Inspired by a recent visit to Austria, I thought I would make a strudel… with some spring / early summer flavors to boot. I was actually a little concerned that the tart cherries and rhubarb — which is tart as well — would be a little much, but it turned out quite nice. Perfect for an afternoon cuppa.
So today, Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is called Green Thursday in Germany (not the only name, and no, I am not Catholic nor generally religious, so I am not going into the whole details of why, yadda yadda yadd… you all have the ability to google for yourselves), and some people eat green food today. Typically things that are leafy and herby and spring like. This year, given my work schedule, it kind of crept up on me (and Easter is particularly early this year) so I had to do what was in the house. Although, in my house, this involves quails eggs and smoked gouda. So, yeah, I’m a little odd when it comes to stuff in my fridge.
Krapfen. Fasnachtsküchle. Berliner. Doughnuts (Donuts). These are all traditional Pre-Fasching (Carnival, Mardi Gras…) sweets common in Southern Germany. OK, maybe most of Germany, but I am from the South, so that is what I can speak to. There are crazy sorts in Germany, and each bakery seems to make a whole bunch of types in the weeks between New Year’s and Fat Tuesday. I just made one base recipe for these and then finished them in overly decadent ways. Eat them while you can: Lent starts tomorrow!* (I’m not religious and I don’t do the whole ‘giving up stuff for Lent thing, but you get the idea.)
The atypical traditional German Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Tart). OK, that sounds rather contradictory, eh? Here is the thing: the recipe is traditional. Onions, Speck, Paprika and Nutmeg. And yes, while it looks a little like a quiche, it only has one egg in it. In Swabia (the Southwestern part of Germany nearest to the French and Swiss borders), this Zwiebelkuchen is often eaten in the fall and is a great accompaniment to new wines.
But why atypical? Well, my presentation, actually. While it certainly is possible that a cast iron pan was used at some point in the history of Zwiebelkuchen-making, it is more often made in a tart pan with a removable bottom or even as a square on a regular Backblech. Also, I am quite sure that no one bothers to cut out many little leaves, cut patterns in them and then glue them to the edge. So there. Typical German recipe. Typical me presentation. All good. Well, would have been better if that one side of the crust didn’t decide to take a nose dive into the filling, but imperfection is perfection.
Happy New Year 2016! Now that we have crossed that imaginary line to the new year, here is some more “lucky food” to usher in the year. This is a traditional German Neujahrsbrezel (New Year’s Pretzel). It’s sweet, sort of like Challah bread (that is pearl sugar, not salt). Some people hide a cent piece in it, and who ever find it, gets all the luck. I, of course, didn’t do that because I’m not sharing it with anyone so I’ll just claim all the luck as is. Goes great with coffee at breakfast and actually makes great bread for French Toast too. Enjoy!