Zwiebelwähe (Swiss Onion Tart)

Onions are growing easily in Switzerland’s climate and they’ve been an important part of Swiss cuisine for hundreds of years. Every November, the Ziebelemärit (onion market) takes place in Bern’s old town where, amongst other things, more than 50 metric tons of onions in artistically woven braids are being sold. In Basel, onion tart is traditionally eaten after the Morgestraich which marks the start of the Basel carnival. In Switzerland onions are also commonly used in winter for colds, either drunk as a liquid or cut up next to the bed to calm coughs and keep blocked noses open. When cooked, onions turn sweet and make a delicious tart.

Recipe

  • Pie crust (recipe here) or shop bought pie crust (Kuchenteig) for a round tin 30cm in diameter
  • 50g (1.8oz) butter
  • 700g (1.1 pounds) onions
  • 4 eggs
  • 2dl (6.8 fl oz) full fat cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Method

Finely chop the onions and gently fry them in 40g (1.4oz) of butter while stirring continuously for about 15 minutes. Only use low to medium heat – the onions should turn soft and transparent, not brown and fried. Let the onions cool off a little.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream, eggs, salt and pepper.

Prepare a round tin 30cm (12 in) in diameter with a baking parchment and the dough. Poke some holes into the dough with a fork – this will make the crust crunchier.

Spread the onions evenly on the dough and pour over the cream egg mixture. Spread the remaining butter on top, cut in small pieces.

Bake the tart at 220 C at the lowest rack for about 35 minutes until the dough and cream mixture look browned.

The tart is tastiest when still slightly warm.

All Swiss tart recipes at a glance

 

8 Replies to “Zwiebelwähe (Swiss Onion Tart)”

  1. Hi Fran, just stopping in to say hello. I’m a Swiss living in Western Australia and although I have the whole collection of Betty Bossi on my bookshelf, it’s great to see a blog dedicated to Swiss food. Wahe is one of my favourites, so will be trying this recipe very soon.

    1. Little Zurich Kitchen says: Reply

      Hello Nina, thank you for getting in touch! I love Western Australia, it’s my favourite part of the continent. Will check out your blog now! Fran

  2. weinstock roger says: Reply

    You omitted the bacon. Can’t make a onion pie without. Born and raised in Basel. Trained chef at the Duc Berthold in Friburg.

    1. Little Zurich Kitchen says: Reply

      Hello Roger, I disagree. Onion tarts are eaten not only in Basel but in many other parts of the country too. I was born and raised in Thurgau and my family never added bacon. But bacon is certainly an added bonus and popular in many parts of the country.

  3. This is Judy from Las Vegas NV USA. Last year I had a Swiss exchange student who introduced me to Swiss cooking. Even though she’s home now I try to eat clean. I tried this recipe and it was delicious. One time asparagus was added. Mmmmmm good. Do have to admit we had bacon on the side.

    1. Little Zurich Kitchen says: Reply

      Aspargus in Swiss tarts is delicious indeed 🙂 We also often add ham instead of bacon to our tarts, for example in the leek tart (see recipe). Take care!

  4. Bettina Douglas says: Reply

    Hi Fran, I am Anglo-Swiss – mother from Canton Zurich – living in Australia for many years. In the late 1960s we lived in Basel-land for a while. My recollection is that tarts were often a Friday thing and Catholic observance was much stricter back then. So whether a cheese or onion tart, it would not have included speck.

    1. Little Zurich Kitchen says: Reply

      Bettina, yes that’s a very good point which I forgot about. I grew up in a strict Catholic family in Thurgau and we mostly ate tarts (Wähen) on Friday (Friday was called ‘Wähentag’ in Switzerland) and of course they couldn’t include meat. A good point indeed.

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