From Too Many Chefs -

October 2, 2006
Mexican Onion Pie

We've done a few onion tarts in the past, but I don't think we've done an onion pie. What's the difference? Um. This is pie shaped. Those were tart shaped. Except for the galette which was galette shaped.

Oh, and this one tastes entirely different from those. Of course we've done a lot of onion tart/pie recipes. They're economical, nutritious, and hard to resist. For this one, the onions are still the star. The supporting cast is typically Mexican - tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro, and despite the boldness of their performance, they are strictly support. The onions still carry the pie.

We've seen the crust before on other recipes, and it is still one of the best crusts I've ever baked, and so simple to make.

You will need to locate two Mexican cheeses. In my neck of the woods, there are an increasing number of Mexican markets where you can get authentic or at least authentic-to-American ingredients like the melty chihuahua cheese and crumbly light tasting queso fresco. If you can't find those ingredients, you can use other cheeses, but I'll decline to nominate substitutes because I'm sure if you look hard enough, you'll find a market that carries them.

A big part of this tart is liquid management. The tomatoes and onions both want to give up a lot of liquid. The crust is pretty good at resisting getting soaked, but keep an eye out and don't hesitate to resort to draining or paper towels to remove liquid after cutting to keep the crust in good shape.

Mexican Onion Pie

1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup masa seca
1 stick (8 tablespoons butter), very cold
1/4 cup ice water
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil for brushing

5-6 medium yellow or white onions or a mix of the two, sliced very thin horizontally to form rings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
teaspoon of kosher salt
2 medium jalapenos, deveined, seeded, diced small
1 28 oz. can roasted pomodoro tomatoes, drained well
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
1 cup chunky salsa of your choice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

4 oz chihuahua cheese, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
1 oz queso fresco

Make the crust - Mix the flour, salt, and masa together with a fork. Cut the cold butter into tiny cubes
(about 32 from a single stick) and mash these into the flour with your fingertips. Slowly add the cold water as you mix until you get a dough that hangs together. Gather the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 F

On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a round, slightly larger than a 9" pie plate. If you mess up, don't worry about it. Gather the dough together into a ball and roll it out again. Transfer the crust to pie plate and trim the edges. Patch any holes well and use a fork to poke several holes in the bottom of the crust ("docking" the crust, as it is called). This allows steam to excape during baking and prevents getting a big bubble in the middle of the crust.

Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes. While it is baking, start the onions.

You should have sliced your onions with a mandoline or knife very very thinly into ring-bearing slices. Heat oil in a large skillet until it is hot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir well to separate the rings out from the slices. Sautee over medium heat for 10 minutes until the onions are softened, stirring occasionally to prevent the onions from burning.

Dice your well drained tomatoes and put them in a medium bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, Mexican oregano, and diced jalapenos and mix well.

Add the mix to the sauteeing onions along with the salsa and stir well. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You'll notice a lot of liquid coming out of the tomatoes and onions. Try to cook this off as much as possible.

When the crust is done. Use a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the onion mix to the prebaked crust. Distribute the mix evenly and smooth it down.

Top with the chihuaha cheese evenly. Crumble the queso fresco on top of that. Bake the pie in the 425 F oven for 6-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and maybe taking on a little color. Don't burn the crust, however. If the curst looks like its starting to turn a dark brown, remove the pie from the oven.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cuttign and serving. The pie holds its heat very well.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at October 2, 2006 8:00 AM

How about using a half can of the roasted tomatoes and a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste instead, to cut down on the liquid while not losing too much flavor?

Posted by Sweth on October 3, 2006 at 9:47 AM

It might work, certainly worth a try, but I don't usually keep tomato paste around.

Posted by barrett on October 3, 2006 at 11:26 AM

Or seeding and draining the tomatoes? That way you'd keep the fresh taste while eliminating some of the water...

Posted by Meg in Paris on October 3, 2006 at 12:20 PM

Meg, I cut the tomatoes up and used a slotted spoon to move them into the bowl so I eliminated a lot of the moisture that way.

I should note that after refrigeration, the moisture's not a problem at all. The slices come out without a problem.

Posted by barrett on October 3, 2006 at 2:48 PM

Oops, sorry, skimmed the recipe and didn't see that you mentioned draining them!

Posted by Meg in Paris on October 4, 2006 at 12:34 AM