Shrek (2001): Onions Tart

Peeling Back the Layers: Exploring Shrek’s Onion Metaphor in the 2001 Animated Classic

Shrek is an animated movie that has captured the hearts of both children and adults around the world. Among the many memorable scenes in the movie, one that stands out is when Shrek, the lovable ogre, teaches Donkey about the layers of an onion. This scene inspired the creation of a delicious dish, the onion tart. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the onion tart, its history, and how it relates to “Shrek.”

What is an Onion Tart? An onion tart is a savoury pastry made with a base of shortcrust pastry and a filling of caramelized onions, eggs, and cream. It originated in France, where it is known as “tarte à l’oignon.” The dish is often served as an appetizer or a light lunch and is a popular comfort food in many countries.

The Connection to “Shrek”: In “Shrek,” the main character elaborates on this metaphor, saying that “Ogres are like onions…we both have layers!” He goes on to explain that just as an onion has layers that must be peeled away to reveal its true nature, so too do people have layers that must be peeled away to reveal their true selves. It’s a poignant moment in the movie that serves to remind viewers that there is often more to a person than what meets the eye.

This onion metaphor also ties in with the overall theme of the movie, which is all about accepting people for who they are, no matter how different they may seem. Throughout the film, Shrek and his friends encounter a variety of characters, from a talking donkey to a dragon to a princess who turns out to be not quite what she seems. But in the end, they all learn to accept and appreciate each other’s differences, just as Shrek learns to accept and appreciate the various layers of his own personality.

While the onion metaphor may seem like a small moment in the grand scheme of the movie, it’s actually a very important one that encapsulates the themes and messages of the film as a whole. And of course, it’s also a memorable and oft-quoted scene that has become a beloved part of pop culture. So the next time you peel an onion, take a moment to remember Shrek’s wise words about the many layers of life.

How to make a tasty Onions Tart

Course: DessertDifficulty: *

Shrek explains to Donkey how an onion and Ogres are similar. Make onions stand out with this simple, tasty but impressive tart – the onions are cooked for a long time so they’re tender and sweet



  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Prick all over with a fork, then put in the fridge to chill.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Ideally, it needs to be about 20cm across the base, 25cm across the top and 5cm deep. Add the onion halves, cut-side up, and fry gently for 10 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise, turning them over gently halfway through. Add the sherry and rosemary sprigs, season well, and then cover with a lid from another pan or some foil. Transfer to the oven for 20 minutes until the onions are soft.
  • Take the pastry out of the fridge and drape it over the pan, tucking in the edges around the softened onions. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out carefully onto a wooden board or platter. Season and slice to serve.

Recipe Video


  • Cook the onions up to a day in advance. Leave them in the pan covered with cling film, then add the pastry and bake.
  • The character of Shrek was originally going to be voiced by Chris Farley, but after his untimely death, Mike Myers took over the role. However, some of Farley’s dialogue had already been recorded, so if you listen carefully, you can hear his voice in a few scenes.
  • The filmmakers originally wanted to use a song by Smash Mouth for the opening credits, but the band initially turned them down. However, after hearing more about the movie, they changed their minds and ended up providing the iconic song “All Star.”
  • The character of Donkey was actually based on Eddie Murphy’s own personality, and many of his lines were improvised on the spot.
  • The movie features a number of fairy tale creatures, including the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf, and the Gingerbread Man. In fact, the Gingerbread Man’s torture scene is one of the movie’s most memorable and hilarious moments.
  • The movie was a huge box office success, grossing over 4 million worldwide. It was also critically acclaimed, winning the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re definitely missing out on one of the funniest and most heartwarming animated movies of all time!