Tag Archives: cranberry

Nostalgia for a German/Austrian/Dutch breakfast.


Kim and I often feel nostalgic for our times abroad – the scenery, the people, the culture – and of course the food.

The other day, we were longing for the traditional breakfasts of central Europe. Or at least German, Austrian and Dutch breakfasts. We did a good job putting together a fantastically reminiscent meal of pretzel rolls, meats, cheeses, homemade Preiselbeeren jam (cranberry jam), homemade appelstroop (thick apple syrup), with tomato and cucumber.

When I was visiting a friend of mine in Cologne, Germany, her family’s breakfast table had an assortment of dense rolls, jams, chocolate spreads, cheeses and meats. My friend said she normally ate Meusli for breakfast during the week, but this was a special occasion, so they brought out the goods!

While Kim and I were eating our dinner, Kim said she could be in Austria right then, sitting in her host family’s kitchen. The only thing missing was the liverwurst pate!

Kim’s breakfast at our friend Barbara’s in Tettnang, Germany

When I was in Amsterdam for work, our hotel breakfast included slices of bread, salamis and ham, cheeses, tomato, cucumber, and of course Appelstroop.

Breakfast at my hotel in Amsterdam

A terrible photo of Appelstroop

So anyway, our dinner:

The Preisselbeeren jam and Appelstroop both turned out to be ridiculously easy to make.

Preiselbeeren Jam (Cranberry Jam)
On stovetop, cook cup of cranberries on medium heat. Spritz about half a lemon’s juice (a tablespoon) and add cinnamon, sugar. Cook until the cranberries have burst and become a spreadable delicacy!

preiselbeeren jam (with ricotta on bread)

Appelstroop (Apple Syrup)
The appelstroop is made of apple juice, lemon juice, whole anise, cinnamon and sugar. In a saucepan, add 6 cups of apple juice, two anise (seeds?) and a teaspoon or two of cinnamon. Boil until it’s 1/3 the amount, then add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to boil until it’s a syrupy mass. BUT DON’T BOIL TOO LONG 0r the sugar will thicken too much, and you and that pan will be spending a lot of time with each other, you scraping off incredibly goopy syrup with a knife.

Anise – similar in taste as fennel, liquorice or tarragon. Pairs well with cinnamon.

Review: It was delicious of course! I love discovering food, or new ways of eating the same food, in this case, from different regions of the world!

-Beth

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Sweet Potato Cranberry Strudel


Even I’m surprised that the last three entries of this blog are sweet potato recipes! But what can you do? Sweet potatoes are an amazing food, so why stop eating them? This most recent recipe, the strudel, is from a book I bought at borders for only a few dollars. But I probably would have spent more on it. It’s called Savory Baking. I love baked goods. I love the texture of quick breads, I love the variety of recipes, I love eating them with peanut butter and yogurt. I love pulling them out of the oven a couple minutes before the timer is set to go off. I love not waiting for the food to cool and burning my tongue, I love pastries, I love eating the batter. I just love it all.

But, sometimes, I don’t feel like eating cake and sweet muffins all the time. Because it’s not healthy, but also I just don’t feel like eating something sweet every time I feel like baking. That’s exactly the purpose of this book! I picked it up and immediately wanted to buy it, but then I opened the book to the Sweet Potato Cranberry Strudel I knew I was doomed. BOTH my favorite fall-time foods in ONE RECIPE and then WRAPPED IN PASTRY DOUGH. Can it get better? Maybe, but it’s so close to perfection why bother trying? I made it the other day and here’s the recipe.

Sweet Potato Cranberry Strudel

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins (calls for golden, but I used the more common darker kind)
1 medium sweet potato
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I only used 1/2 cup, which I thought was too much in the end)
1/2 pound (8 ounces) phyllo pasty, thawed
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces and finely chopped (I believe I used closer to a half cup, but perhaps I just over did it)
coarse sea salt

Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour hot water over them, set aside to plump for 10 minutes, then drain.

Put the chopped sweet potato in a medium saucepan, cover with hot water and cook on high heat until fork-tender. Do the same with carrots (which might take longer). Drain the potatoes and carrots.

Put butter in small saucepan over high heat until it turns at golden-brown color, then pour butter into a small dish and set aside.

Smash together the potatoes and carrots with 6 tablespoons of butter (I think few tablespoons would have tasted better, but that’s just me), and blend in the dried fruit. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Unroll the phyllo dough. While working, you might want to place a slightly damp towel over the yet-unused dough so it doesn’t dry out. Place a layer of dough onto your work baking sheet/work surface, brush butter over it, and sprinkle with your chopped toasted pecans and a little sea salt. Do 7 layers of this. On the last layer, spread the potato and carrot mixture on one of the long edges of the dough. Pack it tightly and roll it closed. Brush with butter and sprinkle with pecans and sea salt.

Place in oven for 25 minutes. When done, cut slowly with a serrated knife with sawing motions, or else your pastry will most definitely flake (still tastes the same, though)

I didn’t even put the proper amount of butter in. I just couldn’t do it. It’s so much butter. SO MUCH. It’s fine if I was only planning on eating a little bit, but I was planning on eating a lot of it, and I didn’t want that much butter. Phyllo dough usually calls for brushed butter in between each layer, so that it’s browned and delicious once baked. I was worried skimping on the butter would create poor results. Some parts of the dough were falling apart when I took it out of the oven, and I think it’s due to the fewer tablespoons of butter slathered in between the phyllo dough layers. But i wasn’t really complaining.

I couldn’t wait for it to come out of the oven, and after hurrying through photographing it (got a lot of blurry photos, unfortunately. Unprofessional? Maybe. Hungry? Very.). I sliced up a peice and ate into it. My first thought was that it was far too buttery than was necessary. I don’t need that much butter. I love butter to enhance foods, but when I’m eating something and I taste “butter” and not “pastry dough”, something is wrong. However, besides that, this recipe was absolutly delicious! I just couldn’t get enough of it! I ate a quarter of it before I felt sick (from the butter). The sweet potato was perfect and the cranberry and raisins added amazing and subtle sweetness. I want to make this again, but perhaps with something besides butter in between the dough. Maybe egg yolk or watered down sweet potato puree? Or if that doesn’t work, I could use a thicker dough to eliminate the need for all the layer of butter. I also might try it with seasonings. I’m surprised it didn’t have any! It was delcious as it, though.

This recipe is great for a holiday party or family gathering. I think everybody will love it.