Recipes

Cookies for the Holidays: Chocolade-Backwerk

“Kleines Chocolade-Backwerk,” perhaps translated best as “Small Chocolate Baked Goods.” These are a basic chocolate and almond cookie. My friends, can I tell you….this cookie was amazing!”

Cookies for the Holidays: Spitzbuben

“In our archives, we have a picture of a Jewish family celebrating Christmas. I asked one of our volunteers who grew up in Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s about Christmas cookies. “Oh yes,” she enthusiastically responded. “Each year at Christmas we would have trays of cookies baked. We especially liked the cookies with jam in the middle, but there were many kinds.” And thus, a sticky plan was hatched…

Potato Strudel (Potato Knishes) of the Bukovina

This time, we tried making a potato strudel, also called potato knishes. The recipe is from a four-volume online publication called The Bukovina Cookbook. Following the instructions, we ended up with so much potato filling that almost half was leftover. And this proved to be the best part of the recipe—we took the filling, patted it out, and made latkes! The latkes were pretty good. So if anything else, we got a basic latke recipe.

Passover Veal Roast and Compote

A popular Passover dish recommended for Passover in cookbooks from the 1900s was Kalbsbraten (veal roast), often served with compote. Compote is a mixture of fruit cooked with sugar and spices; many Jewish cookbook authors frequently recommended compotes as accompaniments to meat, fillings for desserts, or served alone with a sauce. Henny van Cleef’s cookbook, Die israelitische Küche, had recipes for compotes made of plums, apples, pineapples, cherries, melons, huckleberries, and even roots vegetables. I chose her apple compote, since most other fruits were not yet in season.

Billige echt jüdische Bobe (Cheap Real Jewish Bobe) – A Coffee Cake

My friend was most intrigued with the recipe of the Cheap Real Jewish Bobe. It seemed very basic, the kind of thing you would have with coffee mid-morning in a pleasant kitchen or café or garden in Central Europe before the war: nothing too fancy, like some rich pastry or confectionery for a special event among the exceedingly wealthy. This is a simple coffee cake where you invite a few friends over whom you don’t have to impress. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good–after all; aren’t the simplest things often the tastiest?

Erdbeer-Gateau from Hélènemama (Arad, Romania, 1924)

The Erdbeer-Gateau or Strawberry Cake is a delicious and easy recipe. Don’t let any personal fears of working with meringue dissuade you! It’s perfect for summer. This is not a recipe from a “Jewish cookbook,” rather a German cookbook that was published by a German press in Romania. The owner of the cookbook was a Jewish woman from Vienna, and that is how it found its way into our collections.

A German Breakfast from 1896

Flipped apple egg pancake

From “Kochbuch fuer israelitische Frauen” by Rebekka Wolf geb. Heinemann, we created the delicious Apfel-Eierkuchen, or Apple Egg pancakes, and the hearty Arme Ritter, known in English as Poor Knights. Both were easy and provided a tasty glimpse back into a German brunch from 1896.

Kaiserschmarrn

Finished product!

Kaiserschmarrn, a type of sweet scrambled pancake traditionally topped with raisins and rum sauce, has uncertain origins full of folklore. While attributed to Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I, no one is quite sure exactly how or why it was created. Regardless, pancakes were clearly as popular in the 19th century as they are today. The finished product was delicious and definitely something I would make again.

Ruth Heimann’s “Angel Pie”

This pie from a cookbook published by the largely German-Jewish Congregation Habonim in New York in 1976, is made of beaten egg whites and mixed with crushed Ritz crackers and pecans. It was contributed by the late Ruth Heimann, a long-time LBI volunteer.

Trout with Mushroom Sauce

This whole fish simmered with lemons, parsley and other spices comes from Bertha Gumprich’s aptly titled “Complete Practical Cookbook for the Jewish Kitchen,” a compendium of culinary knowledge first published in 1896.