Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Topfen-Zwetschgen-Kuchen and Southwest Turkey Sandwiches

For Squire's German class, he has to do a certain number of cultural activities over the course of the semester. About a week ago, he had the opportunity to bake a German/Austrian/Swiss food item, and bring it to class to share as credit for one of these cultural activities. I have a little "Austrian Specialties" cookbook my friend gave me as a gift at the end of our study abroad together in Vienna. For some crazy reason, I had yet to actually make one of the recipes - until this last week. Squire wanted to do a dessert item. He chose, "Topfen-Zwetschgen-Kuchen" or Cheese and Plum Cake - and we tackled the beast of a recipe together. Here is Squire, ready with his fresh plums:
Here I am, sporting my current favorite outfit - my fleecy pajama pants/sweat bottoms and one of Squire's old over-sized t-shirts. It's really a shame I can't wear it to work and around outside all the time (and that I don't look better in it). Haha. Below you can see me sprinkling ground almond onto the cakey crust:
Here is the cake, spread with cheese and adorned with fresh plum slices ready for the oven.
Here is the picture of the cake from the cookbook:
Here is ours, fresh out of the oven! (They look exactly the same right?!)
OK, so ours lacks the magical dusting of powdered sugar, fresh plums, and purple granite(?) countertop (not to mention, a professional photographer taking the picture). However, it was pretty delicious! Squire's teacher deemed his creation, "Bona fide." He said he'd had pastries that had tasted just the same in Germany - minus the plums. (Perhaps the plums are an Austrian thing?) In any respect, it was an interesting process and enjoyable to try something quite different from what we would normally bake/eat.

If you'd like to try this Authentic Austrian dish for yourself, I've provided the recipe at the bottom of the post. :)

But, before you get to that recipe, I decided I wanted to take the time to also share another recipe with you. I've really been lame about cooking these days. I'm so tired all the time that the last thing I want to do after being on my feet for 6 hours is come home and cook an elaborate meal - even though that is something I usually really love to do. But, the other night I decided we would enjoy a delicious meal together - cooked by me! So I made these little beauties:

Southwest Turkey Sandwiches
These are AMAZING. I heartily recommend them to you, and share the recipe gladly:

The Sauce:
*1 4oz. can sliced olives
*1/2 tsp. cumin
*1/2 tsp. chili powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 cup mayo
*1/3 cup sour cream
*1/3 cup green onions

Mix together the first 4 ingredients. Set aside 2 TBL. of it, and then mix the rest in with the remaining olive mixture.

Other ingredients:
*A loaf of french bread, cut up in thick slices (about 10)
*Freshly, thinly sliced deli turkey
*2 small fresh tomatoes, diced
*1 ripe avocado
*Some grated Jack and Cheddar cheese

Top each slice of bread with the mayo mixture, turkey, some diced tomatoes, an avocado slice or two, some more mayo mixture, some of the grated cheese, and a couple sliced olives from the 2 TBL. mixture (as garnish).

Bake @ 350*F for about 15 min. or until heated through. Enjoy!

Cheese and Plum Cake/Topfen-Zwetschgen-Kuchen Recipe:

*13 oz. (1 2/3 cups) flour
*1 1/2 oz. fresh yeast OR 2 TBL. dried yeast, plus 1 TBL. sugar
*4 oz. (1/2 cup) lukewarm milk
*1 egg
*2 oz. (1/4 cup) sugar
*Pinch of salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 oz. butter

TOPPING:
*4 1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) sugar
*3 egg yolks
*1 TBL. grated lemon rind
*2 TBL. cornstarch
*4 oz. (1/2 cup) cream
*2 lbs. curd, baker's cheese OR cottage cheese
*3 egg whites
*2 lbs. fresh plums
*Butter for baking pan
*Ground almonds

Mix together flour, crumbled yeast, lukewarm milk, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and softened butter in a large bowl to form a soft dough. Let rise in a warm place for about 20min.

Topping: Beat sugar, egg yolks and grated lemon rind until foamy. Add cornstarch and cream. Drain cottage cheese (Squire drained and squeezed the cottage cheese through a piece of cheese cloth, over a sieve), pass through a sieve, add to egg batter and continue beating until batter is smooth and creamy. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold gently into egg mixture.

Wash plums, cut in half and remove pits. (Squire cut these up in to smaller slices as well.) Grease baking sheet and spread dough evenly. Dust with ground almonds and prick in several places with a fork. Spread cottage cheese mixture over the top. Press plum halves, skin down, gently into the batter.

If desired, sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake @ 400-425*F for 30-45 min. (**The recipe was a bit time intensive - it took Squire and I about 1 hour from start to getting it in the oven. So plan accordingly if you want to try this one.**)

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Whether you choose to make the recipe from Southern end of the German speaking lands or the Southern part of America, both recipes are sure to please. Hope you try 'em and that you like 'em! :)


Oh wait! I almost forgot! This is the recipe from my baby shower in Provo. A big thank you to Heather Jacobs for sharing it with me and all of you. :)

**BONUS RECIPE: Heather's Delicious Egg Casserole**

6 slices of bread cut in cubes

12 eggs beaten

4 ounces ham, cut in squares

2 cups milk

1 tsp dry mustard (mustard powder)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 cups shredded cheese

Arrange bread cubes in lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle chopped ham over the bread. Beat eggs, milk, salt, mustard, pepper, and cheese in a bowl. Pour egg mix over the bread. Cover with foil/plastic wrap and chill overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until eggs are set. Pull out of oven and let sit for a few minutes before cutting.

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