Zwiebelkuchen is an onion tart that is perfect for fall. It is moist, with a mild onion flavor, custardy textured filling and a buttery crust. It is typically served at wine festivals in the southern regions of Germany.

I used to help harvest grapes in the vineyards around Beilstein. I remember walking down the steep rows of the vineyard in the early morning fog and crisp fall air, cutting the grapes off the vines but also picking up the ones that had fallen unless they were spoiled. It was cold! And we were happy to hurry back up the hill and slap our bodies with our arms to warm up. A beautiful memory.

In return, my family was given some “Federweiser” which is a fermented, freshly pressed grape juice from white grapes. It’s most commonly called “Neuer Wein” in Germany and it has about 4% alcohol content but can have as much as 10%. It has a natural fizz and a refreshing taste. It can’t be stored for long, as it rapidly ferments. As a kid, I got to have a little sip on the first day... when it was just grape juice with a fizz and maybe a little buzz too. It goes perfectly with Zwiebelkuchen and I wish I could find a way to get it here in America.

For the Dough

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour (300g)
  • 1 1/2 sticks of very cold butter
  • one egg
  • salt
  • ice water

For the Filling

  • 2 pounds of onions
  • 4-5 slices of bacon (about 5 ounces) 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • one container of crème fraîche (7.5 oz)
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • caraway seeds
  • salt and pepper

To Prepare the Dough:
Pour the flour onto a clean, dry work surface. Form a mound and form a well in the top of the mound. Crack the egg into the well of the mound. Add the salt and butter to the mound. I like to grate my ice cold butter on a box grater. This is just as fast as cutting it into little bits and it makes it easy to quickly incorporate all of the ingredients into a dough. Kneed with your hands, add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water to make the dough nice and smooth, but not sticky. Wrap in plastic and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 

To Prepare the Filling:
Peel the onions and cut them into medium fine cubes. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and fry the onions on low heat until they are nicely translucent but not brown. Set aside to cool. Slice the bacon into 1/4" pieces and fry them for 3-4 minutes until not quite crisp. Set aside. 

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 12" to 13" cake pan with a removable rim. Flour your work surface and roll out the dough so that it is large enough for the cake pan you are using. Here’s a trick: roll the dough onto your rolling pin to transfer it to the cake pan. Trim off the excess around the rim and poke the crust all over with a fork. 

Combine the eggs, creme fraîche and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together and season with salt, pepper and caraway seeds. Add the sautéed onions to the egg mixture, mix well, and pour the mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle the bacon on top. 

Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the Zwiebelkuchen cool just slightly before cutting it. Serve hot with a glass of wine or a Schorle (wine mixed with sparkling water). 


download and print recipe