On the 11th Day of Christmas my true love gave to meeeee a slice of Zwiebelkuchen! Trying singing/saying that 3 times as fast as you can! And you should - think of it as warm-up exercises for your mouth before you get down to the serious business of eating it. The mister cannot pronounce it - he can barely say his own name and regularly manages to mangle every word in the English language with more than 3 syllables...but he is smart enough to know when to shut up and eat...if only he would do it more often. I, being kind and benevolent, tried to help him...Zweeeee-Bell-Kook-In...and he said...SaWeeblahquicket...so I tried again...Zweeeee-Bell-Kook-In...and he said...SpBeamBeeeeQuackEr. So I gave up and told him he could call this German Pizza and he said...Zwielbelkuchen! Then I slapped him. Kidding, I would never slap the mister and risk injury to my eating arm.
This recipe was featured in Pacific Magazine along with a story about how this is the perfect dish to share with friends on a cold winter day...you know, after a day of shushing on the slopes...or ice skating on the pond...or cross-country skiing through the woods...or a day of schlepping through the mall loaded down with shopping bags while praying you can find your car that was parked on the other side of Egypt before the newly formed blisters on your feet burst...yes, this is the perfect meal to come home to. Do think of it as a German pizza, with a nice chewy yeast crust covered with the most wonderful combination of toppings and DO invite your friends over to share - this is meant to be shared. Sit, eat, talk and linger over this...it will make your feet stop hurting. Truly.
After you look over the recipe you might be thinking there are just too many steps involved...yes, you have to make the dough and let it rise but if you make it in a food processor you'll spend about 3 minutes doing so. Then while the dough rises you cook the onions and bacon - no big deal there...and whipping up the topping is a cinch. At this point you can either bake it or put it in the refrigerator and bake it when you come down from the Alps/Nordstrom...and I promise you, this is worth the time. It's different, not your usual run-of-the-mill fare, and it's good, dang good...I liked it so much that I'm giving it 5 dangs...yep, it's that good.
Zwiebelkuchen - Adapted from Melissa Kronenthal/Pacific Magazine, December 2009
For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup lukewarm water
For the topping:
1 lb. bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 lbs. yellow onions (about 4 medium-large)
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 cups sour cream
Freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper to taste
To make the dough: In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients and process with the dough blade until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 2 to 3 minutes. *Remove the dough, shape into a ball and place into a bowl greased with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2-hours. (If you don't have a food processor combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the oil and warm water. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and dust with some of the remaining flour. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Follow the directions above from the asterisk.)
To make the topping: While the dough is rising, in a large skillet over medium heat cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the fat is rendered out and the bacon is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Put the onions in the food processor and process until pureed and there are no large bits (if you are not using a food processor you can use a blender or chop the onions into 1/4-inch pieces by hand). Pour the pureed onions (which will be a bit liquidy) into the bacon grease and add the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Saute over medium heat for about 25 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized, soft and the liquid has evaporated. You will have an onion "paste" left in the pan. Remove from heat and cool completely.
In a medium bowl stir together the sour cream, eggs, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) and black pepper to taste (I added about 3/4 teaspoon pepper).
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet or jellyroll pan (12x17-inches) with parchment paper. With floured hands, stretch and pat the dough out to cover the entire sheet, pressing it up to form a ridge around the edge. Spread the cooled onions over the dough. Sprinkle with the cooked bacon. Pour the sour cream mixture over the top and spread to distribute evenly. At this point you can refrigerate the Zwiebelkuchen, just cover with plastic wrap. When you are ready to bake allow to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
When oven is hot, carefully slide pan onto the center rack and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is firm and the dough is golden. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares. Serves 6 to 8.
"My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors." ~ Bette Midler
One year ago today: French Cinnamon Buns
Two years ago today: Amish Baked Oatmeal