Tarte a la Choucroute (Recipe)

When we visited Colmar in France I made a photo of a deli storefront window because all the things on display there looked so delicious. Back at home I zoomed in to identify some of the offerings – among them many quiches.

One was labelled “Quiche Munster et Choucroute” – Choucroute is Sauerkraut, and Munster is the very smelly cheese (not to be mixed up with the usually bland & boring American “MΓΌnster” cheese …sorry!). That got me curious, and scouring the interwebz unsurprisingly provided plenty of recipes. I ended up mixing some of the ideas and instructions into a result that seems to be rather likeable. πŸ™‚ I made my own “Tarte a la Choucroute” a couple of times now and brought it along to gatherings at friends, and it turned out to be quite popular.

I’m calling it a “Tarte” (pie) because I’m using my (higher) spring form instead of the quiche form. Also, doesn’t Choucroute sound quite fancy, versus Sauerkraut? πŸ™‚

The following recipe fills my spring form about halfway (see picture), which is still more than my quiche form, and I think it just works better this way. The dish can be enjoyed hot/warm or cold. After a couple of attempts I can honestly say that it’s even better the day after making it.

So, without further ado, here’s my recipe. Amounts are metric or by feeling, this is a really easy dish and not much can go wrong.

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 200 grams of flour (whole wheat or white, doesn’t matter, I prefer whole wheat)
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 80ml milk
  • a pinch of salt

Yes, that’s probably not the proper pastry dough for a quiche/tarte, but it’s super easy to make and tastes good. πŸ™‚

For the filling:

  • one jar of Sauerkraut (680g). I buy the Bavarian style Sauerkraut from World Market, which is mild and contains less juice. I tried American Sauerkraut too (I think it was called “Krrrunchy Kraut” or something), it was a bag (970g I think) and works just as well obviously, but it contained far more juice.
  • 1/2 small onion, if you like that (Shuwen does)
  • pancetta or fine bits of bacon if you want
  • “a handful” (100g maybe, or whatever amount you like) of tasty grated cheese. I like using Gruyere or Comte, a sharp/aged Cheddar might work too.
  • a teaspoon of cumin or caraway seeds if you like the taste (we totally do and it isn’t very dominant)
  • 3 large eggs (depends on the size of the eggs and your preference for the consistency; add a 4th egg if you want it more “solid” after baking, or if you’re using more Sauerkraut)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Creme Fraiche (or Mexican table cream, or Karoun Labne, even sour creme might work)
  • 100ml milk
  • salt & pepper
  • sweet paprika powder if you want (adds nice color and sweetness, if you’re using American Sauerkraut it may be a plus)

Method

Begin with the dough. Just mix all the ingredients. It’s rather oily, so I mix with a tablespoon instead of using my hands. Works fine. You can use the dough immediately when it’s warm, but it’s more difficult (easily falls apart). I cool it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using it. Easier to handle then.

Coat your spring from with a little bit of olive oil, then powder it with some 1-2 tablespoons of flour. Put it in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C (375F/175C for convection).

Caramelize the onion. Begin with roasting it in a pan with some olive oil. When it turns brown, add a little bit of water and roast it more. It becomes sweet that way, and the roasted aroma is a nice touch. When the water is evaporated, let the roasted onions cool down.

Thoroughly drain the Sauerkraut. First I just put the entire jar into a strainer with a pot underneath and let gravity work for 30 minutes. After that, I use my hands to squeeze out more juice. The juice is delicious and healthy, I drink it. (I didn’t manage to drink all the juice from the American Sauerkraut – honestly, it’s too sour!)

Grate the cheese.

Mix the Sauerkraut with the grated cheese, roasted onion and caraway or cumin seed. I use my hands for that, simply works best.

Mix the eggs, creme fraiche, 100ml milk, salt & pepper & sweet paprika powder.

Get your spring form and the dough from the fridge. I roll the dough between two sheets of parchment (baking) paper. Works like a charm! I put the bottom of the spring form on the dough, upside down, remove the rest of the dough and turn it over. Then I assemble the spring form and roll the rest of the dough again, cut it into stripes, and use that for the side of the spring form (dough will stick nicely to it, don’t worry). Just thoroughly press all the dough-seams together, it’ll be fine.

Put the Sauerkraut mixture into the spring form, evenly spreading it, then gently pour the egg mixture over it. If it doesn’t cover the Sauerkraut all the way you can a) don’t worry or b) top it off with a little milk, I found that it doesn’t really matter. πŸ™‚

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes (when the tips of Sauerkraut sticking out become dark brown it’s good). When you take it out of the oven let it cool for 10 minutes, then cut the pie into slices with a very sharp knife.

Serve with some leafy-green-stuff salad, or eat it without anything else. It’s so yummy, I want a slice now!

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3 Comments

    1. Haha, thanks Shane. πŸ™‚ Yes, you should try the recipe. The little city of Colmar is pretty, but I’m not a good street photographer. I have some more images to share, but they’re more about buildings and scenery. πŸ™‚

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