Zweibelkuchen (Pennsylvania Dutch Onion Pie)

Zweibelkuchen translates to “onion cake”/”tart” in German, but it’s also known in PA Dutch kitchens as “Onion Pie”.  Zwiebelkuchen is related to the Black Forest region of Germany. It is tradition that it is prepared at the beginning of fall, after the bountiful summer crop of onions come in and is usually served as a lunch dish, but it’s a great dish year ’round.

This traditional German dish ranges in size and shape depending on the cook (and in Germany, the area in which it is served); some are flat and cut into squares with a thinner layer of the topping (like this version), others are thicker and deeper and often made in a spring-form pan.

No matter the size, shape, or depth,  the rich and buttery caramelized onions and savory bacon filling is consistent across versions.

The German immigrants who became known as “Pennsylvania Dutch (“Deutsch” in German) enjoyed this dish in the motherland and re-created it in their new homes in America. 

Zweibelkuchen is at its best when served lukewarm. Use good quality bacon if you can get it to make zweibelkuchen.


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Zweibelkuchen ( Pa. Dutch Onion Pie)

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Appetizers, EntreesCuisine: Pa. Dutch, GermanDifficulty: Intermediate

A flat tart layered with a sour cream, onion, and bacon topping; best served lukewarm.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast

  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • Sour Cream Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • Topping
  • 1 onion

  • 1/3 cup chopped bacon

Directions

  • Add the yeast and sugar to a mixing bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a microwaveable measuring cup and add the milk to warm up. Add the milk mixture to the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. The yeast should become frothy.
  • Add the salt and flour a little at a time while mixing with stand mixer or by hand.  Once all the flour is added, dough should be elastic, but not too sticky. Add more flour as needed to get a tacky consistency.
  • Cover the dough with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise, about 1 hour.
  • In the meantime in a small bowl, prepare the filling by whisking together the sour cream, egg, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Thinly slice the onion, chop the bacon if using, and place into a saute pan, reduce heat to low and saute about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F when dough is doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface and place onto a 9 x 13 x 1-inch pan (quarter-size sheet pan) lined with parchment paper.
  • Spread the sour cream filling over the dough using a spatula almost to the edges, then top with the onions/bacon mixture and extra black pepper.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until onions start to brown on the top and the crust is crispy and golden brown.
  • Best served lukewarm.
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