I have been lucky enough to travel throughout my life, and while I've been to plenty of cool spots, there are still countless other places that I'm dying to go. Cooking brings exotic destinations to me for those times when life keeps me close to home. So when I'm desperately longing for Italy, a from-scratch ragù over fresh papardelle means I am never more than a plateful away. And when I'm craving the tastes of Taiwan? Fluffy pork baozi brings all the best memories back.
While I love recreating meals from the countries I have been, it's even more fun to learn about the foods of the countries I have yet to go. I first discovered the incredible flammekeuche, for instance, by reading about it here on The Kitchn. It's a famous Alsatian dish consisting of a thin pizza-like dough topped with crème fraîche, sliced onions, and smoky lardons, and baked until bubbly in a wood-burning oven. What can I say, it was love at first bite.
Feeling quite inspired, I channeled the flammekeuche concept into dessert form. Instead of using the more traditional pizza dough (which would also work), I subbed in buttery puff pastry for both flavor and ease. I smothered the flaky crust with barely-sweetened crème fraîche and topped it with a scattering of dried plums. Dark chocolate infused with a hint of sea salt gilded the lily, in this case Lindt EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt, and a final drizzle of honey married it together. And there you go — a delicious, and new, recipe was born!
Dessert Flammekueche with Dried Plums, Dark Chocolate, and Crème FraîcheServes 10 to 12
1 sheet puff pastry
3/4 cup crème fraîche (sour cream can be substituted)
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried plums (dried cherries or dates would be nice, too), quartered
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate with sea salt, such as Lindt EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar
Warm honey, to serve
Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the sheet of puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Unfold the puff pastry and slice in half lengthwise into 2 rectangular sheets. Transfer the sheets to a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Prick the pastries all over with a fork and refrigerate until firm, about 5 minutes. Top the pastries with another sheet of parchment paper and then cover with a second baking pan (to keep the pastries from puffing while cooking). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and flaky. Move the cooked pastries to a wire rack and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until combined and spread over the two cooled puff pastries. Scatter the dried plums over the crème fraîche mixture, followed by the chocolate. Drizzle with honey and slice crosswise into large triangles before serving.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)