Lauren and I are pretty adventurous when it comes to food and one of our favorite ways to experience other cultures is through their different cuisines. When our pals over at The Expat Hub asked us to share a guest post with recipes for Germany’s popular foods, it was a no brainer! Enjoy and happy cooking!
Often people think that sauerkraut, frankfurters and beer are the extent of German cuisine, but there’s so much more to this nation’s rich food culture. Here are recipes to some of Germany’s most popular treats!
Stollen is a traditional German fruit cake made during the Christmas period but is a fantastic sweet treat to enjoy any time of the year. Although stollen dates back to medieval times the spiced cake sold at Christmas markets today is very different from the stollen of old! Nowadays stollen is so popular that Dresden holds Stollenfest every year – a festival devoted to celebrating the sweetened yeast bread, as well as other German Christmas specialities. This recipe for stollen includes a marzipan surprise!
This Stollen recipe takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to prepare and cook
• 350g White Bread Flour
• 200g Marzipan
• 175 ml Full Fat Milk Warmed to 45 degrees C or 110 degrees F
• 160g Mixed Fruit Peel Diced
• 75g Caster Sugar
• 75g Unsalted Butter Softened
• 65g Sultanas
• 55g Glace Cherries Sliced
• 45g Raisins
• 2 tsp Dried Yeast
• 1 Large Egg/2 Small Eggs
• 1 ½ tbsp Icing Sugar
• 1 ½ tsp Salt
• ¼ tsp Mixed Spice
• ½ tsp Cinnamon
• Put the warm milk in a bowl and add the yeast. Stir gently until the yeast has completely dissolved and leave for around ten minutes.
• Once the yeast mixture is creamy transfer it to a large bowl. Add ¾ of the flour, the caster sugar, butter, egg and salt. Mix vigorously.
• Gradually add the last of the flour making sure to mix throughout.
• Once dough has formed turn onto a floured surface and knead in all of the dried fruit, cinnamon and mixed spice.
• Kneading everything together properly will take between 8-10 minutes. When kneaded correctly the dough should spring back when prodded.
• Place the dough in a large and slightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with Clingfilm or a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for at least an hour.
• After an hour the dough should have doubled in size. Tip it on to a barely floured surface and beat it back.
• Roughly shape it into a rectangle.
• Roll the marzipan into a tube and lie along the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover the marzipan and seal the edges together (‘pinching’ is a good technique for this)
• Place the loaf (seam side down) on a lightly greased baking tray. After covering the loaf with a clean, damp tea-towel leave in a warm place for at least half an hour, or until doubled in size.
• Once risen bake the bread in an oven preheated to 180 ºC (350 ºF or gas mark 4).
• Within 35-40 minutes it should be golden brown.
• Once removed from the oven and cooled heavily dust the stollen with icing sugar and enjoy!
• Note: If you intend to give this stollen as a gift you can always decorate it with icing or candied fruits and toasted nuts!
Most European nations seem to have their own variation of the meatball, and frikadellen are Germany’s. One of the main differences between German frikadellen and other types of meatball is the shape as frikadellen are generally slightly flattened. They are often served with pickled cabbage and make a wonderful starter or main meal.
Typically frikadellen are made of ground pork/beef or, as in this recipe, a mixture of the two.
These frikadellen take roughly 45 minutes to prepare and cook. Serves 3-4
• 250g Minced Pork
• 250g Minced Beef
• 4 Tbsp Breadcrumbs
• 1 tsp Vegetable Oil
• 1 tsp Marjoram
• 1 tsp Salt
• 1 tsp Pepper
• 1 Egg
• 1 Large White Onion (or 2 small) Peeled and finely Diced
• 60 ml Milk
• Put the oil and onions in a frying pan and cook over a low heat until the onions turn clear.
• While the onions are cooking put the minced meat into a large bowl. Once the onions have become transparent add them to the minced meat and combine thoroughly.
• Mix the breadcrumbs and milk together in a separate bowl and then add to the mince and onion mixture along with the egg and seasoning.
• Make sure all of the ingredients are completely mixed before shaping into balls (roughly the size of a golf ball).
• Slightly flatten each ball
• Over a medium heat fry the frikadellen until brown (may take 10-15 minutes)
• Serve with a sauce or sides of your choice!
The Italians have pasta, the Chinese have noodles and the British have dumplings. Meanwhile the Germans have Spätzle – a delicious cross between the three.
Spätzle can be served with a sauce as a main meal or as part of a larger dish.
Serves 4 as a side dish
• 85g Plain Flour
• 1 large egg
• 40ml Milk
• ½ tsp Salt
• Sprinkle of Ground Nutmeg (optional)
• 20g Butter
• 2 tbsp Chopped Parsley
• Bring a large pan of water to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
• In a bowl mix the flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper together.
• In a separate bowl mix the egg yolk and white together.
• Gradually add the egg to the dry ingredients, alternate with adding the milk and mix throughout.
• Once the mixture is fully combined and really smooth take a large holed sieve or colander and, a little at a time, push the mixture through it and into the pan of simmering water.
• After 6-8 minutes completely drain the Spätzle and transfer to a serving bowl.
• Mix the butter and parsley through the Spätzle and serve hot.
Lebkuchen are another German Christmas classic – little gingerbread treats which come in a variety of different forms. A cross between biscuits and cakes, Lebkuchen are often sold at Christmas markets and as they keep well for up to a week they make a wonderful festive gift.
This lebkuchen recipe takes just 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook, though it does require two cooling stages. Once made the dough can be frozen for use at a later date!
For the Dough
• 250g Plain White Flour Sifted
• 200ml Clear Honey
• 90g Ground Almonds
• 90g Unsalted Butter
• Zest of 1 Lemon Finely Grated
• 2 tsp Ground Ginger
• 1 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
• 1 tsp Baking Powder
• ½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
For the Icing
• 100g Icing Sugar
• 1 Beaten Egg White
• Take a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine all of the dry dough ingredients.
• Set a saucepan over a low heat and melt the butter with the honey. Stir occasionally.
• Poor the melted butter/honey and the lemon zest into the dry ingredients and combine.
• Once the dough is reasonably firm cover it and leave it to cool.
• Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF or gas mark 4).
• Whilst the oven is heating grease two baking trays (or line them with baking parchment).
• Divide the dough into about 25 balls and divide the balls between the two trays (make sure you leave a little expansion space between each one).
• With the palm of your hand gently flatten each ball a little.
• Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.
• Once cooked the Lebkuchen should be slightly coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
• Whilst the Lebkuchen are cooling mix the beaten egg white with the icing sugar.
• Add 2 tbsp of water and continue to mix until icing has formed.
• Once the biscuits have cooled completely dip each one into the icing and leave to dry.
• These will store in an airtight container for up to a week.