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Zwiebelkuchen

For the first recipe I decided to make for the Gourmet 10/76 Project, I chose what seemed like a relatively straightforward recipe: Bacon Pie. The ingredient list was almost completely pantry items, nothing weird, nothing hard to get. Unfortunately despite the fact that it was called “pie” and contained bacon the recipe failed to impress me. I was weirded out by the fact that the bacon wasn’t cooked before being buried in too much dough, and although my colleagues at the studio ended up loving it, I wanted more.

A little internet research suggests that perhaps what the reader was seeking may have been Zwiebelkuchen, which is a German pie made with onions and bacon, but with a larger ratio of onions to bacon. And it has a whole lot of eggs and sour cream. There are several different versions of what literally translates to “onion cake”  but I wasn’t able to find a version that was similar to the recipe in Gourmet.

So I ended up taking a few different recipes, smushing them all together and frankly, I’m proud of myself. The Zwiebelkuchen was delicious, kind of like a cross between a tart and a quiche, and was good warm and at room temperature. Zwiebelkuchen is traditionally eaten with a fresh young German white wine.

Zwiebelkuchen Recipe

Traditional German Onion and Bacon Pie

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • tsp active dry yeast one packet
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil plus more for the bowl
  • 1 cup 2% milk lukewarm
  • 1 lb bacon sliced into lardons
  • 3 large onions sliced into rounds
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp salt divided
  • cups sour cream
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg freshly ground
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the oil and warm milk and mix until a rough dough is formed. Dump dough out onto a work surface dusted with a little extra flour and knead until the dough is smooth and silky. Add a small amount of oil to a clean bowl, and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an 1½ hours.
  • While dough is rising, add chopped bacon to a cold skillet. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is rendered and just starting to brown. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel covered plate to drain.
  • Remove all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and reserve for another use. Return skillet to the heat, then add the onion, ½ tsp of the salt and the sugar, and saute until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF
  • In a bowl mix together the sour cream, heavy cream, and eggs, and then whisk together until combined. Add the remaining ½ tsp of salt, the nutmeg, and a few solid cranks of fresh ground pepper.
  • Butter a half baking sheet. Dump the risen dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with flour, and roll it out to a rectangle that is slightly larger than the half baking sheet. Press the dough into the baking sheet, letting the excess hang over the edges.
  • Spread the cooked onions evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the bacon on top of the onions. Carefully pour the sour cream mixture over the entire surface. Don't worry if it is too thick to fill all the nooks and crannies, it will spread out during baking. Once all the toppings and sour cream have been added, fold the dough over the edges to form the crust.
  • Bake the tart for 25-35 minutes until the custard is set, the dough is golden brown, and the top of the bacon and onion mixture is just starting to brown.
    Serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes

This recipe was adapted from the October 1976 issue of Gourmet Magazine and is part of my Gourmet 10/76 Project. Click here to read more!

After Action Report

This recipe was far better than the original recipe that the editors of Gourmet provided to the poor reader in Ohio. The dough was a nice mix of chewy and crisp on the edges, and the onion+bacon+cream combo was magical. The addition of nutmeg made it more like a traditional Quiche Lorraine. Best of all there wasn’t any concern about the bacon being under-cooked as with the original recipe. While hand making a tart-crust of this sort is slightly time consuming, it is well worth the results. This made for excellent leftovers the next day. The modern take definitely wins this round.

1 Comment

  • Bacon Pie – The Insatiable Lens
    March 3, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    […] The good news is that with the benefit of Google, I found a German pie that has bacon and onions and is in my opinion, much better. Up next: Zwiebelkuchen. […]

    Reply

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