Saturday, 13 August 2016

Retro Recipe: German onion tart

 By: Mrs Robot

In my adventures in vintage, I rarely make it as far as the 1980s. However, it's a jolly interesting decade food-wise, and the recent BBC documentary series The 80s With Dominic Sandbrook made me reach for one of our inherited cookbooks, Mary Berry's Complete Television Cookbook. Sandbrook went on and on about Delia Smith in the first programme in the series, but we're definitely on Team Berry here at Casa Mechanica.

You can tell Mary Berry's Complete Television Cookbook is from the 1980s. In the section on kitchen equipment, it states, 'Microwave ovens are a luxury, but if you can run to one you will find it marvellously useful.' Nowadays most people see them as pretty much essential, and look at us askance when Mr Robot and I say we don't have one. The recipes don't feel fantastically 80s - there's nothing particularly nouveau - though the Asian recipes are more adventurous and feel much more authentic than the ones I've got in British cookbooks from earlier decades.

The recipe I decided to make, German Onion Tart, is somewhere between a quiche and a pizza. Pizza, because of the yeast-leavened base, quiche for the filling of eggs and onion, topped off with bacon. The base actually seemed easier to make than pizza dough, as it didn't need anywhere near as much kneading. I was impressed by how quickly it came together, though I rolled it out too thinly when I assembled the tart and it cooked too fast, leaving me with a darker pastry-bread case than I'd expected.
The filling is very economical, with loads of onions but only three eggs and a sprinkling of bacon. Okay, there's half a tub of double cream in there too. But still. It's very substantial and mostly onions, which are cheap in autumn. The recipe also includes an optional teaspoon of caraway seeds, which I put in as if you're going to make something that's supposed to be German, it might as well taste properly German.

The end result? Highly edible. I probably had the oven too high as the filling wasn't completely set when the case was cooked, but because the onions are softened in advance it was all perfectly edible. 'Carbonara pie' was Mr Robot's verdict. I'll give this another go at some point, perhaps replacing the bacon with sliced frankfurters. Good for autumn evenings.