Home cooking: Flame Cake (Flammkuchen)

July 10, 2012

Bill Carter is chairman of the One Mountain Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote educational programs, historical preservation, community improvements, cultural activities and projects that benefit the greater Cascade-Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., area.

Heather Carter is Bill's wife. She organized the assembly and recent printing of "Mountain Heritage Cooking Collection," a fundraising cookbook to benefit the foundation. She included several recipes from a group of friends she called the NATO ladies.

"When my husband was stationed in Germany, we were in Heidelberg (Germany)," Heather said. "He was in the (U.S. Army) Signal Corps. The way they do it is three years in, and out you go. But we wanted to stay in Germany. So we moved from 7th Signal Command to CENTAG (Central Army Group), with Brits, Canadians, Americans — all part of NATO."

The Carters stayed in Germany for eight years. Heather gleaned many recipes from the wives of other NATO officers. Flame Cake, or "flammkuchen," is one of them. It's a German dish, a sort of German-style pizza traditionally eaten in the fall with new wine.

Flame Cake is one of 300 recipes in "Mountain Heritage Cooking Collection." Copies of the cookbook cost $15 and are available at Fort Ritchie Community Center and Sander's Market in Cascade, Dru's Books 'n Things in Waynesboro and Flohr True Value Hardware in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor

Flame Cake (Flammkuchen)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 egg yolk


1 teaspoon milk, as needed

For toppings:

1/2 cup lean smoked bacon

1/3 cup Swiss cheese, grated

Small can sliced mushrooms, drained, optional

A handful fresh baby spinach, to taste, optional

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

4 eggs

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste

In a mixing bowl, cut butter into flour. Add egg yolk and salt and mix. If dough is too dry, add a little milk.

Let dough stand 3 to 4 hours (4 is best).

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Spread dough evenly in a pizza pan, forming a 1/4-inch lip around the edge. Pierce dough with a fork.

Cut bacon into cubes, mix with Swiss cheese and distribute over dough. Add mushrooms and spinach, if desired.

Whisk together cream, milk, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and pour over toppings.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Cook's note: Heather Carter said this recipe could be prepared using a prebaked pizza crust, as long as the crust has a high lip.

— Heather Carter

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