Cook N Bake German Series: Münchner Apfelstrudel

Rometti Limoncello Cook n Bake German Series Munchen Apfelstrudel

The biggest state in the Southern part of Germany is Bavaria, bordered by Austria and Switzerland to the south and Czech Republic to the east. It’s a land of castles and churches surrounded by an unbelievably picturesque landscape with breathtaking mountains, such as the Alps. Birth place of Weisswurst, created in Munich in 1857, and Pretzel, Bavaria has become one of the main destinations for tourists, especially thanks also to its variety of festivals and traditions during the holidays. The Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world.
Bavarian cuisine is based on lots of roasted meat, dumplings and flour based dishes. Being so close to Easter, we selected the famous Munich Apple Strudel (Münchner Apfelstrudel), an extremely popular pastry in Bavaria and also the rest of Germany.
Baked in a fireproof pan instead of a baking sheet like the Vienna apple strudel, the Munich Apple Strudel is a dough with the classic swirly look that has a filling made of chopped apples, raisins, roasted bread crumbs and cinnamon. Before baking, the filling is spread on the dough and rolled up into a log. Usually served warm alone or with some vaminna ice cream, the Apfelstrudel is an excellent holiday dessert, perfect for Christmas but incredibly successful throughout the year!

Ingredients:

Dough:
10−1/2 oz. bread flour
l/6 oz. salt
1−l/2 oz. vegetable oil
5−1/3 oz. water, lukewarm

Filling:
4−1/2 lb. apples, sliced
5−l/3 oz. granulated sugar
1−1/2 oz. dark rum
5−1/3 oz. raisins
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 lemons (juice and peel)
For the buttered breadcrumbs:
10−1/2 oz. butter (unsalted)
10−1/2 oz. bread crumbs

Knead flour, salt, oil and water into a medium−firm dough. Divide into 3 small round loaves, brush each loaf with melted butter and let sit for 1 hour.
Peel, core and slice apples. Mix in granulated sugar, raisins, grated lemon peel, lemon Juice, rum, cinnamon and blend together well.
Roll the dough loaves with a rolling pin, then stretch rolled dough on a strudel sheet with the backs of your hands.
Coat 2/3 of dough sheet with buttered breadcrumbs, spread apple filling over remaining 1/3 of dough.
Tear off edges, shape strudel into roll by lifting strudel sheet. Place strudel on a buttered baking sheet and brush with melted butter.
Bake strudel for 60 to 90 minutes in a 400F to 425F oven.

~Enjoy!

recipe from http://www.spatenbeer.com
image by David Murray

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Cook N Bake German Series: Beef Rouladen

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series Beef Rouladen

This week’s recipe come from one of the Southern states of Germany: Baden-Wuttemberg, one of the largest states in the country that confines with three other German states as well as with Austria and Switzerland. This is where the famous Black Forest is located, but also car makers such as Porsche, and Audi! As a matter of fact tourism and automobile industries are extremely important for Baden-Wuttemberg.
In terms of cooking, we find three different ways of cooking in this region: Baden Cooking, Franconian Cooking and Swabian Cooking. Soups and pasta are typical of the Swabian region; Bratwurst, cabbage and potatoes are popular in the Franconian Cooking; cheese, meat and cakes are typical of the Baden Cooking.
The dish that we selected from this state is called Beef Rouladen (the term comes from the French “rouler“, to roll): it a slice of beef rolled on a filling of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles, covered with wine stock and cooked. You can also use pork meat as a filling, or Black Forest Ham.
The origin of this dish is humble: in times of poverty all that people could grow in their garden was the main resource for cooking. Round steak, also known as rump steak was the cheapest meat you could findt, and the preparation was relatively easy. So easy – and inexpensive – that was made for German troops during the war, yet it became a Thanksgiving and Christmas dish.

Commonly served with potatoes, cabbage, or spatzle, and covered in gravy, this dish can be a delicious entree for both holiday dinners and Sunday gatherings.

Ingredients:

2 lb. Brisket or rump, beef, sliced thin
2 tbsp Mustard
1 – 2 Gherkin (sour pickles) or 1 dill pickle
1 Onion
2 Slices of bacon (about 40 grams Speck)
1/2 tbsp Butter (or Butterschmalz)
1/2 tbsp Oil (or Butterschmalz)
1 Carrot
1-2 Stalks celery
1/2 cups Dry red wine
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish

Slice the beef about 1/4 inch thick across the large surface. This can be done with a slicing machine or by the butcher, or by hand with a very sharp knife. This works best when the meat is partially frozen. Lay beef out flat.

Cut pickle lengthwise into strips, dice onion and bacon very fine.

Spread each slice with mustard, fill one end with 1 – 2 tablespoons of onion, 2 slices of pickle and some diced bacon.

Roll up from the filled end and tie with string (tie like you are wrapping a present or use a modified blanket stich), or use turkey lacers (in Germany they are called “Rouladennadel”) to keep them closed.

Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan or Dutch oven and brown the outside of the roulade in it.

Meanwhile, dice the carrot and celery.

Remove the roulades to a plate, add the “Suppengrün” or mirepoix and sauté for a few minutes, until soft. Place the beef rolls back on top of the vegetables, add a half cup of red wine and a little water, to make about 1/2 inch of liquid in the pan.

Add the bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (depends on how salty the bacon is) and some grinds of pepper, cover and braise over low heat for two hours, or until beef is tender.

Remove beef roulades and keep warm. Puree sauce and thicken (optional) with a little cream, sour cream or “Wondra” (like Sossenbinder”) flour. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed. Place roulades back in sauce until serving time.

Serve with boiled potatoes (“Dampfkartoffeln” or parsley potatoes) or “Spaetzle” noodles and red cabbage.

~Enjoy!

Recipe from http://germanfood.about.com/od/meatbasedrecipesandmenu/r/Beef-Roulade.htm
Image © Cazals, Jean

Cook N Bake German Series: Dresden Stollen

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series Dresden Stollen

The protagonist of this week’s Cook N Bake German Series is one of Germany’s newest states, created in 1990 after the Reunification. Very close to Brandenburg (of which we talked about last week), Poland and Czech Republic, Saxony is a green land enriched with forests, mountains, and river valleys.
Saxony’s culinary tradition can be easily summarized as Kaffeehauskultur, “coffee house culture”. Coffee and cakes are in fact the main recipes of the region. Although Germany did not have colonies where to grow coffee, that in the 17th century started becoming very popular throughout all Europe, Saxony soon became very proud of its weak cup of coffe, or Blumchenkaffee, “little flower coffee”. The name Blumchenkaffee originated with the introduction of the Meissen porcelain cups, made in Saxony and famous all over the world. At the bottom of these cups there is a painted flower decoration, which is still visible if the coffee poured into the cup is too weak.
Together with coffee, a piece of Stollen is often served. This week’s recipe is Dresden Stollen, a fruit cake containing dried fruit, nuts and spices, often covered in powdered sugar. Typical of the Christmas season (similarly to the Italian Panettone), a stollen can be called Dresden Stollen only if maid in Dresden, must contain at least 3 g of butter, 7 grams of dried fruit, candied orange and lemon peels, and 1 g o almonds. Originally it was made only with flour, oats and water, as the church doctrine banned the use of butter and milk during the Advent. Ernst of Saxony, together with his brother Albrecht, had to write to the Pope and request the ban to be lifted, from the moment that the cake without butter was quite tasteless. The Pope replied to the letter, known as the “butter letter” and since then butter was allowed for the cake.
Stollen appeared for the first time in 1427, when it was baked in the Saxon Royal Court. Dresden Stollen goes back to then, and in 1474 was the main sweet at the Dresden’s Christmas market, which still exists today and hosts a parade in which a carriage takes the Stollen through the streets of Dresden.

Ingredients:

For the Fruit:
1 cup mixed candied fruit
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum or orange juice

For the Sponge:
1 scant tablespoon or 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Dough:
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Oil, for coating bowl

For the Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Topping:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Prepare Fruit: Combine the mixed fruit, raisins, and rum. Cover and set aside. Shake or stir the mixture every so often to coat the fruit with the rum.

Prepare Sponge: In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water to soften. Heat the milk to 110 degrees F and add it to the yeast along with the honey and 1 cup flour. Cover the sponge with plastic wrap and let rise until light and full of bubbles, about 30 minutes.

By Hand: Add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest, salt, mace, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

By Mixer: In the mixer bowl, add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest, salt, mace, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge. Using the paddle, beat the mixture on medium low speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Change to the dough hook. Continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to clean the bowl. Knead 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low.

First rise: Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shape and Fill: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. For 1 large loaf, roll the dough into a 9 by 13-inch oval. For 2 loaves, divided the dough in half and roll each half into a 7 by 9-inch oval. Brush the melted butter over the top of the oval(s). Combine the cinnamon and granulated sugar and sprinkle over one lengthwise half of the oval(s). Fold the dough in half lengthwise and carefully lift the bread(s) onto a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet. Press lightly on the folded side to help the loaf keep its shape during rising and baking.

Second rise: Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven: About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake and cool: Bake for 25 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 degrees F. Immediately remove from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.

To serve: Sprinkle heavily with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Variation: Between 2 pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap, roll 3 ounces almond paste or marzipan into the lengthwise shape of half the oval. Omit the butter and cinnamon-sugar filling. Place the marzipan on half of the oval and fold the dough in half. Let rise and bake as directed.

Notes: One cup coarsely chopped mixed dried fruits may be substituted for the candied fruit. Cover the dried fruit with boiling water and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and use as you would candied fruit. You can also make your own candied fruit and peel. This bread freezes nicely for up to 6 months. If freezing it, do not sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. To serve, first thaw the bread, then bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com

Cook N Bake German Series: Einfacher Kartoffelsalad

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series: Einfacher Kartoffelsalad

Let us continue our journey through Germany by moving to the North East, to the region of Brandenburg, where castles and historical monuments are the center of attraction in a peaceful land where trees and rivers are a common landscape. It because of this lush landscape vegetables seem to be the dominant ingredients in the local cuisine. It’s not a coincidence that Brandenburg the city is called “Berlin’s vegetable garden“! Local here is the key: most restaurants use only locally grown ingredients. Among them potatoes definitively has a principal role. Seafood is also characteristic of the Brandenburg cuisine, as many dishes based on eel, carp, crayfish and pike tell us.
There is no other dish that describes Brandenbug cuisine better than the famous Cold Potato Salad (Einfacher Kartoffelsalat). Although potatoes are typical ingredients throughout the country, each region differentiates its potato salatd because of different ingredients. In this case, dill pickles are used to dress it. Hard boiled eggs can also be added. Whether iti s warm or cold, Einfaher Kartoffelsalad is a great side dish for hamburger patties, sausages, and other vegetables.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

approx. 3 lb. potatoes, cut up, approx. 8 cups
1 tsp. salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup liquid from dill pickles
1/4 to 1 small onion, chopped (amount is your preference)
3 – 4 dill pickles, chopped (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to season, dill weed to season
Wash and cut up unpeeled potatoes. Put in pot with hot water, 1 tsp. salt, and bring to boil. Watch that it doesn’t boil over (it foams).
Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes, until just tender. Do not overcook. Meanwhile, in serving bowl, add mayonnaise and pickle juice. Whisk until smooth.
Add chopped onion and dill pickle to dressing.
Drain potatoes when tender (save cooking water is desired, see above). Add to dressing in serving bowl. Mix gently.
Season with extra salt, pepper, and dill weed.
Serve hot, warm, or cold. The longer you let it stand, the more flavor is developed, but it does taste great immediately.

~Enjoy!

Cook N Bake German Series: Cream of Asparagus Soup

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series Cream of Asparagus Soup

New week, new blog, new series. After indulging in the exotic, spicy Moroccan dishes we decided to go back to the inland, so this week we travel all the way back to center Europe. Ladies and Gentlemen, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren, may I introduce you to a brand new Cook N Bake German Series.

German cuisine is very well known because of its kartoffeln and würste, potatoes and sausage dishes, however these dishes vary from region to region, which is the reason why we can find about 1500 different varieties of sausages throughout the country! Meat is the most consumed food in Germany, especially pork, followed by beef and poultry. Fish is mainly trouts, pike and carp. Vegetables are also extremely popular in Germany, especially in stews. Among the desserts we find German doughnuts, krapfen, Black Forest cake, pretzels and different kind of pudding.

To start off, we selected a dish from the northern region of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): the Cream of Asparagus Soup. As simple as it sounds, this dish is indeed one of the most appreciated delicacies in Lower Saxony, where vegetables like potatoes, kale and spargel, asparagus, are extremely popular. From April through June asparagus is in season and some restaurants dedicate their whole menu to asparagus dishes.
This perennial plant was introduced in the 16th century and since then it spread throughout the country. Considered a luxury food in the 18th century, eventually it became one of the most popular vegetables that’s been inspiring chef’s creativity.

White asparagus is the one we are going to use for this week’s recipe. In its simplicity, Cream of Asparagus Soup is a very elegant dish if served in a small bowl or – why not – clear cup. Just remember to peel the white asparagus since they do have an outer layer that we do not want to include. Also, a couple of tips are: use just a minimal amount of water, and add a little sugar to reduce the bitterness of the asparagus.

Start your dinner with a classic German, low calorie dish!

Ingredients ( served 6):

1/2 c. chopped onion (1 small)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 -2 lb. white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces, heads reserved
6 c. broth, either chicken or vegetable
1/2 c. half and half cream
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Dry white wine, to taste
Parsley for garnish

Make sure you peel white asparagus before you chop it into small pieces. Here is a method for prepping white asparagus.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft in the bottom of a 4 quart saucepan. Add the pieces of asparagus (minus the heads) and steam for 5 minutes. Add the broth and boil gently for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft.

Purée the soup in batches in the blender (place a towel over the lid and hold down the lid so the hot soup does not splatter) or with a hand blender and return to pan.

Bring to a simmer and add the reserved asparagus heads. Cook at least 5 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Turn down the heat and add the cream. Do not boil further.

Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. You may also want to add a few spoonfuls of white wine, if you think the soup needs acidity. Garnish with parsley.

~Enjoy!
Recipe from http://germanfood.abou.com
Image copyright of Caste, Alain