Tag Archives: Swiss

Hefeschnecken (Sweet Rolls with Hazelnut-Raisin Filling)

Alright, one recipe for you. (Blogging after being away for such a long time is hard!) Sugary, sticky, pull apart rolls filled with ground hazelnut, grated apple and raisins! In German they’re called “Hefeschnecken” which literally means “yeast snails”. Ick, I prefer my English title. 😀

By the way, the recipe I used is from my favorite Swiss cookbook, Tiptopf. I think it’s the one all the kids use when they learn to cook at school. It’s the best!

Enjoy!

Hefeschnecken (recipe from Tiptopf)

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Dough

300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

60 g (2 tbsp) butter, at room temp.

20 g fresh (2 1/4 tsp active dry) yeast

100 ml milk

1 egg

Filling

3 tbsp apricot jam (I used plum)

150 g ground hazelnuts

3 tbsp sugar

1 apple, grated (with peel is fine)

1/2 cup raisins

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

4-6 tbsp milk or cream, at room temp.

Glaze

5 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp water

METHOD

For the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter, mixing lightly with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Stir together yeast and milk. Allow to sit and “activate” for ca. 5 minutes. Then, whisk in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients and mix, gradually bringing the dry into the wet. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then cover, put in a warm place and allow it to rest until doubled in size.
For the nut filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together ground nuts, sugar, raisins, grated apple, lemon zest and juice and milk or cream. Note: the filling should be moist, but not runny.
For assembly:
  1. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, 3 mm thick.
  2. Spread the apricot jam over the surface of the dough, followed by the nut filling. Then distribute the raisins evenly over the top.
  3. From one end of the dough, start rolling. Once rolled, hold the outermost dough layer in place and slice into 5 cm thick disks.
  4. Lay the disks cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the bottom half of a cold oven. Turn on the heat to 220 C and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly prepare the glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. When the rolls are about ready to come out of the oven, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water until combined.
  2. With a pastry brush, spread evenly over the hot rolls.


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Swiss Zuepfe

I’ve already posted about this incredible Swiss non-bread here. (I still think it’s bread, but in Switzerland, it’s just “Zuepfe”. Okay.) I’m just so proud…because it’s so preeeety! And seriously the only bread that works for me every single time. But here’s the recipe again, including U.S. measurements this time.

This was the perfect Thanksgiving bread.

Enjoy!

Swiss Zuepfe (recipe from TipTopf and also posted here)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 cups or 500 g all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 tsp active dry

1 1/3 cups or 300 ml lukewarm milk

1 egg lightly whisked, plus 1/2 an egg yolk

METHOD

  1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes or until slightly frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter. Use your fingertips to work the butter and flour in together, creating a uniform mixture.
  4. Whisk together egg and egg yolk. Add half to your yeast and milk mixture; stir to combine.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Knead for 10 minutes (by hand or in your stand mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Once dough has risen, place it onto a clean surface and cut in half. Roll the dough back and forth with your hands until you end up with two  equal-lengthed 18-inch strands. The middle of the strands should be thicker and the ends, thinner.
  8. Braid the dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate and let rise for 15 minutes. (This last proof is optional.)
  9. Then with remaining egg, brush two layers of egg onto the dough.
  10. Place braid in cold oven, set oven to 425 F / 220 C and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the bread, knocking on the bottom for doneness. It should sound hollow. Allow to cool, then slice and serve!

Feelin’ Fine French Pear Tart

I can’t explain why, but lately I just feel like celebrating—celebrating Spring, family, and my peaceful life. And I have chosen to show my gratitude the best way I know how: by baking.

I couldn’t wait to get home yesterday and make this French pear tart. It’s another Dorie masterpiece: elegant pear fans baked into a rich almond cream sitting atop a light, buttery crust. (Oh my goodness, I’m almost drooling over my own words.)

This may look complicated to make, but really it isn’t. I was pleasantly surprised at how uncomplicated it actually was to put everything together. The only adjustment I made to the recipe was to use a sweet pastry dough recipe from my Swiss TipTopf cookbook. The thing I love most about this dough is that I can do it by hand. Maybe it’s just me, but I love the feeling of cold butter and flour rubbing between my fingertips. For once, it’s actually a good thing to have cold hands (besides the whole “cold hands, warm heart” thing :P)—the butter doesn’t melt when I mix it into the flour.

Apart from the dough, I followed everything Dorie said to do. You know, it really does pay off to the follow directions and to measure exactly (and I was exact down to the gram). I don’t know why my pears are so brown. I’m not too upset about it because the taste more than made up for the slightly odd appearance. The golden crust is flaky and crisp, the pears are tender (but not mushy) and the almond cream—infused with sweet pear juice—is so incredibly smoooooth.

So will I be making this again? Oh, yes! What a way to celebrate all the good things in life!

Enjoy!

French Pear Tart (adapted from TipTopf and Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours)

Makes one 26 cm springform tart

Sweet Tart Pastry (Muerbeteig)

200 g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

100 g very cold unsalted butter, diced

2-3 tsp evaporated cane sugar

zest of 1/2 an organic lemon, grated

1 egg, at room temp. , whisked

2 tbsp cold water

Almond Cream

3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.

150 g evaporated cane sugar

150 g ground almonds

1 large egg

1 tsp flour

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla extract

Tart

3 pears

METHOD

Sweet Tart Pastry

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add the butter and with your fingertips, gently rub flour and butter together until evenly combined.
  2. Mix in the sugar and grated lemon zest.
  3. Make a well in the dry mixture. Pour the egg and water into the well and with a fork, very quickly whisk the flour into the egg (working from the outside in). Once the dough starts forming, use your hands to gently pat it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Or you can press the dough into the springform first—I put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand to do this, in order to avoid sticking and overhandling—and then chill.)
  4. While the dough is chilling, pre-heat the oven to 428 F (220 C).
  5. Fit a piece of tin foil tightly against the dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes on the center rack. Once finished baking, carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed up, use the back of a spoon to gently push it back down.

Almond Cream

  1. Put the butter and sugar in the workbowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the ground almonds and continue to process until well blended.
  2. Add the flour and cornstarch, process, and then add the egg.  Process for about 15 seconds more, or until the almond cream is homogeneous. Add the rum or vanilla and process just to blend.

If you prefer, you can make the cream in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl with a rubber spatula.  In either case, the ingredients are added in the same order.  Scrape the almond cream into a container and either use it immediately or refrigerate it until firm, about 2 hours.

Assembly

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Have a lined baking sheet at the ready.
  2. If you are using fresh (unpoached) pears, peel them now.  If you are using poached or unpoached pears, cut them in half from blossom to stem and core them; rub the unpoached pears with lemon juice.  Whatever pears you have, make sure to pat them dry – really dry – so that their liquid won’t keep the almond cream from baking.
  3. Fill the baked crust with the almond cream, spreading it even with an offset metal icing spatula.
  4. Thinly slice each pear half crosswise, lift each half on a spatula, press down on the pear to fan it slightly and place it, wide-end toward the edge of the crust, over the almond cream.  The halves will form spokes.
  5. Put the crust on the lined baking sheet, slide the sheet into the oven and bake the tart 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns.  Transfer the tart to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature before unmolding.
  6. Right before serving, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar.  If you prefer, prepare a glaze by bringing about 1/4 cup apple jelly and1/2 teaspoon water to the boil.  Brush the glaze over the surface of the tart.

Valentine’s Day Cookies

So sweet of me, I know—to bake cookies and then ship them far, far away and beyond…to Lima. Little did I know that this modest, little Valentine’s gesture would cost $23 JUST TO SHIP.

I’m kind of worried that in the 10 days it will take these cookies to reach Peru, they will have hardened, broken and become almost inedible. When I think about the surprised look on his face when he finds this package from me, however, none of that really matters. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Super easy to whip up, I don’t have too much to say about this Swiss cookie recipe. The one thing I learned—the hard way—is to NOT OVERBAKE. They are egg white-based, so it seems only logical that they would bake up pretty quickly. Duh. Well, I didn’t think of that and was only watching for light browning. As a result, my cookies came out slightly firmer than I would have preferred. Then again, I’ve never made these before, so maybe they’re meant to be a little crunchy?

After baking and cooling, I iced some cookies with a simple frosting and also sandwiched a few together with a layer of blackberry jam.

Tasty, little cookies—I like the nutty-gritty texture from the ground almonds and the citrusy twang from the lemon zest, but am not in love with the crunch, though this is probably my fault for over-baking. (-_-“) I’m hoping the ones with frosting and jam will soften up over time. It is also summer in Lima right now, i.e. high humidity, so maybe by the time Dennis eats them, they’ll be a bit softer.

Btw, if you don’t happen to have empty cookie tins lying around at home—like me—make a trip to The Container Store. They have round and rectangular tins of various sizes. I also picked up a box and all other packaging materials from there. I heart The Container Store. (^_^)

Mandelleckerli / Swiss Almond Bites (adapted from foodnews.ch)

makes 60-65 smallish cookies

INGREDIENTS

Cookies

250 g butter, at room temp.

250 g sugar

375 g all-purpose flour

250 g ground almonds

2 egg whites, whipped until stiff peaks form

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

grated zest of 1 lemon

a pinch of salt

Simple Frosting (optional)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup tbsp boiling water

a few drops vanilla extract

food coloring

METHOD

For the Cookies

  1. With a stand- or hand-mixer, whip the butter until smooth and light. Gently fold in the sugar, lemon zest, almonds, cinnamon, salt and whipped egg whites. Lastly, gradually fold in the flour.
  2. Lightly knead the dough until it just comes together. Put in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, cut the dough into 5-6 pieces. Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, individually roll out each piece of dough until ca. 3 mm thick and use your choice of cookie-cutter to cut out the cookies. (I used 2 rulers as measuring guides and between which I rolled out the dough, in order to ensure even dough thickness and later, even baking.)
  4. Dip an icing spatula (or butter knife) in flour and then carefully transfer the cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Place the tray in the refrigerator for ca. 10 minutes.
  5. While the cookies are cooling, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
  6. Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes—not longer. (The dough is made with egg whites; they harden quickly.)
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in an air-tight cookie tin.

For the Frosting (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, boiling water and vanilla extract. If necessary, add more water— until the frosting reaches your desired thickness.
  2. Mix in a few drops of food coloring until the frosting reaches the desired coloring.
  3. Decorate the cookies to your liking. Allow to sit overnight on a wire rack before storing.

Swiss Apple Tart (Zuercherpfarrhaustorte)

P1060740I’m confused–is it summer or fall? If it really is summer (it IS August), then why am I wearing a scarf every day, and why am I already thinking about booking my plane ticket home for Thanksgiving? Because this is San Francisco, and like Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Though I must have heard this quote at least 10 times since moving here, it is actually true.

This last weekend, I left the chill of the city to go Gravenstein apple-picking and picnicking in Sebastopol, a cute town about 50 miles North of San Francisco. I know–Sebasto-what? Sebasto-hole? No–Sebasto-pol! As in the Gravenstein apple CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

It was altogether loads of fun–turning out to be an all-day apple-picnic extravaganza! I left with about 5 lbs. of fruit and a brain full of all the fab things I wanted to make–apple butter, apple jam, apple tart, and apple tarte tatin!!

The bounty of Sebastopol before my eyes, I set out to find the ultimate apple pastry–as in apples in the crust, apples in the filling and apples in the topping.

I didn’t find a recipe with apple in the crust (I suppose I could have just added it–you know like when you add lemon or orange zest–but maybe I will next time. Grated apple essence crust? Has anyone ever done this before?). However, I did find one that utilized apples in both filling and topping, namely a “Zuercher Pfarrhaustorte” (Zurich rectory tart) that I came across on 1x umruehren bitte. Apparently, it’s another Betti Bossi recipe–the Betty Crocker of Switzerland!

I eschewed all plans I had made that Sunday–skipping Ballet in the park and a birthday party (not a close friend; someone’s mom)–staying home instead to put together this ravishing pastry. And I’m so glad I did; I enjoyed every minute–even grinding the hazelnuts by hand with my pestle & mortar (I haven’t gotten round to buying a voltage converter for my food processor yet.)

This tart is perfect for these fresh summer days in the city–it’s all hazelnuts, grated apple and flaky, butter tart crust. According to Zora, the hazelnuts are replaceable with almonds. I also didn’t have quince jam, so I used apricot. Lovely, lovely (>^_^)<

Zürcher Pfarrhaustorte (from 1x umruehren bitte and Betti Bossi)
30 cm tart pan

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shortcrust pastry (recipe see below)

150 g hazelnuts, grated
2 eggs (M)
80 g sugar
1 ts cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
2 apples, grated

4 apples, peeled, halved, cored and finely incised
2 tb quince jelly, melted (I used apricot.)

Roll out the pastry and line tart pan with baking paper and pastry. Poke small holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Put in fridge, until the rest of ingredients are ready.

Preheat oven to 220 C.

Sperate eggs.
Mix yolks, hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and grated apples.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, fold them gently into the hazelnut/apple mix.

Spread the hazelnut/apple mix over the pastry. Put the halved apples on top, cut side down.
Coat apple halves with quince jelly.

Bake tart for 35 minutes.

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Swiss Custard Pie (Nidlechueche)

This is a traditional Swiss pie from the Romandie. It’s quite tricky to get the texture of the custard and the crust right. I made this for D.’s 28th birthday. I hope he likes it!  

Despite appearances (this image is from my pre-photography class days), the pie was a nice combination of creamy, curdy, bounce and crisp crust. 

Makes one 9 inch pie (8-10 slices).

Swiss Custard Pie (Nidlechueche)

TART DOUGH INGREDIENTS
300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

100 g very cold butter

5-6 tbsp cold water

CUSTARD INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp flour

4 tbsp sugar

a dash cinnamon

2 large eggs

300 ml heavy cream

1/4 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare the dough: In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.

2. With a knife, flake the butter into the mixing bowl.  Then, with your fingertips, gently rub the butter and flour together until evenly combined (small grains).

3. Add cold water.  Then quickly mix together.  Do not knead.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or put into the freezer until completely chilled through.

5. While the dough is chilling, prepare the custard: In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

6. Whisk in the 2 room temperature eggs, combining well (until dry ingredients are completely dissolved).

7. Add the room temperature heavy cream and vanilla to the mixture.  Mix well.

8. To assemble: Pre-heat oven to 240 deg. C. Grease and flour one 9 inch pie pan.

9. Pour custard into the pie pan.

10. Pour custard into the pie pan.

11. Place pie into the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.

12. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool. Do not refrigerate.

Better-than-Bread Bernese Sunday Loaf (Berner Zuepfe)

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In Switzerland, there’s bread and then there’s Zuepfe. I lived in the country for 4 years; I was in a relationship with a Swiss man for 10 (too long) years—and yet, I still don’t understand the distinction. It’s a really dense, milky butter yeast bread that is great eaten slathered with buttered and layered on with ripe Gruyere or is tasty just on its own, still slightly warm from the oven. Thinking about it, I suppose it really is more than just bread. It’s hearty, it’s rich, and is a staple for every Sunday breakfast or brunch.

Confusion aside, Bernese Zuepfe is the ultimate in yeast breads. Not being Swiss myself, Zuepfe making and baking did not come naturally. It took quite a few tries (i.e. failures) and taste tests to get it just right. I knew I had finally arrived when I served it for Swiss guests and got to watch them devour the entire loaf >(^o^)<

The key to this bread is proofing—well-risen dough will produce a light and airy loaf. Adding a little egg yolk to the dough supposedly makes it even lighter; however, this also makes the loaf go stale faster. I’m also convinced that using really good butter and fresh yeast yields a better product.

Bernese Sunday Loaf (Berner Zuepfe) (Recipe from TipTopf)

INGREDIENTS

500 g plain flour (I use bread flour)

1 1/2 coffee-spoonfuls salt

1 coffee-spoonful sugar

60 g unsalted butter, at room temp.

15 g fresh yeast or 2 tsp active dry

300 ml lukewarm milk

1 egg lightly whisked, plus 1/2 an egg yolk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes or until slightly frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix flour salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter. Use your fingertips to work the butter and flour in together, creating a uniform mixture.
  4. Add a little egg into your yeast and milk mixture. Mix.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Knead for 10 minutes (by hand or in stand mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Once dough has risen, place it onto a clean surface and cut in half. Roll the dough back and forth with your hands until you end up with two  equal-lengthed 18 inch snake-like strands. The middle of the strands should be thicker and the ends, thinner.
  8. Braid the dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate and let rise for 15 minutes. (This last proof is optional.)
  9. Then with remaining egg, brush two layers of egg onto the dough.
  10. Place braid in cold oven, set oven to 220 C and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the bread, knocking on the bottom for doneness. It should sound hollow. Allow to cool and then slice and serve!

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Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

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One thing I really miss since moving from Switzerland to Singapore is Swiss bread. It doesn’t matter where you bought it or what kind it was, it was always good – the right texture, lightness and flavor. As an American, I never knew plain bread could have so much flavor by itself until I moved to Switzerland.

The recipe is from TipTopf, a cookbook that every Swiss person seems to own. (I can understand why—it never disappoints.) This bread is excellent – way better than anything you can buy here in Singapore. Crunchy on the outside, thick, airy and aromatic on the inside. Its great plain or slathered with butter and your favorite jam or honey. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Bread (recipe from TipTopf)

INGREDIENTS

400 g whole wheat flour

100 g plain flour

2 tsp dry active yeast

350 ml lukewarm water

1 1/2 tsp table salt

1 tbsp olive oil

50-100 g walnuts, roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix together yeast and water. Allow to stand 15 minutes or until yeast froths.
  2. Measure out flours and salt. Combine and mix thoroughly.
  3. In a stand mixer, pour in dry ingredients. Create a well with your hand.
  4. Into the well, pour in liquids (oil, yeast and water). Mix for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. If you want to add nuts, do so about a minute into the mixing process.
  5. Put dough in a floured bowl and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough onto the sheet and place into the bottom half of a COLD oven. Bake at 220 deg. C for 40 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

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Chocolate Banana Nut Cake

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This cake is really easy to put together. I ended up halving the recipe and keeping the original bake time, which in the end worked out very well. This might have to do with the fact that I used an 8 inch cake pan rather than a 10 inch as the recipe called for. Actually, I would recommend making only half if you are just making it for your family.

The cake is dense, banana-rich and spongey. I also only had ground almonds and whole almonds on hand, so that is what I used in place of the hazelnuts or walnuts.

(I made this cake a few months back and for the life of me, can’t remember where I got the recipe from!!! I did a googlesearch but was unable to find any one similar to this one. I have feeling, however, that I adapted it from a “Hauscake” recipe out of TipTopf, a Swiss cookbook.)

Chocolate Banana Nut Cake

Ingredients

6 oz unsalted butter, diced

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used good-quality dark 70%)

1 1/2 cups plain flour

190 g fine sugar

1/2 cup ground walnuts (I used almonds)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups (450 g) very ripe bananas, lightly mashed

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans (I used almonds)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Greased and lined a 10 inch cake pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler till it is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Sift together flour and baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar, ground hazelnuts, and salt. Blend thoroughly.

3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla extract and banana just until combined. Set aside.

4. Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined and thick. Stir into the banana mixture until well combined.

5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 mins. Remove and sprinkle chopped pecan nuts over the top and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 mins until skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool cake on rack. Serve either plain or a dollop of whipped cream.

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