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Anja Dunk’s Christmas cakes, bakes and chocolate recipes | Christmas food and drink

Schneeflocken Marzipankuchen marzipan snowflake cake

This cake takes its inspiration from a Linzer biscuit. Two almondy cake halves sandwiched along with a raspberry centre. Raspberry jam has change into the preserve of selection in a contemporary Linzer biscuit however the Linzer tart (of which the biscuits are a descendant) was initially full of tart blackcurrant jam. To be sincere, as long as the jam has some punch to it I don’t assume it issues which one you select. I’ve used damson, bitter cherry and redcurrant jelly in addition to the aforementioned, however strawberry and apricot can be too candy.

Fairly than ice this, I’ve performed round with paper-cut snowflakes as icing sugar templates and the outcomes are fantastically festive; a doily, too, works simply as nicely.

Serves 6
unsalted butter 100g, at room temperature
caster sugar 75g
eggs 2, separated, whites whisked to stiff peaks
marzipan 100g, grated
plain flour 75g
floor almonds 25g
floor cinnamon 1 tsp
baking powder 1 tsp
raspberry jam 4 tbsp
icing sugar for dusting

Warmth the oven to 160C fan/gasoline mark 4 and grease and line 2 x 20cm spherical cake tins.

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Put the butter and sugar into a big bowl and beat with a hand-held electrical whisk till gentle and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and whisk once more till mixed. Add the grated marzipan, flour, floor almonds, cinnamon and baking powder, then stir till nicely combined.

Fold the whisked egg whites into the batter, then divide the combination evenly between the 2 cake tins and clean the tops with a spatula. Bake within the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes till golden brown and springy to the contact. Flip the muffins out on to a wire rack to chill.

As soon as cool, put one cake on to a plate, spoon the jam on high and unfold it out evenly. Place the second cake on high.

Minimize out a spherical piece of paper simply bigger than the cake. Fold it into 4 and minimize an intricate snowflake design out of it. Unfold the piece of paper and lay it on high of the cake. Mud the highest with icing sugar earlier than rigorously eradicating the paper. You have to be left with a stupendous delicate snowflake on high of your cake.

Saved in an hermetic container, this cake will hold nicely for as much as 3 days.

Spekulatius spiced almond biscuits

Spekulatius – spiced almond biscuits.
{Photograph}: Anja Dunk

These biscuits are conventional Creation candy treats in each the Netherlands, the place they’re often eaten round 6 December (St Nikolaus day), and in Germany, the place they’re eaten all through the entire run-up to Christmas. Normally they’re adorned with pictures regarding Nikolaus, and most of the time have windmills depicted on them.

You can even purchase particular wood rolling pins with pictured squares carved into them particularly for rolling this dough out at dwelling. I don’t have one in every of these and I definitely don’t have the persistence to create the intricate ornament it could contain with out utilizing one. As an alternative I take advantage of fairly cutters (I feel snowflakes work finest) to chop out festive shapes. Normally almond Spekulatius have a flaked almond base, however I’ve switched issues up and adorned mine with them on high as an alternative. These snappy (by this I imply crunchy and good to snap) biscuits are finest eaten alongside a black espresso and are additionally sensible crushed right into a powder and combined with melted butter to create a Christmas cheesecake or chocolate torte base.

Makes about 30
plain flour 150g, plus additional for dusting
rye flour 50g
bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
floor cinnamon 1½ tsp
floor cloves ¼ tsp
grated nutmeg ¼ tsp
caster sugar 120g
advantageous sea salt a pinch
unsalted butter 125g, at room temperature
egg 1, crushed
milk for brushing
flaked almonds 50g, for adorning

Put all of the dry substances into a big mixing bowl and stir with a wood spoon. Add the butter and combine it into the flour utilizing your fingertips till it has the consistency of advantageous breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and convey every little thing collectively right into a dough together with your palms. (Alternatively, merely put all of the substances into the bowl of an electrical free-standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and combine till an excellent dough is fashioned.)

Warmth the oven to 170C fan/gasoline mark 5 and line 2 giant baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.

Roll out the dough on a evenly floured floor to a 3mm thickness. Minimize out shapes together with your cookie cutter and gently switch them on to the ready baking sheets, leaving 1cm between every to permit for spreading. Reroll the dough offcuts into extra biscuits. Brush the tops with milk, then sprinkle some flaked almonds on to every one, urgent them down gently to make sure they stick.

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Bake within the oven for 10-12 minutes till golden throughout. Enable to chill on the sheets for a minute earlier than transferring to a wire rack to chill fully.

They may retailer nicely in an hermetic container for as much as 4 weeks.

Schweizer Spitzen – Swiss peaks

Schweizer Spitzen – Swiss peaks.
Schweizer Spitzen – Swiss peaks. {Photograph}: Anja Dunk

A celebratory chocolate that appears showstoppingly good but is a cinch to make. In Germany, Kirschwasser, a double-distilled morello cherry brandy, is usually used with chocolate, most famously in a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, and these little Swiss peaks aren’t any exception – typically I additionally sit a bitter cherry on the backside of the foil case earlier than piping the chocolate in.

Makes about 30
double cream 100ml
darkish chocolate (50% cocoa solids) 200g, damaged into items
unsalted butter or coconut oil 30g
Kirschwasser or cherry brandy 1 tbsp

Warmth the cream in a saucepan over a medium warmth, stirring every now and then to keep away from it scorching on the underside. Take it off the warmth simply earlier than it involves a boil. Add the chocolate and butter or coconut oil, and stir with a wood spoon till each are dissolved. Combine within the Kirschwasser and beat for a minute till clean and shiny. Refrigerate for 45 minutes so it stiffens up barely.

Lay out small foil chocolate instances on a baking sheet. Give the combination a superb stir by means of once more, then spoon it right into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star-shaped nozzle. Pipe the combination, with a swirling movement, into the foil instances, lifting the nozzle up on the very finish to create a peak.

Saved in an hermetic container, these will hold nicely for two weeks. They don’t must be refrigerated however I feel they’re notably good when a bit chilly, so I prefer to refrigerate them quarter-hour earlier than serving.

Christbrot – Christmas bread with dried fruit

Christbrot – Christmas bread with dried fruit.
{Photograph}: Anja Dunk

Christbrot is similar to a Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas stollen), however lighter in texture, and is finest eaten freshly baked while not having time to mature. This is without doubt one of the explanation why a Christbrot is extra well-liked to bake at dwelling than a Stollen annually. It isn’t laborious to make Christbrot however the technique includes a triple rise, so that you’ll must set a morning or afternoon apart should you select to make it.

Makes 1 loaf (serves about 6)
combined peel 75g
raisins 50g
currants 50g
darkish rum 1 tbsp
plain flour 300g, plus additional for dusting
caster sugar 40g
advantageous sea salt ½ tsp
lemon finely grated zest of ½
orange finely grated zest of ½
unsalted butter 50g, melted
egg 1
recent yeast 18g, or 9g of dried
complete milk 70ml, tepid
flaked almonds 50g, to coat
unsalted butter 50g, melted
vanilla sugar 40g (available online, or see observe under)
icing sugar 40g

Put the combined peel, raisins and currants right into a bowl, pour over the rum and put aside to infuse whilst you put together the dough.

Put the flour, sugar, salt and citrus zests into a big bowl and combine along with a wood spoon, then add the melted butter and egg.

Crumble the yeast (or sprinkle if utilizing dried) into the tepid milk and stir to dissolve. Pour the yeasted milk into the flour combination and, utilizing your palms, convey the substances collectively right into a tough dough. Tip the dough on to a floured floor and knead for about 10 minutes till it turns into extra elastic. Type it right into a ball and nestle it into the underside of the bowl. Cowl the bowl with a tea towel and put aside in a heat spot to rise for 1-3 hours till nearly doubled in dimension. (Alternatively, put the flour, sugar, salt and citrus zests into the bowl of a free-standing electrical mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the butter and egg. Pour within the yeasted milk and knead for five minutes till the dough is elastic. Cowl the bowl and put aside, as above.)

Knock the dough again together with your fist and add the almonds and boozy dried fruit (together with any liquid). Knead the fruit and nuts by means of for a couple of minutes till evenly integrated. Type the dough right into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cowl with the tea towel and put aside in a heat spot for about 20 minutes for a brief second rise.

Type the dough right into a spherical loaf form and place it on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking parchment. Cowl with a tea towel and depart someplace heat to rise for a last half-hour.

Warmth the oven to 170C fan/gasoline mark 5.

Bake within the oven for 35-40 minutes till brown throughout and cooked by means of, checking after 25 minutes; whether it is getting too brown cowl it with a chunk of foil for the rest of the baking time.

Switch to a wire rack and brush with the melted butter repeatedly till all of the butter is used up. Sprinkle with the vanilla sugar, then sift over the icing sugar.

That is finest eaten inside a few hours after it’s baked. Or you possibly can wrap it in foil and retailer in an hermetic tin; it should hold for as much as 3 days, after which it’s nonetheless advantageous to toast for an additional 2 days.

Notice: Vanilla sugar may be very simple to make your self. Pop a break up vanilla pod right into a jar of caster sugar and letting it infuse for a few days, or alternatively blitz half a vanilla pod with a small bag of caster sugar in a food processor for an instantaneous model. At a push you possibly can simply use caster sugar, which can nonetheless be candy and soften into the nice and cozy dough, but it surely received’t have the vanilla notes.

Glücksbringer – fortunate charms

Glücksbringer – lucky charms.
Glücksbringer – fortunate charms. {Photograph}: Anja Dunk

These little biscuits are full of recent yr’s luck – formed like cash for prosperity, stuffed with gold from the egg yolk and adorned with a “fortunate” mushroom – you’re sure to have a superb yr forward should you eat one.

Makes about 35
plain flour 150g
advantageous sea salt a pinch
unsalted butter 80g, at room temperature
icing sugar 50g, plus additional for dusting and icing
egg yolks 2
vanilla extract ½ tsp
milk for brushing
flaked almonds to brighten
glacé cherries halved, to brighten

Warmth the oven to 170C fan/gasoline mark 5. Line 2 giant baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.

Put the flour, salt and butter in a mixing bowl and, utilizing your fingertips, work the butter into the flour till the combination resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and combine it by means of. Now add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and convey every little thing collectively right into a dough together with your palms. Knead for a couple of minutes.

Mud the work floor with icing sugar and roll the dough out to a 3mm thickness. Utilizing a fluted cookie cutter, minimize out circles and place on the ready baking sheets, leaving 1cm between every. Reroll all of the dough offcuts into extra biscuits. Brush the highest of every with milk and place 1 flaked almond on the biscuit with a degree within the centre.

Bake for 8-10 minutes till golden brown. Let the biscuits cool on the sheet for a minute earlier than transferring to a wire rack to chill fully.

Lay a glacé cherry half on the centre finish of every almond to create a mushroom high. Combine 1 tablespoon of icing sugar with a few drops of water to create a thick paste. Use the prong of a fork or a cocktail stick with dip into the icing. Now dot the iced prong on to the glacé cherry to create little white spots on the crimson “mushroom”.

Walnuß marzipan – chocolate-coated walnut marzipan

Walnuß marzipan – chocolate-coated walnut marzipan.
Walnuß marzipan – chocolate-coated walnut marzipan. {Photograph}: Anja Dunk

These little sweets took place one autumn once we discovered the bottom on our typical path to highschool scattered with walnuts. After dropping the boys off I rushed dwelling, scooping up as many nuts alongside the way in which as I might carry.

Again within the kitchen all kinds of walnut creations passed off; this one I wrote down in my pocket book for Christmas. The flavours come from a German-Polish-border biscuit that Helga, our late German neighbour in Wales, used to placed on her bunter teller. I requested her one yr for the recipe, however she was reluctant to move it on. The biscuit base was unfold with apricot jam, a layer of marzipan subsequent, adopted by half a walnut crown all wrapped up in a glaze of vodka icing.

In a single bite-sized biscuit, they swept me on to chilly snowy cobbled streets with folks’s breath hanging in clouds beneath the glow of road lamps. There was simply one thing about them that appeared so old style that was laborious to place my finger on – the vodka by some means introduced a mysterious feeling of chilly into your mouth.

Makes about 20 squares
walnuts 200g, or walnut items
icing sugar 75g, sifted
vodka 1-2 tbsp
darkish chocolate 180g
coconut oil ½ tsp
flaky sea salt to sprinkle on high

Place the walnuts in a food processor and blitz for about 2 minutes till finely floor, then scrape down the perimeters of the processor and blitz once more for a few minutes till the oils are launched from the nuts and the combination clumps collectively.

Add the icing sugar together with 1 tablespoon of vodka and blitz once more till a clean paste kinds. You could want so as to add a bit extra vodka relying on how recent the nuts are.

Type the marzipan right into a rectangle 1cm deep and refrigerate for half-hour. Put the chocolate and coconut oil right into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a small saucepan with 1cm of water within the backside. Flip the warmth on low and watch for the chocolate to soften. As soon as it begins melting, stir in order that the coconut oil is evenly dispersed. Take off the warmth as soon as the chocolate is shiny and fluid.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Minimize the marzipan into 1cm squares and, utilizing a fork held horizontally with the tines pointing upwards to steadiness the marzipan on, dip every sq. rigorously into the chocolate, in order that it’s fully lined. Elevate gently onto the baking paper and proceed till all squares are lined. Sprinkle every sq. with a bit flaky sea salt and enable to set earlier than boxing up.

Saved in an hermetic container, these hold nicely for as much as per week.

Flammkuchen – German ‘pizza’

Flammkuchen – German ‘pizza’.
Flammkuchen – German ‘pizza’. {Photograph}: Anja Dunk

Flammkuchen, typically dubbed “German pizza”, is a really skinny and crisp piece of dough topped with soured cream, onions and Schinken (cured ham). It originates from the German/French border area of Alsace – historically baked in a wooden oven, it was invented by bakers to check the temperature of their ovens; if the oven was scorching sufficient for bread, the Flammkuchen would solely take a minute to prepare dinner.

The dough is definitely similar to a strudel dough or tough filo (simply flour, oil and water) and is extremely simple to make. It’s necessary when making this at dwelling to warmth the baking sheet up within the oven first as this ensures a crisp base, or when you’ve got a pizza stone that’s even higher. I’ve given some options for my favorite various flavour combos under the recipe, however actually something goes for the dough.

Makes 2 (serves 2 as a fundamental or 4-6 as a snack)
For the bottom
plain flour 200g, plus additional for dusting
rapeseed oil 3 tbsp
water 80ml
advantageous sea salt a pinch

For the topping
soured cream or creme fraiche 150ml
onion 1 small, finely diced
brown mushrooms 150g, finely sliced
flaky sea salt
rapeseed oil for drizzling
recent thyme leaves ½ tbsp

Warmth the oven to 200C fan/gasoline mark 7. Place 2 giant baking sheets within the oven to warmth.

To make the dough, put all the substances into a big bowl and combine utilizing your palms. Knead for a few minutes till a supple, silky dough is fashioned. Divide the dough in half. On a floured floor, roll every half out as thinly as potential. As long as it suits on the baking sheet it doesn’t matter what form it’s, though I intention for a tough oval.

Take the sheets out of the oven and lay the dough on high; this generally is a little fiddly – I take advantage of a pizza shovel to do that however a big flat spatula or a hand supporting the underside centre of the dough whilst you transfer it additionally works.

Working rapidly, unfold the soured cream evenly throughout each bit of dough and scatter the onion and mushrooms excessive. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with a bit rapeseed oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes till the perimeters are crisp and the Flammkuchen is beginning to burnish on high. Sprinkle with thyme, slice into parts and serve instantly.

VARIATIONS
Schinken
– substitute the mushrooms with 200g finely diced Schinken or streaky bacon.
Goat’s cheese and honey – change the mushrooms for 200g goat’s cheese. Drizzle 1 tbsp honey on every portion, and sprinkle with thyme and some snipped chives earlier than serving.
Pesto and tomato – add 2 tbsp pesto to the soured cream and change the mushrooms for 180g cherry tomatoes (halved). Add a handful of rocket on the finish as an alternative of the thyme.
Purple pepper and black olive – add ½ tsp candy paprika to the soured cream. Swap the mushrooms for a finely sliced crimson pepper. Slice a handful of black olives in half and scatter them over each Flammkuchen. Add some recent basil as soon as it’s out of the oven.

Recipes from Creation: Festive German Bakes to Have fun the Coming of Christmas by Anja Dunk (Quadrille, £25). To order a replica for £21.75 go to guardianbookshop.com. Supply fees might apply

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