Faschingskrapfen, German Filled Donut Recipe

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The traditional pastry for Germanys Mardi Gras, called Karneval or Fasching, is krapfen, or donuts. Made of yeast dough, they are fried and filled with apricot or rose hip jam. You can make them yourself with this recipe!

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Donuts, German Filled (Faschingskrapfen) for Karneval
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Proof the yeast by combining it with the lukewarm milk and about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well and place in a warm spot for 20 minutes. The yeast should become active and foam up, becoming what is called a sponge.
  2. While the yeast is doing its thing, combine the rest of the ingredients and whip til fluffy. Combine the yeast sponge with the flour and mix up a little. Add the egg mixture and mix well. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or use a mixer with dough hooks for 5 minutes.
  3. Form a ball with the dough and leave it in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place (about 85 degrees F) to rise for 20 minutes. If your kitchen is cold, warm the oven to 85 degrees F (30 C) and place the dough in there.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead by hand on floured board for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more flour and work it in by increments if dough sticks to your hand. Add milk by tablespoons if the dough is too dry and hard to knead.
  5. Form a ball and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with the towel and return to the warm spot for 60 minutes to rise a second time.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured board and punch down again.
  7. Now there are two ways to proceed: One is to form balls with the dough that are about 2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls between your palms to eliminate any seams or folds. Seams and folds "bloom" in the oil and result in a misshapen Krapfen. Two is to press the dough into a flat sheet about 1/2 inch thick. Let it rest for about 10 minutes then use a cookie cutter or rim of a drinking glass to cut 4-inch disks. Reform leftover dough into a flat sheet and cut more disks until most of the dough is used up.
  8. Whether you form ball or disks, place the dough shapes on greased and floured sheets. Cover the dough with the kitchen towel and return to the warm place for another 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile bring a pot with 2-3 inches of oil, shortening or lard (old school, German style) to 338 degrees F (170 C). Carefully remove a ball or disk, whatever you decided, turn it over and place gently into the oil, bottom up.
  10. Fry 1-2 minutes then turn the donuts over and fry an equal amount of time on the other side. Properly risen dough should be so light that the donuts float, resulting in a white band around the middle. No white band means dense, overcooked donuts.
  11. Remove from oil to a plate lined with paper towels.
  12. There are two ways to glaze the Krapfen: One, roll the still-warm Krapfen in a plate of sugar. Two, sprinkle with powdered sugar, BUT WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOU FILL THEM.
  13. To fill: Load a baking syringe with jam and inject each donut with about 2 teaspoons of the sweet stuff. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar on both sides if you waited for that.
  14. Serve warm. Strong coffee goes well!
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Pecan Stilton Crackers Recipe

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Recipe for homemade Stilton pecan crackers from scratch. These crackers taste better than anything you can buy! The dough and the baked crackers can be made ahead and frozen for several weeks in advance of any party or gathering.

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Crackers, Pecan Stilton, Recipe
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine butter and flour in food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or to the consistency of cornmeal.
  2. Add Stilton and pulse until dough forms a ball.
  3. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Divide in half and roll each half into cylinder about 7 inches long. Dough will be sticky but easy to handle.
  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment and scatter chopped pecans evenly over it. Roll dough cylinders in turn in the pecans until coated.
  5. Wrap the dough in parchment or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  7. Unwrap chilled dough, trim ends and cut into ¼-inch slices.
  8. Line a sheet pan with parchment and place slices about 1 inch apart on pan.
  9. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to overbake.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on the pan. Crackers will firm up as they cool.
Recipe Notes

Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Substitute Maytag or Gorgonzola in place of the Stilton for a similar taste.

Serve with roasted peaches, nectarines or plums and some crème fraiche. Garnish with chopped chives.

Pair with your favorite wine.

Keep some dough in the freezer for unexpected guests.

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Rosemary Pine Nut Crackers Recipe

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Make delicious, savory rosemary pine nut crackers at home from scratch. More tasty than commercial crackers plus simple and easy with this recipe.

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Crackers, Rosemary Pine Nut, Recipe
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20-25 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
dozen crackers
Ingredients
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20-25 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
dozen crackers
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Use an electric mixer to whip the butter until light and smooth.
  3. Add half the flour mixture to the butter and mix just until combined.
  4. Add the rosemary, pine nuts, egg, egg yolks and pepper. Mix until just combined.
  5. Add rest of flour mixture until just combined. Dough should not be dry. If it crumbles, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it is moist and doesn’t crumble when pinched.
  6. Divide dough in half. Flatten it into thick rectangles. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C).
  8. Unwrap one rectangle of dough on floured surface. Roll to ¼-inch (0.6 cm) thick.
  9. Cut out crackers with cookie cutter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container.
Recipe Notes

Use fresh rosemary and chop it very finely for max flavor and to avoid getting rosemary leaves in your teeth when you eat them.

This dough freezes well if wrapped tightly. It will keep for 2-3 months. Thaw it out and bake up the crackers if you need a gift or have unexpected guests.

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Italian Rainbow Cookies Recipe

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Traditional Italian rainbow cookies; my New Jersey/Italian friends make these every year and this is their recipe. LOVE these almond-flavored goodies - so addictive. In addition to the wonderful flavor, they look marvelous, and you can make them any color combination you choose.

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Cookies, Italian Rainbow, Recipe
These instructions are for traditionally-colored Italian rainbow cookies. The photos are of my green ombré type. You can choose whatever colors you like for the layers; see the Recipe Notes at the bottom.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line three 9×13 cake or sheet pans with wax paper or parchment paper and grease with butter or spray with cooking spray.
  3. Break up almond paste in a large bowl, add butter, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and salt. Set aside.
  4. In separate bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into almond mixture.
  5. Separate batter into equal parts (about 1 1/2 cups each) in three different bowls. Add green color to one bowl and mix well. Add red color to another bowl and mix well. Leave third bowl plain.
  6. Spread batter into separate pans.
  7. Bake each pan for 8 minutes then turn and bake 7 minutes more, for a total of 15 minutes. Place pans on racks until completely cool.
  8. Invert green layer onto a large tray. Spread with half the raspberry preserves.
  9. Invert the plain layer on top and spread with other half of preserves. Invert red layer on top.
  10. Wrap in plastic wrap, place a heavy book or pan on top and refrigerate overnight.
  11. Combine chocolate chips, 4 tablespoons butter and light corn syrup over low heat and stir until melted.
  12. Cover the top of the cake with chocolate glaze and refrigerate until glaze sets. Turn over and cover the other side with glaze and let cool until that side sets.
  13. With serrated knife, trim edges of layers so they are squared.
  14. Cut the cake crosswise into eight sections about 1 1/2 inches wide. Then cut it lengthwise into twelve 3/4-inch sections to make about 96 small, layered cookies.
Recipe Notes

Make the cookies ombré by adding 5 drops of any color to one third of the batter, 10 drops of the same color to another third of the batter, and 15 drops to the final third. Eyeball it to see if you like the color gradation; remember that it's easy to add color, impossible to subtract it. Combine with darkest layer on plate, lighter layer in the middle and plain layer on top. Use seedless jam or preserves that match the color you choose or use a neutral-colored jam like apricot so the lines aren't distinct.

 

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Sablés de Paris (French Butter Cookies) Recipe

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Light, delicate French butter cookies. Very easy to make and quick to bake. They almost melt in your mouth. Perfect for tea and coffee or holiday cookie plates.

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Cookies, Sablés de Paris (French Butter Cookies) Recipe
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8-10 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
dozen cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8-10 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
dozen cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together sugar, salt and flour.
  3. Mix in butter and rub butter with fingers into flour until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Stir in the egg yolk(s) and vanilla.
  5. Form dough into two logs about 2 inches in diameter. If dough does not come together, add water one tablespoon at a time until it just forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
  6. Cut the logs into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Optionally, stamp each slice with a cookie stamp.
  7. Place slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until very lightly browned around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Roll the logs in sugar before slicing to get a crispy, sweet outer rim.

There are many variations of this recipe, including blue cheese and ginger/cardamom flavors. Check my blog post to see how to do them.

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Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake) Recipe

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This authentic German family recipe for cheesecake uses the European Quark instead of cream cheese for a moist, delicious dessert that is much lighter than American cheesecakes.

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Cheesecake (German Käsekuchen) Recipe
Course Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
cheesecake
Ingredients
Filling
Course Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
cheesecake
Ingredients
Filling
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan with butter and coat with breadcrumbs.
  2. Slightly beat the egg. Cut it into ½ cup (113 g) butter and 2/3 cup (130g) sugar in a bowl.
  3. Put the flour in a separate bowl and pour the wet mixture over it. Combine well with your hands. Dough should be rather dry and form a ball.
  4. Press dough evenly into pan on bottom and around sides to ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick.
Filling and Baking
  1. Beat all filling ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Pour filling into prepared crust. It’s fine if the batter rises above the crust on the sides of the pan.
  3. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
  4. Let cool and release from pan. Serve warm or chilled.
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Spicy Cajun New Orleans Shrimp Recipe

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This spicy Cajun shrimp recipe is easy to prepare and quick to cook. Use over rice, grits or even a salad for a fresh seafood treat. Don't like hot food? I give options to make them milder.

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Shrimp, Spicy Cajun New Orleans Recipe
Marinate shrimp in a spicy Cajun seasoning mix then quickly fry it up with onions and garlic for a wonderful New Orleans treat.
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fry bacon until crisp. Alternatively, place strips on rack on baking sheet and bake in preheated 375 F oven for about 30 minutes til crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
  2. Mix shrimp with seasoning in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to marinate.
  3. Heat skillet on medium heat. Melt butter in 1/4 cup olive oil. Add onions. Saute for about 5 minutes until onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic and saute an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add marinated shrimp to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp begin to become firm and slightly pink, about 4 minutes. Add remainder of olive oil and saute for about 1 minute more to infuse the oil with the seasoning. Immediately remove from heat.
  5. Serve in a bowl over rice, grits or salad greens, drizzling the extra, infused oil around sides. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and sliced scallions on top.
Recipe Notes

I use Emeril Lagasse's Essence spice mixture. Use less seasoning for less spicy shrimp. For more spice, add cayenne pepper to taste. For no spice at all, use a seasoning mix without cayenne.

Do not overcook the shrimp. They turn hard and rubbery if overcooked.

Serve over rice or Asiago cheese grits. These shrimp are great over a green salad, too, even chilled.

 

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Asiago Cheese Grits Recipe

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Rich and decadent Asiago cheese grits, perfect for a breakfast buffet side dish or as part of Cajun shrimp and grits combination. I like Better than Bouillon organic chicken base, but you can use any brand you prefer. Substitute cheddar for the Asiago for an amazing taste variation.

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Grits, Asiago Cheese Recipe
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a rolling boil. Whisk in chicken base. Work quickly so the milk does not burn.
  2. Whisk in the grits in a slow stream, whisking rapidly and constantly to avoid lumps.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until the mixture thickens and is al dente. The time depends on the type of grits you are using; consult the package label for cooking time.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add butter and the cream and stir well to loosen the mixture. Add more cream if necessary to get a thick yet flowing consistency.
  5. Add the cheese and pepper. Mix them into the grits, stirring until fully incorporated.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and cover until serving time.
  7. Add more cream if the mixture is too thick at serving time.
Recipe Notes

Always grate your own cheese for richer flavor, plus the ready-grated cheese in the supermarket dairy section has talcum or other agents added to keep the cheese from sticking together.

Substitute cheddar cheese for the Asiago in this recipe for a tasty switch.

These grits make great leftovers and will store in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. They are very fast to heat up in the microwave because of all the dairy. Be careful when handling the freshly-prepared or reheated grits; they are HOT!

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Vanilla-Lemon Cake Recipe in a Lamb Mold for Easter

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Light, sweet lemon-vanilla cake for Easter or spring celebrations, baked up in a lamb-shaped mold for the occasion. Smaller portion of batter to fit lamb mold.

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Cake, Vanilla-Lemon in a Lamb Mold for Easter Recipe
Traditional European Easter delicacy baked in a lamb mold.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
small cake
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
small cake
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Generously coat cake mold with butter or oil and dust with flour.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together with hand mixer. Mix in eggs, vanilla, milk, zest and lemon juice.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder in separate bowl; mix well.
  5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter into mold, filling nooks and crannies. Bump filled mold on countertop to dislodge any air bubbles.
  7. Bake 40 minutes.
  8. Let cake cool in mold on rack for 30 minutes.
  9. Shake mold firmly then carefully remove one half of mold from top of cake. Loosen edges of cake left in other half of mold with a knife. Carefully remove cake from other half of mold. Let cool completely.
  10. Dust cake with powdered sugar just before serving. Serve for Easter breakfast or brunch.
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