The first version of the Kieler Semmel was already catapulted into the first ranks of my personal best of list of blog recipes. And I planed directly to make a second version with preferment. And took me a while to come back to this plan but finally I bake them. I choose a preferment which enhance the gluten structure, a sweet starter or its cousin, which is made with commercial yeast – a Biga. And I opted for diastatic malt as I wanted to make the crust very crisp. This makes the recipe unsuitable for a cold overnight proof – a reason why I always shied away from diastatic malt before – a mistake as I knew now! The crust gains a lot through the enzymatic processes due to the malt, it is crisp but easier to bite at the same time. I get a better volume and fluffiger crust then the last time, too.
Helga, a reader from Kiel, suggested some changes in the form and gave me some advices on the intensity of the cinnamon flavour. I decided to use cylon cinnamon, which has a more subtle and complex flavour then the warm, but more acerbic and blunt flavour of Cassia. I added one gramm to the butter which yields a slight cinnamon note. If you prefer a stronger cinnamon taste I would double this amount.
At the end, I have not to emphasise that I’m in love with this rolls, have I? They are maybe the most perfect rolls I bake (until now)!
When Petra bake Jodekager last year, I realized that it has been ages since I bake the very similar Brune Kager. I couldn’t find my old recipe and so I read different swedish recipes to reconstruct it according to my memory. It is a kind of gingerbread which is made with a light syrup. And as I read the labeling of this light syrup in the supermarket some weeks ago and learned that is just made of glucose and invert syrup, I went directly for my homemade Invert syrup instead. This knowledge is really useful as I have always invert syrup in the pantry for making ice cream!
The Brune Kager made with Invert syrup turned out as good as I had them in my memory: thin, crisp and so delicious!
Christmas time can be a hectic time as well. To makes things easier, I like to have desserts that can be prepared in advance. Like this little mousse cakes, which can be prepared one week before time and then wait patiently in the fridge for their great day. You just have to remember the night before to take them from the freezer and defrost them in the fridge over night. The next day, they just have to get a little cocoa dusting and their dried apple star decoration and they are ready to be served.
With almond sponge, Cinnamon Mousse and a core of apple curd they are light and delicious end for any festive meal during Christmas time! And if you like to keep life even more simple, then skip the sponge and fill the mousse in little glases. This tealight holders have the perfect size!
My second contribution for the pumpkin buffet was a pumpkin ice cream. I used the recipe for gorgeous Marzipan ice cream which I served last Christmas as blue print. And like this ice cream the pumpkin ice cream is very creamy and keeps this creaminess even in the fridge. It is the Invert syrup, which makes it is soft. To balance the sweetness of the pumkin, I added a little bit of buttermilk. The mixture of spices is similar to pumpkin pie spice, but with some tonka bean to add a touch of special. The ice cream fits well into the Christmas time with its flavour of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Its bright yellow brings a bit of sunshine into the dark, grey days!
I have to warn you: the next posts will be sweet ones! It is partly due to the Christmas time and partly due to sweet things I made for two Ph.d. defence parties in the institute. And I will start with one of those recipes. It was part of the pumpkin buffet we whipped up for one of my former colleagues who is a pumpkin lover. This year, writing and defending her thesis kept her away from enjoying the pumpkin season and so we decided to cook everything with pumpkin for her. We had baked pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and a savory pumpkin tart and I made pumpkin ice cream and baked Pumpkin chocolate cake and pumpkin fritters for her.
The pumpkin fritters are very much my own style as I worked with yeast instead of baking powder. A bit of sourdough gives them a deeper flavour, but this is optional. Turned either in powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar they taste best when still warm. But even the next day they are still a treat!
Last year I saw a Christstollen with Sourdough which “Ofenkante” published on his blog. This stirred my brain and I started to think about Stollen made with sweet starter. But as I was already done with Stollen baking at this time point, I stored the idea in the back of my mind. After one year of thinking about it I decided to bake directly two stollen for this Christmas: a traditional and a experimental one.
In the experimental stollen with sweet starter I kept the same ratio of ingredients then in my traditional one (never change a winning team) but build the the sweet starter over several steps to get a enough strength for rising. It is always amazing to see how strong the sweet starter gets when fed three times in a row! But as the feeding is time consuming, this recipe needs a day until it is done.
After four weeks of ripening I brought the stollen from the cold attic back to the warm kitchen and sliced it. The crumb was perfect, firm but moist and the different flavours had fused to a harmonic consonance. Compared to the traditional stollen there are subtle differences in flavour nuances, but it is hard to pin them down. After all, both of them taste terrific and I can not name a favourite.
I can not tell how I learn about the Reformationsbrötchen (reformation rolls). But the idea somehow stuck in mind and so I had to bake them just in time for the 31. October (Reformation day).
This rolls originate from the area around Leipzig and are baked in Saxony, Thüringen and Saxony-Anhalt. It is made from a buttery yeast dough enriched with a lot of raisins, candid orange and lemon peel and almonds. The square form with the red jam in the middle is said to symbolize either the Luther rose, the seal of Martin Luther, or a bishops hat.
My variant is made with a biga preferment for a complex flavour and is rich with raisins and almonds. The candid orange and lemon peel I added in a smaller amount. The crumb is soft and moist due to cream and butter and the tart cherry jam is a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the dough and fruits. A great pastry for the last day of October.
Since three years I use my Slowcooker to cook plum butter. This is very relaxed as I just have to remove the plum pits the night before and turn on the slow cooker. I put the lid on the cooker in a right angle, leaving a gap so the evaporated water can escape. After 12 hours cooking on “High” the juice has reduced a good deal and after pureeing it needs another three to four hours until it reaches the perfect thick consistence.
The dearest one likes his plum butter without a lot of spices, so I add only half of a cinnamon stick and a tiny little bit of a vanilla bean. Just enough to underline the flavour without shining through. And as I use only a bit of sugar, I preserve the glasses of plum butter, just to be on the safe side. Last year I tested Michas Methode with boiling the glasses covered with water in a big pot. It worked like a charm and the plum butter kept well for one year.
Cornucopia, the horn of plenty, is a symbol of abundance and nourishment in the classical myths and is often associated with autumn. And when I prepared my little pastries I look on the nuts and apples and that little cornucopia would be the right way to celebrate autumn plenty.
It is apple and no other fruit that means autumn to me. And I can’t stop praising the heirloom apples which are often much more aromatic then the new breeds. And for baking cake there is no better apple then my favourite Jakob Lebel. It is a tree which gives a plenty of fruits and which is often found in old gardens and orchards. In the beginning of last century the meeting of german pomiculture society named it as one of tree apple variety they advised to grow because it is so fruitful, aromatic and robust. Continue reading
Der Liebste ist puristisch, wenn es um Zwetschgenkuchen geht: Hefeteig, Zwetschgen und vielleicht ein bisschen Zucker. Ich hingegen mag Streusel sehr, auch auf den Zwetschgen. Bis ich ihn aber von der Idee eines Zwetschgenstreusel überzeugt hatte, dauerte es. Ich musste versprechen, dass die Streusel keinesfalls hart und das Teig – Zwetschgenverhältnis ausgewogen sein würde. Das tat ich leichten Herzens, denn die Streusel für meinen liebsten Streusekuchen (mit oder ohne Pudding) haben die perfekte mürbe Struktur. Zusammen mit einem dünnen Hefemürbeteigboden (der nicht durchsaftet) und einer kräftigen Portion Zwetschgen ergeben sie einen köstlichen Zwetschgenstreusel, der auch den Zwetschgen-Purist sehr gut schmeckt hat!