Family Friendly Fridays: French Inspired Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta

Where does your inspiration come from?  I fancy to say mine comes from extensive visits to far off and exotic cultures, ideas garnered while wandering around the inner workings of the CIA (that’s the Culinary institute of America, not the windowless government agency lacking even a pinch of food-based stimulation), and my daily afternoon tea break with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s personal chef.

The less sexy reality of it all is that this French inspired flatbread was a revelation of my weekly visit to the local Trader Joe’s.  Call me crazy, but some of my best ideas spring from that little grocery store with the brimming flavor profile.  While perusing the frozen food section, I came upon this very flatbread.  I looked at it for a minute and then a minute more.  “I can make this.”  I thought.  Not being one to turn down a challenge, I decided to plunge in; crust first.

I quickly discerned the first step in creating French inspired brilliance to be the caramelization of an onion.  If you’ve never done it before, don’t be afraid, I promise it’s real easy.  You ready?

Slice up an onion; I used a vidalia because I just love their delicious, sweet flavor.

Once finished, heat up a little butter and olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and drop them into the mix.

Now cook ’em and cook ’em and then cook ’em some more; about thirty minutes worth in all.  Si Belle.

Seriously.  I have a thing for caramelized onions.  I’m actually surprised they made it to the pizza with the way they kept “sneaking” out of the pan.

While the onions are turning all beautiful and golden-like, grab up some basic ingredients and create a simple shell for your dinner.  I used a little flour, oil, salt, and water.

Roll it out thin and transfer to a greased up baking sheet.  If you’ve got a big baking stone, by all means use it.  My stone was a bit small for this experiment so I stuck with the next best thing.  Let me add, that I folded over the extra ends, but the next time I make this, I’d probably be just a wee bit less lazy and cut off some of the extra.  Of course, my kids loved the big hunks of crust better than the pizza itself, so maybe lazy isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Brush it with a little olive oil (even flatbread likes to get tan now and again) and slide it into the oven to bake up.  Pull it out and give it a chance to cool.

Here’s where we get all French and sophisticated.  Grab up some creme fraiche.   Now throw on your French Maid Costume, start speaking French (for me that entails saying bonjour, comment allez-vouz, and au revoir over and over again), hold the container with pinky finger lifted just so and dollop out about 4 ounces of the French cream.  Are you getting in touch with your inner Parisian yet?  If not, I’m sure you look darn good doing it.

Spread the cream around, add on the the onions and pancetta, and top it with a couple large handfuls of gruyere cheese.  If you’re feeling so inspired, you can add a few sprinkles of parsley for color as well.

Place the flatbread back into the oven and cook it through until the cheese is all bubbly and melted.

Check out this french masterpiece.

Monet and Van Gogh would be proud.  Ok maybe not proud, but definitely hungry.

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Flatbread with Carmelized Onions and Pancetta

Total Time: 1 hour 15 min


For the Onions:

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Vidalia Onion, Sliced (about 2 Cups)
1 Pinch Salt

For the Dough:

1 Cup Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 1/4 Cups Flour

For the Finished Flatbread:

4 Oz. Creme Fraiche
4 Oz. Pancetta, Cubed
5 Oz. Gruyere Cheese, Shredded
1 tsp Parsley (Optional)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

For the onions, heat up the butter and and the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add them to the pan and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, remove from heat and stir in a pinch of salt.

While the onions are cooking, combine together the water, salt, 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 3 cups of the flour. Form a dough ball.

Continue to knead flour into the dough, one tablespoon at a time (about 1/4 cup extra), until you achieve a smooth, elastic texture.

Roll the dough out thin and place it on a greased baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. If you have a large pizza stone at your disposal, preheat in heated oven before placing rolled out dough.

Place bread in the oven to cook for 10 minutes. Pull it out and allow a few minutes to cool back down.

Spread the creme fraiche over the dough, followed by the pancetta, onions, and finally the gruyere cheese.

Sprinkle parsley over the top of bread if desired.

Place flatbread in the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes.

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31 Responses to “Family Friendly Fridays: French Inspired Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta”

  1. 1

    Create With Joy — May 27, 2011 @ 6:39 am

    This looks delicious – going on my list of recipes to try for sure!
    Thanks for hosting!


  2. 2

    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — May 27, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Love. it. Salty, crispy, and a little sweet.

    Any tips on finding Gruyere cheese that won’t cost me an arm and a leg? I have had plans to use Gruyere before, but bailed when I got to the grocery store and saw how expensive it was!

  3. 3

    jenna — May 27, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    oh my goodness…this looks so full of flavor! what a wonderful weekend treat :)

  4. 4

    Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 — May 27, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    This looks delicious. I love you for using creme fraiche. I think I use any available excuse to make it.

  5. 5

    Denise @ Creative Kitchen — May 27, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Soo funny!! I’m sharing about my Fresh Mex Flatbread Pizza this week (that I posted about a couple months ago)…AND my post from earlier this week is also about an addicting BLT Flatbread Pizza. I’ve had Flatbread pizza on the brain….and then I just saw this come through my email. :) LOVE IT!!! Great minds think alike…excited to try your version. I did make one the other night with carmelized onions. YUM!!!

  6. 6

    cooking rookie — May 27, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    what a delicious flatbread – with caramelized onion, creme fraiche and those cheeses it must be so hearty and flavorful!

  7. 7

    Dan — May 27, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    so tasty looking!

    Looks very similar to a pizza my mom’s friend makes, but the dough is likely quite different.

  8. 8

    Feast on the Cheap — May 27, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    I make something very similar to this on those nights where I just don’t know what to make. For some reason, I always seem to have these ingredients on hand. Love it!

  9. 9

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  10. 10

    K Little — May 27, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    Yum…anything with Gruyere Cheese is a winner to me! Thanks for hosting….love your blog!

  11. 11

    Jenna — May 27, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    Bonjour! And YUM! That looks INCREDIBLE. Now I’m going to be in physical agony until dinner time . . .
    And I love your channeling of the inner French woman. Au revoir!

  12. 12

    Mari's Cakes — May 27, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    I love onions and love the flat bread. It the perfect combination for me.

    Thanks :)

  13. 13

    malia — May 27, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

    julie this looks fab! thx for hosting! malia

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  15. 15

    Mandy - The Complete Cook Book — May 28, 2011 @ 6:32 am

    Heavenly, what an incredible and perfect recipe. I have just printed it out and will be making it (all things going well) for lunch tomorrow. Will report back.
    :-) Mandy

  16. 16

    Rita — May 28, 2011 @ 7:34 am

    These look so good that I have to try it; onions and flatbread; Great combinations.

  17. 17

    Cookin' Canuck — May 28, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    That is indeed a masterpiece. Pancetta and caramelized onions are soul mates!

  18. 18

    Carolyn — May 29, 2011 @ 6:06 am

    Ooo, yum! The instant I saw this, I thought of the Trader Joe’s version, which I love. Yours looks fantastic!

  19. 19

    anne — May 29, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    yum yum yummy! happy weekend my friend! anne

  20. 20

    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen — May 30, 2011 @ 3:34 am

    Julie this is amazing! Like Dara said its match made in heaven.

  21. 21

    Ma What's For Dinner — May 31, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    See the keyword here is appetizer…small bites…

    I’d have trouble with that on a dish like this…

    I’d eat the WHOLE FREAKIN’ THING without a doubt!!!

    Looks amazing, Julie.

  22. 22

    Kristen — May 31, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    I love everything on this flatbread… you got me with the caramelized onions. YUm!

  23. 23

    Maranda — May 31, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    I love me some caramelized onions too. I’m not sure there’s anything better. This flatbread looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  24. 24

    Juliana — May 31, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

    Julie, your flatbread looks delicious with the caramelized onion…all homemade. Nice pictures as well. Have a wonderful week :-)

  25. 25

    Matthew "mmWine" Horbund — June 3, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    Love it! A little chardonnay and everyone’s happy!

  26. 26

    Chef Dennis — June 13, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    I love caramelized onions, cheese and pancetta, how could this flatbread not be delicious! I would certainly enjoy a huge serving of this tasty treat!

  27. 27

    JoeMeister — July 3, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    Perfect. I was looking for that. Will try it this afternoon.
    I also red that instead of regular water for the dough
    you should use sparkling water which gives it that exact
    taste like the french Trader Joe’s Flatbread.

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  29. 29

    LivingFood101 — July 19, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    This looks delicious, I will have to try it!

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