From the mountainous southern region of Germany, flamkuchen are thin, crisp pizzas topped with a dreamy combination of melting onions, cream, cheese and smoked bacon. I can’t think of a more perfect accompaniment to an ice-cold beer or two.
Make the pizza base in a food mixer or by hand. Stir together the flour, salt and yeast until mixed, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the water, kneading together until smooth and elastic. This will take around 10 minutes by hand; around 5 minutes in a food mixer with a dough hook. Scrape the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with a clean tea towel. Leave to prove while you cook the onions.
Melt the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a deep saucepan and add the sliced onions. Cook over a really low heat, stirring every now and then, until the onions are soft but not coloured. This will take around 40–45 minutes, maybe even a touch longer; don’t try to rush the process – slow-cooked onions take on an incredible depth of flavour and in this simple dish that is the key to success. A deep saucepan helps prevent the onions from burning as they cook in a thick, dense layer.
Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C Fan/Gas Mark 9. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces, and stretch and roll each to a thin disc of about 22–24cm in diameter. Lay each on a baking tray (if you don’t have 4 suitable trays, lay them on separate sheets of baking parchment ready to slide on to trays to bake in shifts). Top each base with a couple of tablespoons of crème fraîche and season all over with salt, pepper and a generous grind of fresh nutmeg. Dot spoonfuls of the cooked onions over each base and scatter on the lardons. Finally sprinkle over the grated Gruyère cheese and bake in the hot oven, in batches if necessary, until the base is crisp and the cheese golden and bubbling, about 12–14 minutes.
Garnish with the snipped chives and ideally serve straight from the oven, although this still tastes great at room temperature or even cold.