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A simple, creamy onion pie

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There’s great beauty in Vertamae Smart Grosvenor’s one-step recipe. It’s intentionally simple, with few ingredients and lean direction, echoing Smart-Grosvenor’s approach in the kitchen. “I just do it by vibration,” she wrote in her 1970 cookbook Vibration Cooking, or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl. Cook until the blind-baked crust is golden brown and the custard is just set; add ham or cheese or herbs before cooking; or chill it and then dig in the next day when the custard is especially creamy. As Smart-Grosvenor writes: “Do your thing your way.”

Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor’s Onion Pie

Recipe from Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor
Adapted by Tejal Rao


• 3 large onions, finely sliced

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 2 tablespoons neutral oil, preferably peanut oil

Salt and black pepper

• 2 tablespoons flour

• 3 eggs

• 3/4 cup cream

• 1 (9-inch) pie crust, blind-baked


Sauté onions in butter and peanut oil until they are tender and translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour, and cook for just a few more minutes, then turn off the heat. Whisk the eggs with the cream, and mix well with the onions, then add the mixture to a partly blind-baked pie crust.

Bake at 350 until the egg mixture is set, about 30 minutes.

Total time: 1 hour, serves 8.

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