Spaghettieis – Spaghetti Ice Cream is a dessert loved by grown-ups as much as by children. The tradition of making spaghetti with vanilla ice-cream celebrated already its 50th anniversary and started in Mannheim, Germany. It is prepared with a Spaetzle Press/Potato ricer which you can order here.
Ingredients for Spaghettieis – Spaghetti Ice Cream:
3-4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
500 g of strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of ground white chocolate
3-4 tablespoons of whipped cream
Preparation of the Strawberry Sauce:
Wash the strawberries, remove the stems and cut in small pieces. Place in a saucepan, add the sugar to it and mix. Cover and let it stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and let it simmer for 3-5 minutes. Pass the sweetened strawberry through a sieve. Remove the foam on top of the strawberries using a skimmer spoon and let the sauce cool down in the refrigerator.
For a thicker sauce, bring the crushed strawberries to a boil again and let it simmer for 10 more minutes.
Beat the whipped cream until stiff, and grate the chocolate. Place both aside.
Finishing of the Spaghettieis:
Place a dollop of whipped cream onto a plate cooled in the freezer. Fill the vanilla ice cream into the cooled potato ricer. Press the ice cream onto the plate over the whipped cream. It makes it easier to press the ice cream if it is not too hard. Take it out about 3-5 minutes before use.
Pour the strawberry sauce over the spaghettis and sprinkle the chocolate on top.
A variety of methods are known for preparing homemade jam and jellies. June has arrived, and week by week we can witness the ripening of another kind of fruit or berries ready for picking. It starts at the beginning of June with the strawberries, continues with the tart cherries followed by the blueberries and black raspberries, not to forget the currants in red, white, and black growing in my backyard.
Having mostly relied on the use of German products for making the fruit goodies in the past, I felt like experimenting a little this year with American pectin products to get a sense of what is possible. There is always the possibility of making the marmalade and jelly without pectin altogether and relying on the good old use of just lemon juice and sugar. The outcome of the final product may vary depending on the kind of fruit. However, note that this approach requires a longer cooking time.
What fruit to pick
Only good quality fruit should be used. The fruit needs a decent amount of pectin and acid to gel properly. Less ripe fruit has a high amount of pectin and acid, over-ripe, mature fruit has a decrease of both the pectin and acids. Best is, to mix the fruit – part fruit that just ripened for the pectin and acid, and part mature fruit for the color and flavor. Some of the fruit has enough pectin, but not enough acid and vice versa. A variety of products are available to compensate for the missing amount of pectin or acid.
The underlying basics of both jam and jelly are equal parts of sugar and crushed fruit or fruit juice, and lemon juice and/or pectin. What method I use depends on the concentration of pectin and acid in the fruit. The higher the amount of both in the fruit, the easier it will gel. To make up for the missing acid, I use lemon juice.
Pectin and Acid-Rich Fruits explained
Fruits with a high concentration of pectin include citrus fruits, sour apples, quinces, currants, gooseberries, and blueberries. Fruits with a medium amount of pectin include apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines, black raspberries, raspberries, and pears. Bananas, strawberries, cherries, mangos, rhubarb, pineapples, grapes, and oranges have a low amount of pectin.
Fruit with a high concentration of acids is Black Raspberry (early), black currant, cherries, citrus fruit, green apples, pineapple, plums, raspberries (First), and Red Currants.
To get about 1 Liter – 1.05 quarst of fruit juice for jelly you need approximately 1.8 kg (4 lbs) apples, 2.7 kg (6 lbs) pears, 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) black raspberries, 1.3 kg (2.86 lbs) strawberries, 1.8 kg (4 lbs) raspberries, 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) red currants, 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs) black currants, 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs) peaches, 2.3 kg (5 lbs) quinces, 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) rhubarb, 1.6 kg (3.5 lbs) tart cherries, 1.6 kg (3.5 lbs) gooseberries, and 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs) grapes.
I prefer to pick the fruit and berries myself at an orchard or buy them at a Farmers Market.
Kitchen gadgets and tools necessary
A roasting pan or large pot, food mill, which comes with three different inserts, a fruit juice steamer, canning pot, and canning tongs.
Furthermore, Mason jars with lids, both washed and cleaned in a large pot with boiling water. I dry the glasses on a kitchen towel upside down until used. The clean tops can be kept in a strainer covered with a kitchen towel. Also necessary is a kitchen scale, measuring cup, ladle, strainer spoon, wooden spoon, funnel, and lemon press or lemon squeezer.
Preparation of the homemade jam and jellies
What is the difference between jelly and jam? Jelly is prepared with the fruit juice whereas the jam is prepared with fruit pulp or crushed fruit. The measurement of the calculation of sugar, pectin, and lemon juice for jellies is in liquids, the measurement for the jam in weight.
To make the jelly, wash the fruits, rinse the berries in a colander under running water. Remove the stems of cherries, strawberries, and currants. Take the stone out of the larger fruit and cut it into smaller pieces. Place them in the insert of the steamer, then the insert in the pot and cover. Fill the lower part of the juicer with water before setting the covered fruit on top. Bring the water to a boil. The steam softens the fruit, and the juice will run through the hose into a bucket or other container to catch it. The clamp is attached to the hose until the liquid flows. To press a little more juice out, slightly mash the fruits in the insert with a potato masher. If some fruit pieces come out, pass the caught juice through a fine sieve covered with a cheesecloth. Measure the fruit juice in liters/quarts with a measuring cup.
Wash the fruits, rinse the berries in a colander under running water. Remove the stems and stones, take the core out, and cut the larger fruit in small pieces. Place the prepared fruit into a large pot and add about 1 – 1 ½ cups of water.
Bring to a boil, turn the heat back and let the fruit simmer for about 5-10 minutes depending on the kind. Stir from time to time to make sure the fruit doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Pass the fruit through a food mill into a container. Measure the weight in Grams/Ounces with a kitchen scale.
The cooking of the jam and jellies
The jams and the jellies are cooked in the same way. Mix the passed fruit/fruit juice with the same amount of sugar and follow the directions on the package of the pectin you use. If you want to make the jam/jelly without pectin add the amount of lemon juice needed and cook for about 30-40 minutes. For two pounds of fruit with high pectin 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and for two pounds of fruit with low pectin 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Skim the foam off that builds upon the surface during the cooking.
To test if the jam/jelly is ready, take a small plate from the freezer, spread some of the liquid onto the plate and let it stand for 1 minute in the freezer. If it wrinkles when you move the plate in circles and is not running, the marmalade or jelly is ready.
Finishing the jam and jellies
Remove the pot from the stove. Insert a funnel into the glass and fill the glass through the funnel with a ladle. Leave 0.7 mm – 1/4 in space to the rim. Wipe the rim with a clean damp cloth. Close the glass immediately with the lids. Place the closed jars on a roast in a canning pot with simmering water. The glasses should have some space in between and not touch each other. Cover the glasses about 2.5 cm – 1 inch with water and let them boil for about 10 minutes. Take them out with canning tongs and place them on a towel.
Store the homemade jam and jellies in a dark place.
Tipp: If you want to make a three or four fruit jam or jelly, hold some of the prepared fruit liquids back and place it in the freezer. Take it out when the last fruit is ripe you want to mix it with, place it all in a pot and prepare the same way as described above.
The Stuffed Eggplant Recipe was first introduced to me about 40 years ago back in Germany. Not really knowing what it is, because the eggplant had not yet found its place into the German kitchen at the time, I immediately fell in love with this dish. The dish can be made in the scratched out eggplants or in a casserole.
Ingredients for Stuffed Eggplant Recipe:
6 egg plants, each about 250 g (8.8 oz)
250 g (8.8 oz) of onions, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil, for roasting the onions
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, for brushing the egg plants
5 tomatoes, each about 160 g (5.64 oz)
1 cup of rice, 180 g (6.34 oz), long grain, white (optional, any other rice works fine too)
0.5 l of water
1 cube of vegetable broth
400 g (14.1 oz) of cooked ham, Blackforest
200 g (7.05 oz) of mushrooms, whole, canned
150 g (5.29 oz) of parmesan, shredded
60 g (2.11 oz) of butter
Preparation of Stuffed Eggplants:
Dissolve the cube of vegetable broth in some of the water in the microwave and pour to the rest of the water. Wash the rice and add to the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Turn the heat off and leave the rice covered for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork and place aside.
Wash the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Make in the center crosswise cuts and brush it with oil. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes in a preheated oven on the middle rack at 220°C – 425°F. After the eggplants have cooled down, scratch the meat out using a spoon. Best is a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge. Dice the eggplant meat and place in a bowl.
To peel the tomatoes, pour boiling water over them. Take the tomatoes out of the water using tongs, skin them and dice. Add them to the eggplants. Cut the ham in small pieces, dice the onions, and cut the mushrooms in slices.
In a large frying pan, heat up the oil and roast the onions until transparent. Add the tomatoes and eggplants, rice, ham, and mushroom and mix until the ingredients are combined. Add some salt to your personal taste. Turn the heat off.
Fill the tomato/eggplant mixture into the eggplants and top with the cheese. Place small slices of butter on top of the cheese.
Preheat oven to 190°C – 375°F and place the stuffed eggplants on the middle rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
German Rumtopf Recipe
What you need to make the German Rumtopf Recipe
To make the German Rumtopf Recipe you need a fermenting crock pot (5 l – 1.32 gal or larger) or a large stoneware pot with lid. A preserving jar (5 l, also available in smaller sizes) with a rubber/glass lid can be an alternative. Furthermore, the seasonal fruit and Rum 54% alcohol or more. I like to mix the Stroh Rum 80% alcohol with a 43% Rum using two parts of Stroh Rum and one part of the 43% Rum, but you also can use just the Strohrum. You can find the Strohrum online at Wine Chateau.
What is a Rumtopf?
The Rumtopf is an alcoholic dessert consisting of Rum, sugar, and seasonal fruit. The ripe sugared fruits are added in layers to the pot and covered up with Rum. The Rum should be about 2 cm – 1 inch above the fruit. I start the Rumtopf with the strawberries by the end of May, beginning of June, and add the last fruit, the pineapple, by the end of October. It is a growing process, and best served after each layer of fruit has soaked in the alcohol for 4-6 weeks.
How to prepare the fruit
Use only ripe, clean, and washed fruit. Wash the berries gently and dry with a paper kitchen towel. Prick a hole into the blueberries using a wooden skewer. Remove the stems of the cherries and add them with the pit. Peel the apricots and peaches, remove the stone and cut into slices. Pit the Italian plums and cut into halves. Peel the pears, take the core out, and cut into small pieces. Cut the pineapples first in slices and then into cubes.
Starting the Rumtopf
Before starting the German Rumtopf Recipe, clean the container with hot water and dry. Start with 1 pound of strawberry and one pound of sugar. Sprinkle the sugar over the strawberries and let sit for 30 minutes. Add to the pot and pour the Rum to it until covered. Continue with the other fruits as they are ripe using only half of the amount of sugar for the weight of the fruit. I use 250 g – 8.8 oz of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes sprinkled with 125 g sugar. I use 500 g – 1.1 lbs of the other fruits combined with 250 g – 8.8 oz of sugar.
Make sure the fruit is not floating on top. The Rumtopf comes with a stone to keep the fruits down. If you use a preserving jar, turn it from time to time. Cover the pot with cellophane foil before covering with the lid. Place the Rumtopf in a dark place like the basement, pantry, or closet.
Serve the Rumtopf on top of cakes, to vanilla pudding, or ice cream. I use some of the soaked fruit, place it in a blender and freeze it in a silicon ice cube tray. Adding the frozen fruit cubes to sparkling wine, just wunderbar.
The Homemade Rhubarb Cake is prepared with a stirred batter, filled with skinned cut rhubarb and topped with meringue.
Ingredients for Homemade Rhubarb Cake:
600 g (1.32 lb) of rhubarb
150 g (5.29 oz) of butter, soft
2 tablespoons of oil
150 g (5.29 oz) of sugar
1 package of vanilla sugar OR 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
1 egg, XL
3 egg yolks, XL
150 g (5.29 oz) of flour, all-purpose
125 g (4.4 oz) of Gustin OR potato starch OR cornstarch
2 teaspoons of baking powder
Ingredients for Meringue:
3 egg whites, XL
150 g (5.29 oz) of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Preparation of Homemade Rhubarb Cake:
Start the cake while preparing the rhubarb. Cut about ¼ inch on both sides of the rhubarb stem. Skin the rhubarb by sticking the tip of a small knife about 1 inch above the end into the upper layer of the rhubarb stem. Lift the skin with the knife and pull the skin. Make sure not to stick the knife too far into the rhubarb stem as by doing so you could pull off the fruit flesh as well. Cut the skinned rhubarb into pieces about ¾-1 inch in length. Place in a bowl and put aside.
Beat the soft butter and oil in a bowl using a handheld electric mixer. Mix the sugar, vanilla sugar, and salt and add slowly to the butter mix until the sugar dissolves. Add the egg and egg yolks one at the time and beat the ingredients until creamy.
Mix the flour, starch, and baking powder and sift over the butter-egg mixture. Beat the ingredients until they are combined.
Spread the batter evenly into a springform (28 cm – 11 inch) covered with baking paper. Place the cut rhubarb on top and slightly press them into the batter.
Preheat the oven to 180°C – 360°F. Place the cake on the middle roast and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Preparation of the Meringue:
While the cake is baking, prepare the meringue. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar mixed with the salt slowly to it and continue beating until stiff then add the lemon juice.
After 20-25 minutes of baking time, take the cake out of the oven, and spread the meringue in the shape of clouds on top. Make sure to leave a gap of 1 cm – ½ inch between the sides of the springform and the meringue. Place the cake back into the oven and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes. When the tips of the meringue are light brown, the cake is finished.
Turn the oven off and leave the cake for 20 more minutes in the oven before opening the door.
Take the cake out of the oven and open the Springform. Carefully loosen the paper from the cake using a wet knife. Let the Homemade Rhubarb Cake cool down on a cooling rack.
To make the Traditional Rhubarb Cake with Crumble Topping click here, the Plum Cake in a Springform Pan click here, and the Apple Cake click here.
On the 27th of April 2019, the German American Heritage Museum in Washington D.C. hosted a bake competition. All those interested in showing off their baking skills were invited. I was delighted to be asked to be one of the judges.
A bit nervous, I arrived with my oldest son and his family at the place. My oldest son jumped in last minute as a judge. We met the third judge, an Austrian.
Beautiful cakes were displayed not only for judging but as well for a bake sale afterward. The room was packed with interested spectators and participants, and I had the chance also to meet some of my loyal followers and took my opportunity to chat.
All the cakes were made with love, but only three of them could win. Making a decision was tough. You could tell, that the decoration of some cakes was work-intense and prepared with two German recipes combined. Others in their simplicity had an authentic taste. Who should win?
We three judges agreed to give first place to a Black Forest Cheesecake, a combination of Black Forest Cake and Cheesecake, second place to a cheesecake (Kaesesahne) and the third place to a Spring Cake inspired by the Linzer Cake.
Even though I used to be a judge in Gymnastics and Track and Field, the experience of judging homemade food was not as easy, but I enjoyed it very much, and I can tell with me the audience and the contestants.
Thanks to the members of the German American Heritage Museum to make this special event and collaboration possible as part of their current exhibit “Culinary Customs: A Taste Of Germany” which is on display until July 12, 2019.
A special thanks to the photographer Michael Pindter, who provided the pictures.
The Authentic German Butter Cake – Butterkuchen is a yeast cake. The topping consists of butter, almonds, sugar, and whipping cream. A great choice for an afternoon Kaffeeklatsch.
Ingredients for Butter Cake:
500 g (1.1 lb) of flour, all-purpose
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs, XL, room temperature
100 g (3.52 oz) of butter, melted
200 ml (6.76 oz) of milk, lukewarm
1 package of yeast, rapid rise
175 g (5.91 oz) of butter, cold
125 g (4.4 oz) of almonds, sliced, blanched
100–125 g (3.52-4.4 oz) of sugar
100-125 ml (3.38-4.22 oz) of whipping cream
Preparation of the Butterkuchen:
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add sugar, salt, and yeast and mix the ingredients with a spoon. Make a hole in the center, place the eggs into the hole and cover with the flour mixture. Melt the butter and add to the bowl. Start kneading the ingredients while slowly adding the lukewarm milk to it while continuing kneading until the dough loosens from the sides of the bowl. If needed continue kneading with your hands. Cover the dough and let it rest until it doubled.
Knead the dough again and roll it out on a baking sheet (11×17 inches) covered with baking paper. With your thumb press holes into the rolled dough. Press the cold butter cut in small pieces into the holes. Spread the almonds and sugar on top. Cover the cake and let it rise for about 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) and place a metal or ceramic bowl filled with water on the bottom of the oven. Place the cake on the middle roast and let it bake for 20 minutes.
Take the cake out of the oven and immediately drizzle the whipping cream evenly on top of the hot cake. I like the Authentic German Butter Cake best when it is warm but it also can be easily stored in the freezer.
If you want to try the German Crumb Cake click here, the Buchteln click here, or the Easter Wreath Cake click here.
Tips and Tricks on how to manage the Spring Cleaning of your home from top to bottom.
On the 20th of March, spring officially arrived, nature has awakened, and our energy is back. A sign! We are ready for Spring Cleaning! I love this time of the year when the leaves of the trees come out, the grass turns from brownish into a healthy green, and the buds of the flowers in the garden are prepared to join us and show themselves in a variety of colors.
Organizing the Spring Cleaning
After writing a list of “to-dos” that outlines the work required for a successful cleaning, create a schedule and involve the children and partner in the process. It will take a few days until the house is spotless and clean. Sometimes, not all the work planned can be done in one day, other times you might be able to do an additional task. Cross out what’s done and if you do not finish, add the unfinished chores to the next day.
Preparation of Spring Cleaning
Before starting the cleaning make sure the following household cleaners, gadgets, and tools are available. Many of the cleaning supplies are also offered on a natural basis, without fumes, and with none or fewer chemicals.
Household cleaners I recommend:
cleaner for upholstery and carpets
toilet and bathroom cleaner
granite cleaner and polish
stainless cleaner and polish
Tools and gadgets:
rubber cleaning cloves
broom and dustpan
microfiber cleaning cloths
General work which applies to all rooms
Start the cleaning on the top floor and work your way down to the lower level. Start with general work that applies to all rooms. The last rooms to clean are the bathrooms, kitchen, and hallways.
Open the windows to let fresh air into the house before you begin the cleaning of the rooms. Reorganize the closets, bookshelves, and cabinets, clean the walls and ceilings with a vacuum cleaner, clean the ceiling fans, wash the window frames with warm water and mild dishwashing detergent. Afterward, brush the window screens and dust the blinds before cleaning the window glass.
Clean the curtains, if possible, wash the curtains or bring them to a dry cleaner. Shampoo the synthetic carpets and rugs, wash the bathroom mats, clean upholstery and if possible based on the materials shampoo and vacuum them. Clean the baseboards, crowning, and door frames with warm water adding mild dishwashing detergent. Vacuum the vent duct covers and finally, clean the floors with water and a mop before vacuum the carpets and rugs.
Bedrooms, Living Room, Family Room
To clean the bedrooms, rotate and vacuum the mattresses, change linens, clean mirrors, dust the furniture before cleaning the floor with a mop and warm water. Clean and organize the cabinets in the living and family room, clean and polish the furniture, mop the floor and vacuum.
Start the kitchen while cleaning the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and oven with hot water using dish soap and dry it with a kitchen towel. Organize the pantry, check the groceries, remove those that have expired and replace where necessary. Clean and organize the cabinets and drawers with water adding dishwashing detergent. Clean and polish the stainless steel and countertops. Lastly, mop the floor.
Scrub shower, bathtub, toilet, and sink. Clean mirrors with a glass cleaner and mop the floor.
After the cleaning in the house is finished, check the medicine cabinet and replace expired medicine. Change the batteries in the smoke detectors, replace the air filters and make sure the fire extinguishers (there should be one in each floor) are functional.
Congratulations! You are ready to do the shopping, decorating and preparing for the next holiday that is to follow – Easter!
To read more about German Easter Traditions and find recipes for Easter click here.
German Americans United is an attempt to bring the German groups of Facebook and other social platforms together in one place. About 17% of Americans claim to have German ancestry, which means every sixth American is German American, the largest of the ancestry groups reported by the US Census Bureau.
Why German Americans United
In light of the facts mentioned above, I wondered where everybody is. Searching on Facebook, I became aware of how many groups are in existence, but only a few know of each other, communicate with each other, or are in contact with each other. This was a good enough reason for me to reach out to you and, with your help, to create this directory for German Americans of the past, present, and future. I also welcome groups showing an interest in the German language, culture, tradition, and life.
The German Americans United Gallery
The gallery makes it easy to find German American groups on Facebook. Click on the picture, and you will be redirected to a group in your state and area. Let us grow as one community.