Tarte a l’ oignon (Onion pie)

” Com’on Nathalie! Knead it like a woman! ”
I can remember my mother’s voice repeatedly yelling at me as I was trying to make a pie crust! ” Met fanm sou ou!” (which literally means ” Put a woman on you” -_- ) . It’s a term that is often used by mature women in my country to young adolescents becoming women.
A translation of it would sound more like ” Suck it up! you’re a woman!” or “Do it with vigor! ” . OK   it’s starting to sound weird but what can I say? It’s the best way I can put it .
My mother believes that a woman is the strongest thing alive and she’d always say that I was a soft one, at least with my hands! She would constantly remind me to put a lot of vigor and passion in my hands when I’d be combing my hair, scrubbing the dishes, washing my clothes or cooking/baking. Unfortunately, I enjoyed precision, delicacy and softness. I guess that ‘s why I’m so fond of art and sculpting.

Well, today, I smiled while kneading my pie crust and I tried to ” met fanm sou mwen” 🙂
I’m sure maman would be proud.

Onion pie is of European origin, Alsace to be precise. Yet it is one of those recipes that have been and stayed in Haitian families for quite a while. ’til this day I come across a few Haitian individuals whose taste buds have yet to savor the onion pie.
My mother used to bake that pie since I was younger .
Every 1st communion, christening or wedding is bound to have the famous onion pie on the menu.
So, how about you try this at home and you let me know if it’s not the best thing yet you’ve ever tasted 🙂

This recipe is a simple one but because it has more than one preparation included in it, it might take a while. It literally took me  2 hours to prepare this dish.

Pie Crust Ingredients
2 cups 1/2 of flour
1 cup (16 tbsp) of butter
1 tsp of salt
4 tbsp of cold water
1 egg yolk

Bechamel sauce ingredients
1 cup of evaporated milk
2 tbsp of flour
1 tbsp 1/2 of solid, cold butter
salt, pepper, garlic, parsley at will

Onion preparation ingredients
4 white onions
7-8 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp of butter

Directions
You might want to start preparing the pie crust first since you will need to store it in the fridge after (at least) 1 hour.
First, prepare a nice clean and even surface.
Arrange your 2 cups 1/2 of flour like a volcano (Fig.1)
Cut (or arrange) your butter  into little cubes and place  them inside of your “volcano”.
Knead the dough with the butter. Going from the  most outer to the most inner. It should look a little bristle .
Add one tbsp of water at a time. The water should help the dough stick to itself (consistency-wise).  (Fig.2)
The less it sticks together, the more water you should add.
Form 2 disks (Fig.3) with your dough and wrap each one of them inside of a plastic wrap. Leave in your refrigerator for at least 1 hour!

Fig.1

Fig.2

Fig.3 ( I didn’t have any plastic wrap, so I put the disks inside of ziploc bags)

Now you can start preparing your onions. Cut your onions like thin fries. (Fig.4) . Don’t worry about the quantity since they will eventually decrease in size as they cook.
Take a deep pan and put it onto a low  fire. Pour in your olive oil and add butter . This part is very important –> DO NOT LET YOUR OIL+BUTTER FRY! You should not hear the sizzling sound.
Add your onions into the mix and use a wooden spoon to stir ever so gently the onions.
Keep stirring gently without stopping.
Your onions should have a translucent appearance(Fig.5)  and should not stick to the pan. At this point you’ll start realizing that they have started decreasing in size. This should take no more than 30 mns.

Fig.4

Fig.5

To prepare your bechamel sauce, you need a small pot. Pour your milk into the pot and stir it until it reaches ebullition.
Add your butter into another pot (a little bit bigger and deeper). Again, use very low fire as you STiR! Gradually, you will add your flour into the butter. It will thicken. Make sure you mix the butter and flour well. Do not wait too long before you pour the hot milk into the mixture. You will obtain a thick bechamel sauce. (Fig.6)
You can now add your seasonings as you wish. The sauce will seem small. Don’t worry! Add your onions to the sauce. (Fig.7)

Fig.6

Fig.7

Now you can prepare your 9″ pie pan. Coat the bottom of the pan lightly with butter. Use a tbsp of flour to add an extra coat over the butter (Fig.8). The butter helps the flour stick to the pan. This will allow for your pie to NOT stick to the pan.  You can now preheat your oven at 350F
Fig.8

Take out one disk of dough from the fridge. (Fig.9a) Use your rolling pin to flatten and create the base of your pie. (Fig.9b)
Cut out any excess dough that may go past the rim of the pan.
You will then pour your mixture of onion bechamel into the pan. (Fig.10)
And with the other disk you can create your own pattern or layout for the surface of the pie. I chose to make an old fashion grid! (Fig.11)
Once you are done with your fun little design, put the egg yolk inside of a little container. Use a brush to coat the top of the pie crust with the yolk. This will give a golden appearance to your pie (Fig.12)

Fig.9a
Fig.9b
Fig.10

Fig.11

Fig.12

Your pie is now ready to be popped into the oven! It should be ready in about 30mns.
Bon appetit!

Due to several requests, I’ve decided to upload a video on how to make a pie crust.
I’m not speaking in it since what you will see is exactly matching the description of the directions up there.
It’s less than 3:00 mns. Enjoy!

 

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