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Baseler leckerli

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Baseler Leckerli (Swiss Spice Cookies)

Posted by Annette 12/5/2001 5:39 pm

This is adapted from a recipe Otto Eckstein, executive pastry chef at the Pan Pacific Hotel, learned nearly 50 years ago from a Swiss baker.

4 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup slivered unblanched almonds
1/2 cup candied orange peel, chopped
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Simple glaze

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or liberally grease them.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and baking soda.

Combine the honey, sugar and water in a small saucepan.
Place over low heat until the honey just melts.
Do not let boil.
(Or, combine the honey, sugar and water in a microwave-safe, large bowl, and microwave on medium for 1 minute, until the honey just melts.)

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the dough hook.
Let cool slightly.

Add the sifted flour mixture, the almonds, orange peel and lemon zest.
Blend until the mixture comes together in a heavy, sticky dough, adding a spoonful or two of water if needed.
(The mixing can be done by hand, but it’s labor intensive.) Resist the urge to add more water to make the dough easier to handle; it would impair the texture of the finished cookies.

Spread the dough about 1/2 to 1 inch thick on the baking sheets, forming 3 rectangles, each about 8 x 9 inches.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops turn a medium brown.

While the leckerli are baking, make the simple glaze.

When the dough rectangles have baked, remove pans to a rack and immediately brush the tops with glaze.
Let cool for 10 minutes.

Cut into 1 x 3-inch bars or into diamond shapes.
Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Store in airtight containers, placing wax paper between layers. Let age at least 1 week, preferably longer.
No need to freeze these cookies - properly stored, they keep well throughout the holidays.

Yields 5 to 6 dozen cookies.

Cheese pie

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Cheese Pie (Käse Wake — Switzerland)

1 (9-inch) unbaked piecrust
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, grated
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine cheese and flour.
Spread in piecrust.
Combine milk and eggs.
Add salt and pepper and pour over cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake 30 more minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serves 6.

Pear bread

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Pear Bread (Switzerland)

2 cups scalded milk
3 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1 cup fat
2 cups water
3 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
3 pounds raisins
2 pounds dried pears
2 pounds currants
1 to 2 tablespoons anise powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine scalded milk, sugar, salt, fat and water.
Cool to lukewarm.
Soften yeast in the lukewarm water.
Stir in the yeast and enough flour to make a sponge dough.
Add the fruit and enough flour to make a dough that will not stick to the board.
Put into a bowl and let rise until double.

Shape into loaves and let rise again until double.
Bake at 225 degrees F about 2 hours.

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