Zwiebelwahe (Onion and Cheese Tart)

Serves 6.

Ingredients

Pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch bits
  • 2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch bits
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 pound imported Swiss Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions

In a large, chilled bowl, combine flour, salt, chilled butter and the lard or shortening.  Use your fingers to rub the flour and fat together until you’ve formed coarse meal.  Do not over-mix or the dough will become oily.  Pour 3 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture, then toss lightly.  Gather the dough into a ball.  If the dough is too crumbly add more water by drops.  Dust the dough ball with a little flour and wrap in wax paper.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Use a pastry brush to spread the tablespoon of softened butter over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch fluted quiche pan.

On a lightly floured work surface, pat the dough into a circle about 1-inch thick.  Dust with additional flour and roll it out from the center to about 1-inch from pastry’s edge.  Gently lift the dough and turn it.  Roll out again in like manner.  Keep doing this until the dough is 1/8-inch thick and 13 or 14-inches in diameter.  Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the quiche pan.  Press it down into the pan and trim any excess dough.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press it over the bottom and sides of the dough.  Bake on the middle shelf for 10 minutes.  Use a small knife and prick the pastry wherever it has puffed up to deflate.

Return the dough to the oven for another 10 minutes to brown.  Remove and let cool.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook the onions in oil until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the paprika and remove from heat.  Place the Gruyere and Emmentaler in a bowl and toss together until combined.  Spread half of the cheese in the pastry shell and top with the onions.  Cover with the remaining cheese.

Beat the eggs, cream, milk together.  Season with salt and nutmeg.  Pour slowly over the cheese in the shell.  Bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 minutes.  Increase the heat to 425 and bake 15 minutes more.  The filling will puff and brown.  To test, insert a knife in the center to see if it comes out clean.  Serve hot.