When the first line of the recipe you're about to make reads "Take one kilogram of onions, peeled and thinly sliced." you know there's going to be trouble. Well OK, I
know there's going to be trouble. You see, onions and I have a somewhat rocky relationship. I adore them, but, alas, they seldom return my affections and seem to delight in taunting me from beginning to end.
One kilogram - that's about 2.2 pounds, or approximately 12 small onions! And I prefer to slice by hand rather than letting my elderly food processor (and I'm not talking about Mr. M here) do the job. Short of wearing ski goggles while I work, I still haven't come up with a way to prevent those little devils from doing a number on my oh-so-senstive eyes. And believe me, I've tried everything. By the time I've finished slicing and dicing I look like hell. My eyes are red, puffy and streaming and my make-up is ruined. I tell you, if you've got something to cry about, do it while you're slicing onions and no one will be the wiser.
So why don't I just give up on the relationship? Well, if you're a "from scratch" kind of cook and enjoy making your own German food, wrestling with a big pile of onions is practically manditory at this time of year. That's right, it's Zwiebelkuchen
season. A Zwiebelkuchen
is a type of onion tart made from sour cream or creme fraiche, eggs, diced bacon, caraway seeds and those naughty, naughty onions all spread out on a base of yeast dough. Here is a recipe
similar to the one I used, but be sure to use only half the amount of milk called for in the yeast dough. You can improvise a bit with the ingredients until you get what you like. Check out Charlotte's Zwiebelkuchen
post. She's been indulging since September.
My tart turned out like this
(I left off the caraway seeds because some of us don't care for them.)
I'll mention here that not only do onions make me cry bitter tears, they also do a number on my digestive system. I'm not a picky eater. I'll try almost anything once, but onions just don't agree with me in many ways. Suffice it to say that although Zwiebelkuchen tastes very, very good, a couple of pieces a year do me just fine.
Others will be able to dig in and eat lots and lots and any hardy Germans will tell you the real
reason to make or buy Zwiebelkuchen
is to be able to drink copious amounts of Zwiebelkuchen's
best friend - Federweisser
Also known as Junger Wein or Neuer Wein (young or new wine) in some parts of Germany, Federweisser
is a fermenting grape must that increases in alcohol content over several days, going from very sweet and bubbly to somewhat sour, finally reaching about 9.5%. This wine doesn't have a long shelf life and should be consumed soon after purchase. Since the fermentation gases would make sealed bottles explode, the bottle caps are only put on loosely, so store this stuff upright unless you want a sticky mess. More here
We bought three kinds of Federwiesser
to try this year - rosé, red and white.
The label on the bottle of white tells us that the fermentation process takes 3 to 8 days and can be slowed down by refrigeration. It also reminds us to jolly well store the bottle upright!
I love the label on the red Roter Sauser
. Looks like the little cherub may have been imbibing himself.
So if Zwiebelkuchen
alone makes my innards go crazy, what does Zwiebelkuchen and Federweisser
together do? Seriously, you don't want to know. Not being a fan, I really only had a tiniest of sips. Can you say instant hangover? What a wimp.
As much as I enjoy celebrating the seasons with traditional food, I guess it's back to dry toast and chamomile tea for the next few days.
Labels: Federweisser, Zwiebelkuchen