Simple, yet elegant, dignified and proud. Much like the vibe in her hometown of Strasbourg, this is how I remember my grandmother Greta.
Alsace-Lorraine, this very special region in eastern France (on the border of Germany), has been under French control since 1946. However, over the years, France and Germany have repeatedly alternated control over the region. The result of all this political turmoil is a very unique blending of the French and German cultures. Charming architecture reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel combines with French language and sensibilities.
Nowhere is this mélange more striking than in the food. Set against the backdrop of a beautiful wine country producing seven different grapes (Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat d’Alsace, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer), Alsatian cuisine incorporates rich foods balanced by the unique flavors of its wines.
One of my favorite culinary discoveries was this hearty Tarte a l’Oignon, a filling mixture of bacon, onions, eggs and cream encased in a beautiful pie crust. Paired with a Riesling or Gewurtztraminer, this recipe perfectly exemplifies how simple ingredients can be elevated.
Enjoy this savory pie recipe with or without the bacon and remember that once you learn the basics of pie crusts here, you can make any pie you like – sweet or savory!
TARTE a L’OIGNON
1 ½ cups AP flour
¼ cup cold butter
¼ cup shortening
½ cup cold water
- Place flour on a cold work surface
- Cut cold butter and shortening into flour with a bench scraper
- Create a well in the center of the flour
- Gradually add cold water into the well and blend with the flour until it becomes a dough and holds its shape
- Refrigerate in plastic wrap for 30 minutes
- Roll out dough on a floured surface to fit a 9 inch greased pie dish
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 tbsp butter
- 7 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 eggs
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400* F
- Render bacon in a pan until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Remove bacon fat and add butter
- Once melted, add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for approximately 15 minutes until soft
- Off the heat, mix in flour, cream, bacon and nutmeg
- Add eggs one at a time and mix well in between
- Pour mixture into pie crust
- Bake for 40 minutes until top is browned