Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gefüllter Streuselkuchen - A German coffee cake with filling

Streuselkuchen is a very popular type of cake all over Germany and Austria. There are many different variations, but the important part of a "streusel" is the crumbled topping. The verb "streuen" literally means "to strew/to disperse/to scatter", which refers to the topping which is usually a combination of flour, sugar, and butter.

This is one of my favorite recipes, but feel free to add whatever you'd like to the center of the cake. Fruits and nuts are wonderful additions.

2 eggs
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups bread flour (all purpose is fine)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling and topping:
2/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar 
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp cinnamon

Marzipan (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream together the butter and white sugar until very light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla and sour cream. Mix the baking powder, salt and flour together and slowly incorporate it into the mixture. 

At this point, pour half of the batter into a greased 9" spring-form pan. Mix together the ingredients for the topping in one bowl and spread half of it over the mixture. (I added some flat disks of marzipan on top of the crumbled layer and covered the entire cake.)

After this, pour the remaining batter on top, the cover the cake with the rest of the streusel mixture.

Bake the cake for approximately 1 hour. (Keep an eye on it for the last 15 minutes of baking. If it looks like the top is browning too much, take it out)

Guten Appetit!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Frikadellen mit Bratkartoffeln

Frikadellen are like the German equivalent of a hamburger... sans the bun. They are very flavorful and also easy to make. Today, I've paired them together with Bratkartoffeln which go with pretty much everything. Potatoes with bacon and onions.... sauteed in bacon grease and butter? What's not to like? Oh yeah... nothing.

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (fresh, if possible)
1/2 a large yellow onion
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs oregano
1 tsp red cayenne pepper
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp celery seeds
3 tbs butter
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl and form 6 flat patties. Heat the butter and oil in a small pan on medium-high. Fry the frikadellen 3 at a time, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with ketchup for the sauce of your choice.

3 large russet potatoes
1/3 pound bacon
1/2 large onion 

Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, then set them in cold water to cool down.
Brown the bacon in a pan and set aside. Add the onions and sauté them in the bacon grease until they become translucent. Remove the onions and add the potatoes to the bacon grease. Cook them until they are browned, the return the bacon and onions to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes and serve.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Salzbrezeln - German Pretzels

A staple in all German festivals: the pretzel. They are portable, cheap, delicious, can be prepared a variety of ways, but most importantly... they are perfectly paired with a large stein of beer.

When pretzels aren't being enjoyed at festivals, they are also commonly served in place of a dinner roll and served with various types of German mustards. (German mustard recipes coming soon!)

Here's a modified version of the recipe that has been in my family for quite a few years:

2 tsp active-dry yeast
1 1/4 cup water (Continue adding water by the tablespoon if necessary)
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
Coarse salt

To start, mix the two teaspoons of yeast into a half cup of warm water. Stir until it dissolves. In the meantime, add the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. (I use my KitchenAid for this.) 
When the yeast has dissolved, create a well in the flour mixture and pour in the yeast water. 

At this point, you'll want to create a "sponge". Mix in just enough of the flour to make the yeast mixture very thick. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes while covered. 
Afterwards, it should look like this:

After the sponge forms, mix in the rest of the flour and add the rest of the water (3/4th cup). Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, or if you have a stand mixer, let it run for 10 minutes or so. Afterwards, set the dough in an oiled boil and let it rise until doubled in a warm place. This normally takes 1-2 hours, depending on how warm the room is. (I preheated an oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and turned it off after setting the dough inside. The dough doubled in size in about 30 minutes.)


Press the air out of the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. After this, remove the dough and divide it into 9 balls of dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. At this point, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the dough has rested, roll out each ball into a 14"-16" line. If the dough is being difficult, roll it as much as you can and then move onto the next piece. By the time you get back to it, it should be much easier to manage. Once you have them rolled out to the desired length, fold in each end to the center. (Typical pretzel shape, people.) Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Let the pretzels rest and double in size. This should take about 45 minutes. When the pretzels are done rising, whisk the egg in a bowl and coat each of the pretzels with egg. You can dip them in or use a pastry brush. Afterwards, top the pretzels with coarse salt, sesame seeds, or the topping of your choice. I used coarse sea salt for this recipe.

Bake the pretzels for 15-20 minutes. I like mine a little browner and baked them for a little over 20 minutes, but I also made a 15 minute batch, which ended up being a little softer and chewier.

Serve with spicy brown mustards, melted butter, cheese dip, or whatever you enjoy the most.

Guten Appetit!

Bis zum nächsten Mal,