I’ve told you about German pastries before. I’ve even been a terrible friend by showing you photos but leaving you no recipe. All of your poor folks left to live vicariously through pictures. I know, I know. Life just isn’t fair.
But today I’m here to bring a little bit of equality to the world, provided you’ve got on your baker’s hat!
As a mentioned before, I returned to the US just in time to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday, and we kicked off the event this past Friday with some early morning baking. I chose three German pastry recipes to test, all chosen for different reasons. The recipes were obtained from the internet – not without some searching – because none of my cookbooks had recipes for the pastries I selected. I’ll tell you how our baking went and how the recipes turned out, but don’t worry, I’ll let you know when I have suggestions to improve the recipe.
We started this week with Mohnkuchen, my absolute favorite German pastry ever. Mohn, for the non-German speakers like me, is poppy seed. Kuchen is cake. So do the math: Mohn + Kuchen = Poppy Seed Cake. Forget the typical American poppy seed recipe, the lemon poppy seed cake (not that I’m bashing it because it’s certainly tasty), but this poppy seed mixture combines a sweet shortbread with a thick layer of the seeds, which have been swirled in all sorts of goodies. Topped with streusel, mohnkuchen is fabulous, a total show-stealer. You’ll eat the whole thing in minutes, your guests will love you, please – make – this – immediately.
Mohnkuchen is a good tea pastry, and it makes a nice party cake too. If you’re looking for an enormous sheet cake to serve 35 people, you might want to look elsewhere, but this is perfect for about 8 to 10. Umm, if you don’t eat it all first.
recipe from here
serves 8 to 10
for the dough
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup margarine (note: I used butter-flavored Crisco)
-4 cups flour
-1/2 cup evaporated milk
-2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
for the filling
-1/3 cup. cream of wheat
-2 1/2 cups water
-1 cup sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 tbsp. butter
-1 cup poppy seeds
for the streusel
-1 cup butter
-1 1/2 cup sugar
-2 cups flour
-2 tbsp. evaporated milk
Making the dough is easy. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until lumps form. I have a small food processor so I had to do this in batches. Then press into a 10-in. springform pan. I didn’t use all of the dough here because I didn’t want a super thick crust. My dough was about 1-in. thick. Feel free to make yours thicker. [If you have leftover dough, make it into shortbread by pressing it into a springform pan, and baking it on 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and quite firm]. Set the pan aside while you start the mohn filling.
For the filling, pour the water into a saucepan, and prepare the cream of wheat, using that water, according to the directions on the box. Once the cream of wheat is soft and has thickened, remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, butter, and poppy seeds. The sugar should dissolve since the cream of wheat is warm. Stick the bowl in the fridge – without adding the egg. You’ll want to chill the mixture before adding the egg so that you don’t end up with mohn filling + scrambled eggs.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
While you’re waiting for the filling to cool down, make the streusel. It’s also as easy as the crust! Wash your food processor, and then put all the streusel ingredients into it. Pulse until lumpy (but not doughy).
By now the filling should have cooled off. It doesn’t need to be cold, but make sure the heat has reduced enough that the egg won’t cook. Add the egg, and mix well.
Now pour all of the filling over the crust. Then sprinkle the streusel over the filling, covering the entire filling, creating about a 3/4 to 1-in. thick streusel topping. I also had leftover streusel.
Bake it! The mohnkuchen will take about 1 hour to bake. The streusel should be lightly browned, and the pastry will be quite firm. After the baking, chill the pastry until cool. During this time, it will firm up even more. After it has chilled, remove the springform ring, and set the pastry on a cake plate. The pastry will now be completely delicious and beautiful!