Christmas: be inspired by German patisserie!
Jean-Christophe Duc presents a simpler and generous, more spicy and fruity patisserie than traditional French ones. One not to miss!
German pastry-making offers treasures of texture and flavour. Les vergers Boiron went to investigate across the Rhine, alongside Jean-Christophe Duc, "European" master pastry-maker (French and German specialities) at Harry Genenz, in Berlin.
The basics of German pastry-making know-how
- Respect for traditions
The specialities are passed on with rigour. The recipes remain identical over time, which sometimes gives them a deliciously old-fashioned taste.
- The science of mixing
German pastry chefs dare to mix ingredients, add grated lemon, vanilla, salt...
- Mastery of dough
It is a real art in Germany. Generous, fine, flaky... it is an important component of the taste of pastries, not simply a base. It is often spicy to make it tastier, with the addition of cinnamon, tonka, cloves...
- The importance of fruit
Traditional cakes are often made of generous dough. To enhance their taste, the Germans use fruit, in particular raspberry, apricot, orange... which they use as coulis, puree, in candied and recently in semi-candied form, or with which they compose their buttercream (the famous "Deutsche Butterkrem").
Import famous German traditional patisserie for Christmas
Each "Land", each region, has dozens of specialities, but there are 5 large national cakes you should absolutely know about.
Sachertorte*: a chocolate sponge cake with apricot jam. This cake has recently come back in vogue and has revived the trend for Café Klatsch, mid-afternoon coffee. In Berlin, in high-end hotels, dessert carts are now wheeled out again in the afternoon.
Apfelstrudel*: a thin flaky pastry stuffed with pieces of apples and raisins, cinnamon. It is served warm with fresh cream.
Black Forest gateau: a chocolate sponge cake flavoured with kirsch and stuffed with cherries in syrup and whipped cream, decorated with chocolate shavings.
EierlikorKuchen: a delicious cake with egg liqueur, a German speciality.
Marzipan: of which the Germans are very fond, and it comes in various formats.
Be inspired by their popular specialities
You can also look into these simpler but equally tasty specialities:
Lebekuchen: German gingerbread decorated, filled with jam and coated in chocolate.
Linzer Torte*: a red berry tart, covered in a lattice.
Stollen: bread with candied dried fruit stuffed with marzipan, a typical Eastern German Christmas cake.
Baumkuchen: also known as the "pin cake" in the form of a fir tree, widespread in the mountainous regions and eaten at family holidays.
Berliner: a doughnut highly appreciated in Berlin, filled with jam and sugar-coated.
Viennese pastries: they are more varied in Germany, filled with jam, decorated with candied fruit, or even semi-candied fruit.
Imitate their passion for candied fruit... and soon semi-candied fruit!
Germans love their fruit and were quick to adopt candied fruit (peel...) to enhance the taste of their traditional pastries. They can be found pretty much in all their specialities, incorporated into dough or included in the decoration.
Semi-candied fruit developed by Les vergers Boiron offers a new approach, with a more intense flavour, closer to fresh fruit.
Semi-candied fruit also offers the possibility of making softer cakes due to the moisture retained by less sugar-rich, semi-candied fruit. And pastries that retain their texture without the need to mature the dough for a month, as is the case with traditional German travel cakes like Stollen.
"The use of semi-candied fruit is also perfect for bakery", adds Jean-Christophe Duc, who sees it as an excellent way to diversify a range. In Germany, but why not in France, milk rolls lend themselves well as do speciality breads made with grains, sunflower or pumpkin seeds ... "I tried a strawberry and semi-candied lemon bread. The colours are beautiful and the taste is delicious, while respecting the flavour of fresh bread.
* Austrian specialities prevalent in Germany.