Rote Grütze is a sweet dish popular in northern Germany and translating as “red grits”, it used to contain oats or other grains, hence the name, but nowadys it is made soley from red berries such as red currants, raspberries, strawberries and even cherries. It is served with vanilla sauce but it can also be enjoyed with cream or yoghurt. Lesser known are Gelbe Grütze made with yellow fruits or Grüne Grütze made from green fruit. The queen of Bavarian desserts is undoubtedly the Bayerische Creme, the recipe is said to go back to the daughter of the Bavarian Duke Stephan. The fine cream from eggs, vanilla and cream is complimented with fresh berries or fruit compot. The most well known cake from Bavaria is the Prinzregententorte, created in 1886 in honour of Prince Regent Luitpold. The seven layers of the cake made from sponge and chocolate buttercream. The seven layers represented the seven districts of the kingdom of Bavaria, as it was at that time.
From the black forest area comes the world famous black forest gateau, soft chocolate sponge with cream and cherries soaked in Kirsch, all topped off with more chocolate.Heavenly! The German equivalent to the English “afternoon tea” is Kafe und Kuchen and people will get together to chat over their coffee and cake, either at the local cafe or at home. With a large choice of cakes available it certainly makes sense to take time out to enjoy one, or two! Fruits are used a lot in German cakes, they are either baked into or topped with and baked. There is even a sweet dumpling made with a potato dough and filled with a plum, stoned and filled with suger, boiled and tossed into a pan with butter and breadcrumbs and finished with a sprinkle of sugar. Doughnuts are known as Berliner over most of Germany, Krapfen in the south, Kreppel in Hessen and Pfannkuchen in Berlin! They are filled with jam, custard or chocolate. Käsekuchen (Cheesecake) is made from quark cheese, it is mouthwateringly light when fresh and can be served alongside berries or just simply on it’s own. A Gugelhupf or Kugelhupf is a southern German cake baked in a gugelhupf tin with it’s own distinctive markings. Traditionally made from a soft yeast dough with raisins and almonds.
Bienenstich Cake (beesting cake) Again a yeast dough cake, in two layers filled with vanilla sauce and topped off with a honey glaze sprinkled with almonds. Marzipan is used widely throughout Germany, not only in cakes but also to form shapes, either balls, logs and bars. These are plain or dipped in chocolate, animal shapes are made for Christmas time, Easter or special occasions to bring luck, for example the “Good Luck Pig” (Glücksschwein) which must always adorn the New Years Eve table. As Christmas approaches the array of biscuits on show grows, Gingerbread-Lebkuchen, being the main type with many shapes and kinds to choose from. Round ones plain or dipped in chocolate or sugar glaze, Dominoes filled with jelly, Hearts, Knots and stars, in the Christmas markets you will find large heart shaped gingerbread with various messages written on them, maybe to give to a child or to a loved one or to adorn the Christmas tree. We must also not forget the Gingerbread house, children will love to help decorate this with colourful sweets and icing and small figures representing Hansel, Gretel and the witch! Gingerbread is made in many forms all over the world, but Lebkuchen from Germany is unique, first baked in Nuremberg in 1395 the recipe has been handed down through generations and though some are made by major companies and others by family run bakeries they all use the old traditional recipes. Only Lebkuchen made in Nuremberg can be called “Nuremberger Lebkuchen” and come Christmas, pretty boxes and musical tins will be exported all over the world. Other biscuits are Vanillakipferl- crescent shaped biscuits dusted with icing sugar, Spekulatius- a spiced christmas biscuit, there are piped little biscuits which just melt in the mouth and rolled out biscuits made into all kinds of Christmas shapes, often by children, then iced and decorated.
Traditionally the biscuit baking begins before St.Nicolaus on the 6th December to honour his arrival bearing gifts of fruits, nuts, sweets and chocolates. The Christmas cake is the Stollen, a sweet rich bread with dried fruits, spices and almonds rolled around marzipan which is said to represent the swaddling clothes wrapped around the baby Jesus. Today Stollen are exported around the globe for everyone to enjoy and can be found in most shop leading up to Christmas,
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