Despite the success of last years batch of Zimtsterne, I wanted to try a different recipe this year. These are frosted with meringue before baking, and the spices make the flavour really strong.
Somewhere between a pecan pie and a caramel tart, a Bündner Nusstorte has a pastry shell filled with walnuts and caramel. The original recipe didn’t use butter for the pastry, but mine wouldn’t hold together with just an egg, so I added 100g when mixing in the food processor so it was more like a regular pie crust. The pastry’s quite sweet, so if you have any scraps you can cut shapes with a cookie cutter and cover them in white chocolate to make white chocolate sugar cookies.
Just like the Eskimos have 300 words for snow, Germany must have close to that many types of different gingerbread (especially at Christmas). Domiosteine are traditional at Christmas and consist of chocolate coated squares with a soft gingerbread base (the Lebkuchen kind, not the hard, biscuit kind), jelly in the middle, then rum soaked marzipan on top. The marzipan has chunks of chopped walnuts in. This is a fairly time consuming recipe – the gingerbread needs to cool before the other layers are added and the chocolate needs to set before serving.
Stollen is loaded with rum and packed with marzipan and fruit and can be made with or without yeast. This version uses regular flour and baking powder as a raising agent and despite the golden brown crust on the outside, the centre was squishy and moist.
Spiced molasses cookies with chunks of candied peel. These are a cross between a cake and a biscuit – they’re soft, chewy and strongly flavoured with cinnamon.
October means Oktoberfest, and that means apple strudel! This is stuffed with rum, walnuts, raisins, sultanas and apples. Not wanting to waste anything, I even used the peelings to make apple crisps. I’ve made so much custard over the last year I think I’ve reached a level of custard making where I can pretty much wing it. This batch was cinnamon flavoured to compliment the strudel filling. Happy Oktoberfest!
A “Danube Wave” cake is a rich German chocolate cake loaded with cherries. The bottom layer is vanilla sponge, on top of that is chocolate sponge, then a layer of whole black cherries, then vanilla pudding and finally dark chocolate and Nutella. Oddly, this did taste alcoholic despite there no alcohol in it. I was tempted to soak the cherries in Kirsch overnight but decided to stay true to the original recipe and keep the cake non-alcoholic instead. Maybe I’m just so used to cherries being soaked in Kirsch I almost convince myself that everything with cherries is alcoholic.
Zwetschgnkuchen is a German plum cake traditionally made with yeast dough and Zwetschgen, which are Italian plums. Given my limited success with yeast, this cake/tart turned out really well. I had a jar of pears in mulled wine which I’ve been contemplating using in some kind of pie so with a jar of prunes to with them, this recipe was perfect. The dough turns out very soft and buttery after baking which makes it light.
An excuse to use Marzipan which isn’t sitting down with a whole bar of it and a cup of tea. Stollen is a German Christmas tradition – packed with dried fruits, nuts and marzipan. Me and yeast breads don’t have a great track record which is why I avoid them, but this one doesn’t use yeast, and still tasted great. Stollen’s fairly dense anyway and the baking powder gave this enough of a rise without the yeast.
A Christmas staple. I’ve been dying for chance to use the mortar and pestle which has been sat on the shelf since I got it. These gingerbread type cookies are a German Christmas biscuit which are glazed with (in my case rum) icing.