Hamilton chefs' favourite holiday recipes: Hambrgr's Michael Cipollo

In this first of a weekly column throughout December, food blogger Chanry Thach goes in search of Hamilton chefs's best holiday recipes. This week its Tarte Flambe – (Alsatian Tarte) by Hambrgr's Michael Cipollo.

Each week in December Hamilton food blogger Chanry Thach features a holiday recipe from a local chef

Chef Michael Cipollo of Hambrgr and FSH & CHP (Chanry Thach)

Each week in December, Hamilton food blogger Chanry Thach features a holiday recipe from a local chef.

Chanry Thach

This week's guest chef is Michael Cipollo, or should we call him Mchl Cpll? With his wife Paula, Cipollo is the chef and owner of two wildly successful restaurants Hambrgr and FSH & CHP – with 1 more opening in January and 2 more under construction.

This dish has quickly become a tradition for the  Cipollo  clan around the holidays.

He says that growing up in a large family, it was all hands on deck when it came to dinner time. So Cipollo started cooking at a young age alongside his parents and aunts and uncles.

Fast forward a few years, he's a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, met a Canadian girl, and when they decided to open up their own business, Cipollo says it was a "no brainer" when it came to picking Hamilton.

For most chefs, the holidays mean preparing meals for others. Once, while in France, Cipollo had this Tarte Flambe made by a young cook in between service. It was a traditional dish from his home town near Alsace.

It's a simple dish, using humble ingredients. This dish has quickly become a tradition for the Cipollo clan around the holidays.

Simple enough to make on the fly, but special enough to be enjoyed during a celebration. Find the recipe below.

This holiday season, help us support Hamilton Food Share as part of CBC's Sounds of the Season campaign to aid local food banks. You can donate food or cash at our 118 James N. station during business hours or attend our Art Crawl Open House, Dec. 9. from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can also donate online here.

Hambrgr's Michael Cipollo offers up his Tarte Flambe – (Alsatian Tarte)

Tarte Flambe – (Alsatian Tarte)


½ cup crème fraîche

1 cup fromage blanc (you can substitute cream cheese as well)

1⁄8 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

1¾ cups flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp. baking powder

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 egg yolks

1 lb fingerling potatoes, par cooked in salted water and sliced

8 strips smoked bacon, finely chopped

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

green onions for garnish


Heat an oven to 500F preferably with a pizza stone, but an upside down baking sheet will work too

Blend crème fraîche, fromage blanc, nutmeg, and salt and white pepper in a bowl, set aside until Step 6

Mix flour, baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt in a bowl; make a well in the middle.

Whisk oil, egg yolks, and ½ cup water in another bowl, then pour into flour well.

Using a fork or your hands, stir until a loose dough forms. Remove from bowl onto a lightly floured cutting board or table; knead dough for about 1 minute then divide dough into 3 pieces, cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll into approx. a 12" circle, and place on a parchment paper. Spread ½ cup cheese mixture over circle, leaving about a ½" border. Sprinkle with a little of the bacon, potatoes and onions. Transfer dough (on parchment paper) to pizza stone (or upside down baking sheet). Bake until lightly browned and crispy, 8–10 minutes

Garnish with a sprinkling of fine sliced green onions – repeat with remaining dough balls