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Beer, Bratwurst and bulk are to many people the essential characteristics of German cuisine.  This is not surprising in some respects, as Germany produces over 5,000 types of beer, about 1,500 kinds of sausages, some 200 different breads, and a myriad ways of cooking the humble cabbage and potato. The German traditionally love hearty, solid fare:  thick, warming soups with dumplings, rich meats and game, and even the smallest town has its Konditorei with a mouth-watering display of fruit of cream-filled pastries, cakes and biscuits.

But Germany, until fairly recently in a historical sense, was composed of individual nation states, and the cuisine is much more diverse and regional in character than is generally appreciated.  As in any other country, geography plays its part, and the maritime northern Germans eat quite differently from their southern compatriots-although all alike share an appreciation of the wines of their country.


| Bread | Snacks | Soup | Vegetables | Meat | Pork | Dessert | Baking | Cake|

Pork and Saurekraut Stew

Serves 6       Preparation:  15 minutes    Cooking:  about 1 hour
  • 6oz (175g) lean, smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1lb (500g) lean pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2lb (1kg) potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 7 fl oz (200ml) light ale
  • 8oz (225g) garlic sausage, skinned and sliced
  • 1½lb (675g) saurekraut, drained
  • 2 apples, peeled and coarsely grated
  • salt and pepper

  Pre-heat oven to 375F (190C) gas 5.

  Fry the bacon in the oil in a flameproof casserole until it begins to brown.  Add pork and onion;  cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the potatoes.

  Stir in the ale, bring to the boil.  Cook covered in oven for 1 hour.

  After 30 minutes, stir in the sausage, saurekraut, season to taste and serve.

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A large, well-flavoured joint of beef, marinated for 3 days before cooking. It is also delicious cold.

Serves 6       Preparation:  20 minutes plus 3 days marinating
                     Cooking:  about 1 hour

    The Marinade:
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 large stick celery sliced
  • 1¼ pints (750ml) water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ pint (150ml) wine vinegar

  • 2¼lb (1kg) silverside

    The sauce:
  • 14 fl oz (400ml) stock from meat
  • 4 Pfekkerkuchen or ginger nuts, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

  Put the onions, celery and carrots into a large pot with the water.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and boil again for 5 minutes.  Leave to cool.

  Add the meat and turn in the liquid two or three times.  Cover, and leave in a cool place for 3 days.  Turn the meat each day.Re  move the blot dry with paper towel.

  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying-pan and brown the outside of the meat for about 10-15 minutes.

  Return the meat to the marinade, cover, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 50 minutes.

  Remove the meat, drain well and slice thickly for serving.  Drain the vegetables and use as a garnish.

  Strain off 14 fl oz (400ml) of the stock and bring to the boil.

  Mix in the cornflour smoothly with the cold water.  Stir in a little of the hot liquid, return to the pan and cook, stirring until thickened.

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Potato Dumplings

Serves4       Preparation:  15 minutes
                    Cooking:  6 minutes

  • 1 large sliced bread, cubed
  • 1oz (25g) butter
  • 1lb (450g) cold mashed potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • about 4oz (100-125g) plain flour

  Lightly brown the bread in the butter.  Drain and leave to cool.

  Sieve the potatoes, season well and add the mace.

  Stir in the flour to make a firm paste, then knead until dry enough not to stick to the hands, but moist enough not to crumble.

  Flatten a rounded teaspoonful of the dough in the hand, press a fried bread cro˙ton into the centre enclosing it completely in dough.  Continue making dumplings - they should be the size of golf balls.

  Drop the dumplings into a pan of gently boiling water, ensuring they do not touch.  (Cook in 2 batches if necessary).  Within about 1 minute they will rise to the surface.  Cook for a further 4-5 minutes, then serve.

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        Kartoffel Suppe
Potato Soup

Serves4       Preparation:  20 minutes
                    Cooking:  30 minutes

  • ¾ (350g) onions, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2oz (50g) butter
  • ¾lb potatoes, diced
  • 3oz (75g) streaky bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  Cook the onions and carrot gently in the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat for about 15 minutes.  Stir frequently and cook until the onions are tender but do not allow them to brown.

  Add the stock and bring to the boil.  Stir in the potatoes and bring back to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

  Meanwhile, discard the bacon rinds and chop the bacon finely.  Fry lightly without any added fat until crisp.  Strain off excess fat.  Stir into the soup then adjust the seasoning.  Add the parsley and serve hot with thick slices of rye bread.

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Plum Streusel

Serves4       Preparation:  20 minutes
                    Cooking:  30-35 minutes

  • 1½lb (700g) fresh plums
  • 4oz (100-125g) caster sugar

    The topping:
  • 6 thick rye crispbread biscuits
  • 1oz (25g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2oz (50g) butter

  Wipe the plums, cut each in half lenghtways, and remove the stones.

  Layer, cut side down, in a 1½  pint (about 900ml) ovenproof pie dish, sprinkling the sugar over each layer.

  Pre-heat the oven to 375F (190C) gas 5.

  To make the topping, put the biscuits into a plastic bag and crush finely with a rolling pin, or work in a food processor.  Stir in the sugar and cinnamon.  Rub the butter in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over the fruit.

  Set the dish on a baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes until nicely browned, and the juice from the fruit begins to bubble up around the edge.

  Serve hot with thick cream, or cold with whipped cream or ice cream.

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        Berliner Pfannkuchen
Rum-flavoured Doughnuts

Makes 8       Preparation:  2½ hours
                    Cooking:  30-35 minutes

  • 1½ oz (15g) fresh yeast or ½ teaspoon dried yeast
  • ½ pint lukewarm milk
  • 1lb (450g) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2oz (50g) caster sugar
  • 4oz (100g) butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange rind
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • 8 teaspoons plum or cherry jam
  • oil or fat for deep frying
  • extra caster sugar for coating

  Dissolve the east in 2 tablespoons of milk.

  Put the flour, salt and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  Stir the remaining milk, the egg yolks, vanilla essence, lemon or orange rind and white rum in to the yeast, then pour this into the dry ingredients.

  Mix to a dough, then turn out on to a flavoured surface.  Knead well until the dough is elastic and smooth (about 10 minutes by hand).

  Replace the dough in the bowl with oiled, plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  Knead the dough briefly and leave it to rest, covered, for a few minutes.  Roll it out ¼ inch (5mm) thick and cut it into 3 inch (8cm) rounds.

  Put a small spoonful of jam in the centre of half of the circles.  Press together to seal.  Place on a floured baking sheet, cover and leave to rise until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

  Heat the oil in a deep frying-pan to 365F (185C).  Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, turning once, until golden brown.

  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain well and roll in caster sugar. Serve warm.

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        Rhenish Carrots
Fingers of carrot, cooked with golden fried onions and lemon.

Serves 6       Preparation:  10 minutes
                     Cooking:  30 minutes

  • 1lb (500g) carrots, sliced lenghtwise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8oz (225g) onions, sliced
  • ½ oz (15g) butter
  • 8oz (225g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • a little lemon juice

  Boil the carrots with the sugar in water to cover, until almost tender.

  Fry the onions in the butter until golden brown.  Add the apple slices and carrots with ¼  pint (150ml) of their cooking water.  Cook until soft, adding a little more water if necessary.

  Season, add lemon juice.  Serve

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Rich Fruit Bread

Makes 18 slices       Preparation and cooking:  3½ hours
    The dough:
  • 3 fl oz (100ml) hand-hot water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 8oz (225g) white bread flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1oz (25g) sugar
  • 1oz (25g) melted butter
  • 1 egg, size 2

    The filling:
  • 1oz (25g) melted butter
  • 1oz (25g) sugar
  • 1oz (25g) flaked almonds
  • 2oz (50g) sultanas
  • 2oz (50g) cut mixed candied peel
  • 4oz (100g) seedless raisins
  • a little butter for glazing
  • icing sugar for dusting

  To make the dough, put the water into a measuring jug, stir in the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top.  Leave for about 10 minutes until a good head of foam appears.

  Put 2oz (50g) of the flour into a mixing bowl and beat in the yeast liquid to make a thick past.  Cover with a plate and leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes until very frothy.

  Gradually mix in the remaining dough ingredients in the order given.  Work with the hand into a neat ball.  (If the dough is sticky, work in enough extra flour to make it easy to handle).  Cover and leave again for about 1 hour until doubled in bulk.

  To shape:  flatten the dough to a rectangle about ¾ inch (2cm) thick, brush with a little butter, sprinkle with sugar and about a third of the almonds and fruit, pressing it well in the dough.

  Starting with the short side, fold over one third of the dough to overlap the centre, then fold the other one third to rest on top.  Roll out to a rectangle about 12 x 7 inches (30 x 18cm).

  Place on a greased bakig tray with the seam underneath.  Place the tray in a plastic bag and leave the Stollen to rise for about 1 hour until puffy and nearly double in bulk.

  Brush with melted butter and bake at 350F (180C) gas 4 for about 20-25 minutes until well browned. Cool on a wire rack.  Dust with icing sugar.

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Prince Regent's Cake

Serves 8-12       Preparation and cooking:  2 hours 15 minutes
  • 12oz (350g) butter, softened
  • 12oz (350g) icing sugar
  • 6 eggs, size 2
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 12oz (350g) self-raising flour

    The filling:
  • 8oz (225g) unsalted butter
  • 8oz (225g) icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 egg yolks

    The icing:
  • 5oz (150g) plain chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons single cream
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 50z (150g) icing sugar

  Grease a 10in (25cm) loose bottom cake tin.  Cut 5 circles of grease proof paper the same size as the bottom of the tin.  Grease one and press it into the bottom of the tin.  Set the others aside.

  Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C) gas 4.

  Beat together the butter and sugar until very light, creamy and soft.  Beat the eggs in thoroughly one at a time, followed by the lemon juice.

  Lightly stir in the flour, a third at a time, and mix well.  Quickly weigh out 10oz (275g) of the mixture and spread evenly over the bottom of the tin.

  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-16 minutes until golden brown and firm.  Remove from the tin and leave to cool.

  Grease another paper circle and use to line the tin.  Bake the rest of the mixture in 4 more layers.  Leave to cool.

  To make the filling:  beat together the butter and sugar until very light and creamy.  Mix the remaining ingredients to form a thick paste.  Beat the paste well into the butter mixture.

  To make the icing:  break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of hot, not boiling, water.  Stir costantly.  Remove from the heat, stir in the cream and rum and finally the icing sugar.  The icing will be quite runny.  Cool just until it clings to the back of the spoon.

  Fill the cake, set on a wire rack and quickly spread the icing over the top and sides.  Cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

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