lady_of_clunn: (Christmas)
[personal profile] lady_of_clunn
More vegetarian recipes from Germany!

The first one, Silesian Heaven, is a sweet winter dish for those times when no fresh fruit and vegetables were available. Also, it is one of those examples of how regional Germany's cuisine is. My maternal grandmother, whose family had come to Berlin from Silesia in the mid-1800's, made this dish regularly. My paternal grandmother, whose family had come from East Prussia around the same time, had never heard of it. But she made heavenly Plinsen that nobody else knew!


Silesian Heaven (Schlesisches Himmelreich)

For the Sauce:

500g of mixed dried fruit (apples, pears, apricots and prunes)
sugar to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons potatoe starch

For the potatoe dumplings:

1Kg potatoes (a variety that's high in starch)
100g plain flour
100g potatoe starch
2 eggs

In a pot, add dried fruit, cinnamon, cloves, and just enough water to cover them for soaking. let stand for at least an hour.

Bring fruit to a boil and stew for about 30 minutes. (If you were a rich Silesian and obviously not vegetarian, you'd make this on a Monday and add the leftovers of the Sunday roast to the fruit sauce.) Add sugar to taste. In a cup, mix potatoe starch with a little cold water and stir into boiling mixture to thicken.

Now, I must admit that I used the ready-made dumpling variety here. I will make dumplings and braised red cabbage from scratch tomorrow and that's enough for one year!

Peel and boil potatoes. Mash and let stand until about hand-warm. Mix with flour, starch, and eggs. Add salt to taste (not too much! The dumpling should be relatively neutral). The potatoe dough should only be slightly damp. If too sticky, add more potatoe starch.

Bring a large pot with salted water to the boil. Reduce heat to simmering.

With wet hands, form dumplings that comfortably fit into your hands - similar to making a snow ball.

Add dumplings to lightly boiling water. Do not cover. After about 10 minutes, the dumplings should float to the surface. Turn off (electric cooker) or reduce heat to minimum (gas cooker) and wait another five minutes.

Serve with fruit sauce.

The next one is a light summer dish typical for the Berlin/Brandenburg area.

Stewed Cucumbers (Schmorgurken)

1Kg cucumbers
1 onion
some tomatoes (optional, I don't use any)
250ml water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon plain flour
a bit of fresh dill
cream, sour cream, or cream cheese to taste
boiled potatoes (do I even have to mention this anymore?)

Peel cucumbers, cut them in half along the length. Remove seeds and cut into 1-2cm wide pieces.

Chop onion and fry in a little oil until soft and lightly browned in places. Add cucumber and sweat for about 20 minutes until "glassy" but still have some bite. If you like you can now add some chopped tomatoes.

Add flour and sugar. Stir until lightly browned. Add water or broth. Add dill. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar. Add more sugar if needed (the amount of sugar and vinegar depends on a few factors - you are going for a light, a bit tangy sweet and sour taste).

Let stew for another few minutes.

Serve with boiled potatoes (what else?).

In the Spreewald region, stewed cucumbers and potatoes are the traditional side dishes for pan fried fish.

This is a very similar recipe, although it uses lard and the seeds are not removed from the cucumbers. I also don't know what the recipe supposedly has to do with the GDR, the recipe definitely predates the formation of East Germany.

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