Sunday, November 29, 2009


Golden Onion Pie

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of the year in the United States. Leaves on deciduous trees have truly turned and have all but given way to winter, biting winds require an extra layer or two, and candlelight beaming through foggy windows signal welcome and comfort. These are the images I have of my many Thanksgiving celebrations in southern California with my angelheart Eric, our family and dearest friends. Now that we live in my home country, New Zealand, we have to adapt the tradition to our antipodean lifestyle. This year, it has got off to a quiet start - just a light summery dinner. Even so, it was important we acknowledged this special time for sharing and gathering in between calls to family.

Of course, we recollected the many great meals we've had at this time of year, not all of which we made ourselves - our family and friends are really good cooks. This really put us in the mood to think about how else we could make a culinary nod to the US over the weekend. Unfortuntely, one of our sources for inspiration, Gourmet magazine, published its last issue this month. (There's no coverage of that in the magazine itself, so I'm not sure if this is a graceful note on which to leave the publishing world, or if the plug was suddenly pulled.) We turned to this final issue for guidance and came up with Golden Onion Pie.

Gourmet writers added a twist to Zwiebelkuchen, which is a German yeasted dough onto which is cooked steamed onions, bacon and caraway seeds. Instead of a plank of dough, this twist is a pie-like creation, sweet with caramelised onions, tamed with sour cream, though I added yoghurt and a bit of cream instead.

Epicurious has a catalogue of all Gourmet's recipes now, so it is not lost forever. The recipe for Golden Onion Pie can be found here.

We swapped out one brown onion for a red one to underscore our nod to fall in the US, the beautiful mingling of bronze and red. The dough is very easy to work with and can be left overnight, whether covered in a lightly oiled bowl or covered and lightly dusted with flour to slowly rise in the fridge. It stretches well and behaves very well - it also helps that it is muggy here in Auckland, so we didn't have to worry so much about draughts. Overall, the pie is sweet and substantial, symbolic, really, of Thanksgiving (putting aside the difficult task of reconciling the joy of finding a new home and the crimes committed on which successful colonisation was dependent). This was our mellow way of giving thanks, to finding each other, to being together, to having healthy family and friends, to having shared many a lovely memory.

The only bitter note, for us, is that we could not celebrate with family and friends in the States. At least we were able to build on the tradition of turning to Gourmet, even if it will now be absent from magazine racks all over the world - I only hope, of course, that the many talented contributors find worthwhile enterprises through which they can share their cooking talents and views on food trends and food politics.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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