teachers, Barbara spotted the issues straight away and helped me no end. Still the person whom the article was for, took a red pen to it, I guess there are people who cannot be satisfied, but I was pleased with the much improved end result and to say thank you ask them both for dinner.

Then came the tricky question of what to cook, since I am currently reviewing "Crust" by Richard Bertinet" I decided on his version of the Flamiche, a hearty, convivial pie from Picardie in the north of France, I'll spare you the legend of how a good farmer's wife came to have the idea for such a dish on her way to the market. Richard refers to it as a "pizza blanche" which is spot on have a look:

Ingredients :
for the dough*500 gms bread dough *
10g fresh yeast
500g strong white flour
10g salt
350g water
a little white flour, for dusting
for the topping
1 tablespoon olive oil
200g lardons or sliced pancetta ( I used bacon)
2 leeks, finely sliced
3 eggs
300g creme fraiche
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
a little grated Gruyere (optional)

To make the base:
  • Rub the yeast into the flour using your fingertips, add the salt and the water and mix well, work it as for a bread dough, (personally I use the food processor)
  • leave it to rest on the baking tray
  • flatten the dough, ridge the edge, using your fingers of a pair of scissor "dimple" the edge.
to make the topping:
  • heat the olive oil in a frying pan, put in the lardons and saute until they start to colour. Remove the lardons and then put in the leeks, saute them lightly until they colour a little
  • in a bowl mix the eggs, creme fraiche salt pepper, nutmeg, add the cooked ingredients
  • top the base with the mixture
  • Put the Flamiche into the oven (230) and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy edges, I checked it after a 15 minutes, mine took a little longer.
et voila.
slight adaptation of Richard Bertinet's recipe, map of France from Wikipedia

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