Swabian onion pie („zwiebelkuchen“ or „zwibbelkuche„) is traditionally consumed around autumn, more precisely: At the time of the wine harvest. And its consumed in some quantities at the numerous wine festivals that accompany the event, celebrating this year’s harvest and the coming years‘ wine in the form of federweißer (aka as bitzler or sauser), new wine made from must, which is the drink that traditionally goes with onion pie – or the other way around, onion pie is the food that traditionally goes with federweißer, that still has to be decided!
You may by the way find that Swabian onion pie is not entirely unsimilar to Alsatian quiche lorraine (or, more precisely, quiche alsacienne as quiche lorraine officially does not sport onions) which is not surprising considering that Swabia and the Alsace share a lot of history and, therefore, inevitably, food. Instead of crème fraîche, Onion pie is made with schmand (which is the German version of smetana) and/or saure sahne (a soured cream with around 10% fat content), which can however be replaced with crème fraîche if you are having trouble finding these ingredients.
You can really use any type of onion. For a classic recipe, I recommend Spanish onion, which is milder and sweeter in taste.
For the dough:
- 250 grams of flour
- 20 grams of fresh yeast
- 150 ml of milk, lukewarm
- 50 grams of butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
For the filling:
- 50 grams of lardons
- 4 Spanish onions, peeled, halved and cut into slices
- 80 grams of butter
- 1 teaspoon of ground caraway
- 1 teaspoon of flour
- 3 eggs
- 250 grams of schmand (alternatively: smetana, crème fraîche)
- 150 grams of saure sahne (alternatively: fat-reduced crème fraîche)
- salt, freshly ground pepper
Preparing the crust:
- Tip the flour into a large bowl and form a depression in the middle.
- Break up the yeast and place in the depression. Add some of the lukewarm milk (about half) and mix roughly with the yeast and some of the flour.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let prove for 15 minutes.
- Add the rest of the milk and the melted butter and use an electric mixer with kneading hooks until smooth.
- Last, add the salt and the sugar and knead through well.
- Cover with a kitchen towel again and let prove for at least 1, better for several hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling (see below).
- Pre-eat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Take the dough out of the dough and shortly knead through.
- Grease a springform pan and press the dough into the pan lining both the bottom and the sides.
- Cover with parchment paper and put baking weights on top, alternatively prick the bottom with a fork all over.
- Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven at the end of the baking time and reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius. Remove baking wights and parchment paper.
Preparing the filling:
- Tip the lardons into a cold saucepan. Heat up to low to medium temperature.
- Let fry gently for a few minutes. The purpose is to let the lardons release some of the fat. Do not overfry. Remove from the pot after approximately 5 minutes of frying.
- Increase the temperature to medium and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the onion.
- Let fry gently until the onion softens and finally, caramelizes (this will take around 30 minutes during which time the onion should be turned every now and then). The temperature should not be too low or the onion will simply cook in its own juices (instead of frying). If the onion browns too quickly, you need to however reduce the temperature. When the onion caramelizes, turn the onion with a wooden spatula while scraping the brown bits off the bottom (this is where the flavor is!).
- Just before the onion is fully caramelized, add the caraway.
- Take off the heat and sprinkle in the flour. Add the lardons and mix well.
- Mixx the eggs with the schmand and the saure sahne. Season with lots of freshly ground pepper and salt.
- Spread the onion over the bottom of the pre-baked crust.
- Pour the egg mix over the onions. Spread evenly if required.
- Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 45 to 55 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Enjoy warm with a glass of federweißer!