Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein
Götterspeise – quite a mouthful, whether you’re saying it or eating it. “Food of the Gods” is so decadently delicious, it’s a decidedly rare indulgence. Here’s my story:
Location: Straubing, Germany, Uncle Franz and Aunt Irmgard’s kitchen
Time: Just after New Year’s, late evening, after a long day of over-eating and over-drinking
Cast: Tante Irmgard and me
Irmgard: “Have you ever tried Götterspeise?”
Irmgard: “Never mind. Watch me.”
Irmgard pulls out a few cookie tins and removes a variety of sugared, nut and cinnamon-filled delights. She breaks these into pieces and places them in a large bowl. She runs quickly to the other room for the brandy decanter, returns and sloshes a generous portion over the whole cookie mess.
Irmgard: “Good night.”
Me: “Huh? What about the Götterspeise?”
Irmgard: “That? We’re having it for breakfast!”
Morning arrives. Irmgard and I are back in the kitchen. Irmgard whips out a heavy pot and places it on the stove. She heats some milk, adds some eggs and some other ingredients to make pudding. Then she pours this on top of the brandy-soaked cookies. She scoops some Götterspeise into a couple of bowls, and tops them off with whipped cream. She hands me one.
Irmgard: “Guten Appetit!”
I dig deep into the Götterspeise. My spoon comes up a gooey mass of culinary dimensions – dense, brandied pastry; rich, golden pudding; sweet, airy cream. I close my eyes. I taste. I sigh. I understand the name. This is indeed Godly food.
Me: “Danke schön!”
Moral of the story: When having an indulgent breakfast in bed, be sure to eat decadently delicious food.
2 cups broken assorted Christmas cookies (substitute a mix of any firm, stale cookies)
1½ cups rum (substitute brandy or liqueur)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Place broken cookies into large glass dish. Pour rum evenly over cookies and let sit for at least one hour, or as long as overnight. When ready to prepare, give the cookie mixture a good stir, and divide evenly into two serving dishes (cocktail glasses work well for this).
Combine sugar and flour in a heavy saucepan. Add milk, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk about one half of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Bring again to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and salt.
Gently pour pudding mixture over cookies, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm.
If you like, whip heavy cream, sweeten, and place on top of Götterspeise when ready to serve.
Post by Alison Hein.
Throughout the course of the year, you won’t find much jam in my pantry. Maybe a jar of strawberry in the fridge, perhaps a blueberry variety in the cabinet. But that all changes at Christmas time, when I purchase every flavor and color I can find: blackberry, raspberry, peach, orange….even lemon and lime… in order to satisfy everyone’s favorite cookie craving and my pursuit of a colorful holiday platter.
So just about now, I find myself with a refrigerator full of jam, each jar missing only a spoonful or two. What to do? Bake Jammer Biscuits – simple drop biscuits dressed up and shiny with pretty fruit filling. Lightly sweetened and quick to prepare, Jammers are tasty either hot or cold. Let your kids help you bake – they’ll love making little biscuit craters and filling them to the brim with gooey jam.
Then, in a mere 12 minutes, they’ll be feasting on the fruits (ha,ha) of their labor. Crispy outside, melt-in-your-mouth soft middle, just begging for a tall glass of ice cold milk or a mug of hot, hot coffee. Jammers are just right for a grab and go bite or a mid-morning snack; better yet for a jammy breakfast in bed.
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
¼ cup to ½ cup jam
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease baking sheet and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using a pastry cutter if you like, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir vinegar into milk. (You can also use buttermilk in place of the milk and vinegar, if you like.) Pour all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed.
Drop batter onto prepared baking sheet using a greased ¼-cup measure. Grease the back of a spoon, and use to make crater-like indentations in tops of biscuits. Fill each biscuit with approximately 2 teaspoons of jam. Bake until crispy and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 8 biscuits.
Post by Alison Hein.
My husband and I were just leaving our favorite local Italian restaurant recently when the owner stopped us. “Merry Christmas!”, Antoinette said, as she raced after us and thrust a jaunty red-packaged Panettone in our direction. I happily accepted the gift, as the holiday season would be incomplete without at least one of these airy, fruit-filled sweet breads added to my holiday larder.
Sadly, the abundance of homemade temptations during this season – from cookies to chocolate to cheesecake – is often so overwhelming that the poor panettone may be overlooked. In this case, I will make French toast, or what I like to call Italian PaneToast.
Panettone is tall (6 to 7 inches) and is typically shaped like a chef’s toque. Its airy, angel food cake-like consistency comes from the long and slow rising process of the dough which can last several days. Traditional varieties include both dark and golden raisins, candied orange, citron and lemon zest. Less common types may include chocolate, chestnuts, or other types of fruit.
Open the package and a spicy citrus-vanilla scent is released. The panettone is so flavor-filled that only egg and milk are needed for the toast. (Well, maybe just a drop of alcohol, too, as it’s traditional to serve panettone with a sweet cordial. ;-)) Cut the bread in thick wedges – the sweet bread’s dough is so light and airy that the custardy toast browns to perfection in mere minutes.
There are many intriguing legends about the origin of panettone, from a nobleman posing as a pastry chef for love of a baker’s daughter, to a young kitchen assistant inventing the sweet bread when the chief cook had no Christmas dessert to offer. Start your own intriguing legend, with a new holiday tradition of Italian PaneToast breakfast in bed.
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Frangelico or Amaretto (optional)
8 wedge-slices Panettone
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add Frangelico or Amaretto if using. Dip panettone slices into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add panettone and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Place two slices of Panetonne on each of 4 plates, sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar if you like. Serve warm with maple syrup.
Makes 4 servings.
Post by Alison Hein
On New Year’s Day, people around the world will be celebrating – with food! Health, prosperity, love and luck are signified by festive, global dishes. In Japan, they will ring in the new year with “toshikoshi soba”, lengthy buckwheat noodles associated with longevity. Germans will be dining on hearty pork and sauerkraut, meant for abundance and luck. And here in our own southern United States, “Hoppin’ John”, a dish made with round black-eyed peas and salt pork, is believed to bring good fortune and a circuitous close to the year.
Perhaps you’re planning a get-together with friends and family on the first day of the year, or maybe just a quiet day of reflection. Even a day of recuperation from the night before…
You may consider a hot toddy – made hot and sweet, then splashed with alcohol and wintry spices – a good old-fashioned cold remedy or insomnia cure. I recently learned it was also a favored libation at New Year’s Day open houses, or “collations”, which were popular in colonial New York. Get this – people hosting open houses took out newspaper ads to let their friends and neighbors know of the upcoming festivities. Guests were greeted with punch, hot toddies, cakes and other snacks. This practice remained popular for many years, until bands of young men started racing from home to home, grabbing food and drink before hieing off to the next party. It makes me laugh to think of trying this in present-day New York. ☺
Hot Toddies are simple to make, but be careful, just a hint of brandy and spice makes them alarmingly addictive. Vary your toddies by using whiskey, rum or bourbon. Make them with water or tea, fiddle with the spices, or float a thin slice of lemon on top. Then serve them at your own “collation”, or simply keep them to yourself and quietly celebrate the first breakfast in bed of the year.
Happy New Year!
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon honey
6 ounces milk
¼ teaspoon mace
1 cinnamon stick
Nutmeg, for garnish (optional)
Add brandy and honey to a small heat-proof glass, such as an Irish coffee mug. Pour milk into small, heavy pot and heat over medium to medium-low heat until warmed. Stir mace into milk. Pour warm milk into glass containing brandy and honey. Stir. Add cinnamon stick, sprinkle with nutmeg if you like, and serve immediately.
Makes one Hot Toddy.
Post by Alison Hein.
Get out those apples again – we’re making fritters!
As autumn turns to winter each year, I’m reminded of my mother, who would heat up a batch of oil, and fry us up some old-timey fritters. A wonderful contradiction of tangy, sweet, crispy, and soft… But these are not your mother’s fritters – yesterday’s pancake batter has been updated with bubbly effervescence – beer! Carbon dioxide, foaming agents, and, of course, alcohol conspire to form the perfect triad for creating light, crispy crusts.
Webster’s dictionary describes a fritter as “a small mass of fried or sautéed batter often containing fruit or meat”. This foodstuff is age-old, ancient and across-the-board. Burmese make small fritters similar to falafel called a-kyaw; there are both sweet and savory Indonesian gorengan; and let’s not forget Japanese tempura or Phillippine kwek-kwek!
But back to my mom and her apple fritters. She did do something a little different. Instead of commonly adding chopped apples to the batter before frying, she merely sliced the fruit in rings before dipping them in a floury egg bath and cooking to a golden perfection. I like the beer dip, though. Not only for the light crispiness it helps to achieve, but for the modern, edgy flavor that lets you know you’re in for something special. In other words, a breakfast in bed that happens only once in a Blue Moon.
1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chilled Blue Moon beer (or other beer or club soda)
2 tart apples, like McIntosh or Cortland
Oil for frying
Deep-fry or candy thermometer
Pour oil at least 2 inches deep into a small, heavy pan. Heat over medium heat to approximately 350°. Mix together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. Whisk in beer or club soda until just mixed. Do not overmix. Set batter aside to rest a few minutes.
Pare and core apples, then slice into ¼-inch rings. Using long tongs, dip apple rings into batter, gently shaking off any excess, then into hot oil. Cook until batter is crisped and golden, carefully turning once, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool slightly on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot.
NOTE: Monitor oil with candy thermometer to maintain stable temperature.