Friday, October 2, 2015

What I Ate last Week During Oktoberfest 2015 in Munich

Last year I was not able to make it to Munich for Oktoberfest. Work got in the way. I hate when that happens. 

This year I was excited to celebrate my 14th visit to this world famous festival. What follows is a hodge podge of some of my favorite foods I ate during the week, not necessarily all at the fest, some in different places around Munich.

Once landed in Munich, I always reach for a butterbrezel as my off the plane snack. A fresh soft pretzel cut in half and slathered with sweet Bavarian butter. This year I tried something different and chose instead the schnittlauchbretzel. A soft pretzel sandwiched around fresh whipped cream cheese and chives. I admit over the course of the week, I had more than one or two of these.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Riesling Rosemary Almond Savory Bundt Cake

Who doesn't love cooking with wine?  A cup for the recipe. A glass for me.

In German a bundt cake is called a gugelhupf and like in the USA, it comes it all kinds of sweet and savory flavors. To keep it proper,  I used Riesling for this German recipe.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mini Apple Pecan Tarts in a Cinnamon Crust

My Fall denial is waning. I'm officially embracing the season. The proof is in this recipe I whipped up last weekend. 

In creating these German mini apple tarts, it wasn't enough to make them small and cute. I went overboard and made them apple shaped. Bring on the Fall.

These tarts are roughly four inches in diameter. Of the thousands of cookie cutters I have stashed in undisclosed locations, I could not seem to locate my large apple shaped one. I improvised by using the bottom of a small round spring form pan to cut circles out of the dough and then shaped them into apples with my fingers. 

Of course, these are just as delicious if you skip creating the apple shapes and bake them in mini tart pans.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sauerkraut Bratwurst Cheese Pie

This could easily be called a sauerkraut kitchen sink pie. The recipe can be adapted to use up whatever vegetables and meats you have left over in the fridge, adding them to the sauerkraut to fill up the crust. Leave the meat out entirely and add more vegetables for a vegetarian version. 

The version below, sauerkraut is simmered in white wine and then added to a medley of smoked bacon, bratwurst, onions and peppers. Crème fraîche and cheese are mixed in and peppered with fresh herbs to complete the filling. If you don't have access to crème fraîche, substitute sour cream. 

This savory pie is a great brunch recipe but is just as tasty for lunch or dinner as well.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Blueberry Oatmeal Sheet Cake with Meringue Lattice

Meringue lattice people. Meringue lattice. I did not even know this was possible until I saw it in a German cooking magazine. I knew then and there I had to make one.

This beautiful sheet cake uses a whopping three pounds of fresh blueberries and serves an army of 24. Oatmeal is used in the crust of the cake  as well as in the meringue itself. 

The meringue lattice is much easier to create than the dough version. Bake time in minimal and the cake comes together quickly.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Basil Marzipan Sweet Braid Bread

Ever since I can remember living in Germany I have oogled the sweet braided breads in the bakeries of whatever town I was in. They are a marvel. There are many varieties of this beautifully knotted golden goodness. Hefezopf (literal translation is yeast braid) originates from the south and is also popular in Austria and Switzerland. 

There are endless varieties on the traditional version. The one here uses homemade basil marzipan made with fresh basil leaves which is definitely the star ingredient. In most cases, marzipan is cheaper to make than buy. However, the store bought variety works just as well in this recipe.

The glaze is simply flavored with freshly squeezed lemon juice and topped with blanched almond leaves for crunch and an additional pop of flavor.

Another great excuse to use up the rest of the basil in your garden or whatever is left at the early fall farmers markets.

For the full recipe and instructions, hop on over to my German Food Page at

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Apple, Leek Cashew Tart in Whole Wheat Crust

This tart is a cross between a tart and a quiche and stuffed with wonderful ingredients. Leeks, tart Granny Smith apple slices, sweet red bell pepper and crunchy raw cashews are all nestled in a whole wheat crust.

The tart is topped with strong flavoreGruyère cheese which enhances the savory taste. . You can substitute Swiss variety if the Gruyère is too expensive or hard to find. 

A lovely fall savory tart option, this tart has many ingredients but comes together quickly. 

If you prefer, you can blanch the leeks in boiling water for 60 seconds before cutting them up to add to the tart. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Strawberry Gugelhupf

A German style Strawberry Bunt Cake with fresh & dried strawberries

A gugelhupf is basically a German and Swiss style bundt cake. The European version of bundt cakes use less sugar than their American counterparts.

A German style Strawberry Bunt Cake with fresh & dried strawberries

This version contains fresh and dried strawberries. Dried strawberries can be hard to get but if you live near a Trader Joe's, they have them. If not, try your local health food store.

I used pulverized fresh strawberries to color the glaze. No added food coloring in this recipe.

A German style Strawberry Bunt Cake with fresh & dried strawberries

One of the challenges of making a moist bundt cake is getting it out of the pan in one piece. I highly recommend greasing the bundt pan and then adding a layer of flour over the grease.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lavender Bee Sting Cake

Traditional Bee Sting Cake with Lavender pastry cream

So Summer is over. I'm pretending it's not because I plan on posting some of the best desserts I made these past months. 

For the first time in over 5 years of writing in this space I fell off the blog wagon in a significant way. First it was just because I've had the most amazing spring and summer filled with fantastic travel, great work, glittering events, new friends and experiences. Then it was because I was too damn exhausted from living such a great life to write about it. I felt guilty (what blogger doesn't when they neglect their "baby"?) but I needed a blog break, physically and mentally. 

Yeah. First world problems.

Traditional Bee Sting Cake with Lavender pastry cream

Anyway, I will be posting about these adventures and recipes in the coming months starting today by sharing this Lavender Bee Sting Cake I made for

Baby steps people, baby steps.

One of the most beloved traditional cakes in Germany is called bee sting cake or Bienenstich in German.

The top layer has honey encrusted almond leaves. Baked as one layer as a sheet cake,  it is then cut in half and traditionally stuffed with vanilla cream. 

Not once I got ahold of it.

Traditional Bee Sting Cake with Lavender pastry cream

My flavor twist of substituting lavender pastry cream reinvents this classic in a big way. The combination to the crunchy honey, nutty top with the smooth flowery pastry cream is heavenly.

This recipe yields a significant amount so I recommend making it for a party or, alternately, be sure you have lots of friends and family around to share it with.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sour Cherry Layer Torte with Poppy Seed Cream

This gorgeous, unusual dessert recipe was all over the German magazines when I was there last spring. 

I knew I had to make it and share it with you. The recipe features two dough like layers topped with sour cherries and poppy seed laced sweet whipped cream.

Both poppy seeds and sour cherries are used frequently in German desserts and here they make a nice flavor combination.

Straight up, this recipe takes some time to make. You can make create the dough part the day before. Place the two layers and dough balls in a zip lock to retain their freshness until you are ready to use them.