Swabian Cuisine – Onion Cake {Zwiebelkuchen}

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It’s Zwiebelkuchen season here in Germany. Same as the Schupfnudeln, here in the South it can be found at all kinds of events like our wine festivals. It’s usually served with a glass of what we call New Wine, which is basically grape must – wine in the making.

Both these delicacies are often served at locations we call Besen – which literally means broom but in fact is a private location (e.g. your yard or your living room) that people open to the public and where they serve hearty Swabian food and New Wine.

At home or away, Zwiebelkuchen is something you’d have as a quick lunch, maybe with a salad if you’re having a sit-down lunch.

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I’ve only made Zwiebelkuchen once before and didn’t like the dough. I like trying Zwiebelkuchen from different bakeries and food stalls, and the other week I had one I especially liked. The dough was puff pastry, a little thicker on the bottom than on the sides, and I found it delicious. Zwiebelkuchen is most often made with either yeast dough or short crust pastry. It also originally contains bacon but these days you have a choice of with or without bacon at most places. I went for the vegetarian version here because the puff pastry one I had at the bakery didn’t contain bacon and I liked it that way.

Zwiebelkuchen is very much like a quiche inside. I don’t have a family recipe for it so looked online to make sure I remembered the basics correctly from when I made it before. Most online versions contained Sauerrahm, which is kind of like sour cream but more tart with a firmer consistency, but you’ll also find recipes with cream or a mix of both; I decided to stick with sour cream only.

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My version turned out really nice, I would make this again exactly the same way. I definitely prefer puff pastry to any other dough with this; the onions turned out soft, and the caraway seeds – a must, by the way, in this recipe, so don’t skip this! – are discernible but not dominant.

Zwiebelkuchen is normally made in a 24 cm cake tin, but last week on my Friday off I went to the market, bought the onions and couldn’t resist going to one of my favourite little shops that sells all kinds of cute stuff, like the pink heart shaped pie dish you see in the pictures; I decided on the spot to make a mini version of the Zwiebelkuchen in that dish when I got home.

If you want to make a normal sized Zwiebelkuchen just double the amounts from below recipe.

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Zwiebelkuchen

350 g onions olive oil 100 g sour cream 1 – 1½ tsp salt ½ tsp caraway seeds, roughly crushed 1 tbsp flour 1 egg puff pastry

Finely chop the onions, then gently fry in some olive oil until they’re starting to get colour.

Meanwhile, mix together sour cream, salt, caraway seeds, flour and egg, and stir until smooth.

Lighly oil pie dish or cake tin and line with puff pastry, including the sides.

Once the onions are soft and nicely coloured, mix into the other ingredients, then pour onto the puff pastry, right to the top, and create an even surface.

Bake on the middle shelf at 180°C / 350°F for 35 minutes. [Note: use a 24 cm cake tin might take longer to bake!]

Serve warm (not hot) or cold.

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