Flammkuchen (Puff Pastry Pizza) Recipe

Flammkuchen is a type of German pizza, popularized when bakers tested their wood-fired ovens with thin pieces of dough, which when cooked correctly meant the oven was ready to use. Apparently, one day a baker grew tired of eating plain bread and scraped together a few toppings to make what we know today as flammkuchen. See, next time you hodge-podge a snack out of back-of-house scraps, it could be the new national dish.

As a back-of-house production baker herself, developer Michelle McGlinn knows that early-morning hunger too well and developed a similarly filling flammkuchen that is just as easy to make at home, without the commercial ovens. A key characteristic of flammkuchen is the crispy, airy, barely-there crust, which is traditionally made from scratch, though you can shortcut it with a simple freezer swap: puff pastry. No kneading required, the puff pastry can be rolled out, topped, and baked in barely 30 minutes. Whether you're looking for a filling app or an early morning snack, this flammkuchen is an easy answer.

Gathering ingredients for flammkuchen (puff pastry pizza)

This recipe is built for two puff pastry pizzas so that you can easily use all of your ingredients at once (who else hates half-empty containers filling up the fridge?). Most puff pastry brands are sold in packs of two, so pick up a box from the freezer aisle and thaw it around 30-40 minutes before baking. You'll also need crème fraîche, a pinch of nutmeg, pepper, and some salt for the sauce, then gather up a small red onion and some cured meat. The meat choice is flexible, so don't go all over town trying to get your hands on calabrese. Cured chorizo, pepperoni, or even prosciutto will work great — or if you don't have charcuterie options, cooked bacon will do the trick.

Sauce up the puff pastry dough

Thawing puff pastry dough first ensures that the dough doesn't crack and break when you unfold it. If it does break, it's easy to fix; just dab water on the crack and push the dough together to mend. As it gets wet, the dough will become pliable, like Play-doh. Pinch and seal any breaks using water, then spread on a baking sheet.

Stir together the crème fraîche, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, then spread it onto the prepared puff pastry. Because there's no defined crust, leave about ½-inch border around the pastry to prevent the sauce from spilling over the edges. When it bakes, this bare crust will rise, locking the sauce into the middle of the pie.

Add your toppings

Flammkuchen is usually enjoyed in countries like Germany, France, and Switzerland as a light appetizer, so the toppings are kept fairly sparse. Dot the pizza with onion and calabrese so that the sauce is still showing through. If you want to switch it up, try toppings like salmon and lox, cooked chorizo or bacon, caramelized onions, or even diced apples. With a creamy, tangy base, your topping options can get creative and even sweet.

Bake and serve the flammkuchen

At first you'll be holding your breath, watching a flat piece of dough grow softer and seemingly flatter in the heat of the oven. Then, all at once, the puff pastry will do what it does best and rise into a flaky, golden brown crust. It's a sight to behold, and the smell of cooking onions a welcome attraction for any looming dinner guests.

Remove the flammkuchen from the oven and slice into nine pieces, serving immediately while the creamy sauce is still hot. Traditional flammkuchen is made only with crème fraîche, but feel free to sprinkle your favorite cheeses on for an extra-gooey pizza (but remember, the thin crust can only hold so much). Pair with crisp white wine and dark beers, and serve alongside bratwurst or potato pancakes.

Flammkuchen (Puff Pastry Pizza) Recipe
4.8 from 4 ratings
This puff pastry pizza, more commonly known as flammkuchen, features a creamy sauce and light toppings, making for the ideal appetizer.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slice of pizza on table
Total time: 0 minutes
  • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 ½ ounces thinly-sliced calabrese
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Assemble a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unfold the puff pastry sheets and place them on the parchment paper. Patch any cracks by blotting with water.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the puff pastry sheets, leaving a ½-inch border around each sheet.
  4. Arrange the onions and calabrese on top of the crème fraîche, then insert the baking sheet into the oven and bake until puff pastry is flaky and golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and cut into 9 pieces each. Serve immediately.
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