German Onion Pie is a delicious specialty served in colder months and especially popular when the new wine, or "Moscht" comes out in the fall, a few weeks after crush. "Zwiebelkuchen" contains onions, as indicated, as well as caraway and/or bacon. In difference to quiche, it is usually baked on a yeast dough, like pizza.
This dough and onion combination is particularly flavorful because the lean dough becomes crispy in the oven and does not overwhelm the toppings.
Makes one 11 inch, deep-dish onion pie or one 11 x 13 inch pan (thinner)
Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
- 3 c. flour (400 grams)
- 1 cake yeast (17 grams) or 1 1/2 tsp. instant
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 5/8 c. lukewarm water
- 2.2 lb. (1 kg.) or about 4-5 yellow onions
- 3 T. oil
- 3/4 c. cream, part crème frâiche if you have it
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Freshly ground nutmeg and/or pepper
- 1/2 - 1 tsp. caraway seed (optional)
- 1 T. cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)
Start by making the dough. I prefer mixing instant yeast and salt into the flour and then adding the warm water and mixing until a smooth dough forms, but make it the way you like best.
- The Germans often start it by crumbling the yeast into a depression in the flour, adding the liquid and lightly mixing, sprinkling with flour and proofing the yeast that way.
- You can also proof the yeast separately by dissolving in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. It takes 10 - 20 minutes for bubbles to form.
After the dough is smooth and elastic, form it into a ball, oil the surface and let it rise in a bowl covered with a clean dishcloth in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
While dough is rising, make the onion filling. For the picture, I sliced the onions vertically, but some people prefer to cut them smaller. Heat at least half the oil in a large pan, add the onions and sauté over medium heat, adding oil as necessary to coat all onions. Cook for about 20 minutes and remove from heat before they start to brown significantly.
Note: You may also start with 4 slices of bacon (or 75 grams of Bauchspeck), cubed and browned. Remove bacon and add onions to bacon fat. Do not add as much salt to the final dish.
Mix the creams, salt and eggs to form a custard base. You can add freshly ground nutmeg or pepper to the mix, if you wish.
Press the dough into a 11 inch, buttered springform pan or into a buttered 11 x 13 inch baking dish, being sure to form high sides.
Distribute the onions over the dough. Sprinkle with caraway and cooked bacon. Pour the custard over the top and tilt to distribute evenly.
Bake in a heated, 350°F oven for 40 minutes or until custard is set and yeast dough is browned.
Remove from oven and serve warm.
(Take an idea from a popular pizza chain and finish the thick crust with butter and honey after eating the filling.)