Prasselkuchen – Streusel Jam bars (Berlin)

Prasselkuchen – Streusel Jam bars (Berlin)

Ingredients for the Crust

2 cups flour

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

10.5 tablespoons European-style butter (I use Plugra*) – with high butterfat content, at room temperature

1 egg yolk

grated peel of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon water

*Note- Plugra bars are double the size of traditional butter sticks which are typically 4 oz or 8 Tablespoons. Plugra is 8 oz or 16 Tablespoons per stick. 

Ingredients for the Streusel

1/2 cup blanched almonds (I used Trader Joes almond slivers)

1 and 1/4 cups minus a tablespoon flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 Tablespoons European-style butter (see note above), at room temperature

1 cup jam – traditionally apricot or red currant. (Tart jam helps counterbalance the sweetness of the bars. I used a combination of  apricot and passion fruit/orange jam.)

To make the Crust– Put flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, Cut the butter into cubes and add those to the bowl. Using your fingers, start to massage the butter into the flour mixture. Add the egg yolk, lemon peel and water as you continue mixing. You want a relatively smooth dough but don’t overwork the dough beyond this point. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in fridge for an hour.

To make the Streusel – while dough chills, toast almonds  in a small pan over medium heat until they start to give off a nice smell. Don’t let them get brown. Remove pan from heat, cool slightly and chop almonds coarsely. Or – make it easy and do as I do – buy already toasted almond slivers at Trader Joe’s and skip this step!

Preheat oven to 375.

While oven preheats, line a 9×13 inch baking pan (metal is preferred to glass but either works) with parchment paper, allowing extra paper to hang over the sides. This will enable you to easily lift out the whole Prasselkuchen once it’s done baking.

Mix together the ingredients for the streusel –  first combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and cooled almonds. Cut the butter in cubes and add to the mixture. Rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture looks like a combo of both smaller and larger sized peas or beans. (eg, not uniform size). Cover and refrigerate this mixture.

Remove the ball of dough for the crust from the fridge. Roll it out or otherwise press it into the baking pan to cover the base and form about 1/4 inch high sides. Prick the crust all over with the tips of  fork tines. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove crust from oven and spread the jam evenly over the bottom crust. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the jam layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the streusel topping is lightly colored and the jam is bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven, let cool on a rack.  Then use the parchment paper to lift out the Prasselkuchen onto a cutting board. Slice into approximately 30 one inch bars.

When completely cool, the bars can be stored in a tight-fitting cookie tin or other container. They will stay fresh for about a week, but they won’t last that long. Promise.


The Prasselkuchen before slicing into squares. Note crumbly top!

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Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce from The Bon Ton Cafe

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce from The Bon Ton Cafe

For the Pudding

6 ounces stale French bread with crust (I used a mix of ciabatta and challah)

2 cups milk

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

7  tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temp

4 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup raisins


For the Whiskey Sauce

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 stick butter, melted

1/2-3/4 cup Bourbon whiskey (1/2 cup was plenty, IMHO)


Instructions – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the pudding, crumble the bread into pieces into a large bowl. Add milk to the bread pieces and let the milk get absorbed by the bread, about 10 min.  Now add eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and raisins. Mix well.

Butter a baking pan (I used a 7.5 x 10 inch casserole dish with nearly 4 inches depth.) Put bread mixture into this pan and bake for 45 minutes until the pudding is firm and light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

To make the whiskey sauce, beat the sugar and egg together until well blended. Add the melted butter, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add whiskey.

At this point, you can decide to serve in individual portions or as an entire pudding. Pour sauce over the pudding (I used less than the full amount) and heat for just 2-3 minutes under the broiler until sauce is hot and bubbly.


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Pecan Praline Popcorn Treats

Pecan Praline Popcorn Treats


Pecan Praline Caramel Corn

1 ¼ cups sugar

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted in a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes (watch carefully so they don’t burn)

½ tsp cider vinegar

¼ tsp salt

8 cups plain popped popcorn

cayenne pepper to taste, if desired


Oil a 9” square baking pan.

In a wide heavy pot (at least 4 quarts), add the sugar and stir over medium heat so that it melts evenly.

Stop stirring and cook, swirling pot occasionally until sugar becomes a deep golden caramel (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn).

Reduce heat to low. Stir in butter, pecans, cider vinegar and salt. When butter is almost melted, add popcorn and stir to coat.

Quickly press mixture in baking pan with spatula or using wax-paper to guide pressing the popcorn into the pan. Mixture will be very hot and sticky, work as quickly as you can.

Cool completely before cutting or breaking into pieces.

(original recipe from

The perfect holiday snack

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Grand Marnier Souffles

Grand Marnier Souffles

Grand Marnier Souffles

One of the two most memorable bites from my sailing aboard Her Majesty Queen Mary 2 was this souffle. I think it’s delicious even without the warm creme anglaise that was ladled into the center. And the “wow” factor is huge compared to the very modest investment of time required to create these light, airy, delectable treats.

This recipe has been revised slightly from one that appeared in the New York Times; original authors were Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller.  The souffles are gluten-free and can easily be made dairy-free if you substitute margarine or cooking spray for the butter.


  • 1 tablespoon butter at at room temperature. You can substitute margarine or cooking spray. I like butter best.
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  •  cup grated orange rind 
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (you can substitute Cointreau or other orange liqueur)
  • 3/4 tsp orange extract (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 4oo degrees.
  2. Use the butter to grease four 1-cup souffle dishes. Sprinkle a total of 1 tablespoon of sugar over the insides of the 4 souffle dishes.
  3. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and add 1/2 cup sugar, the orange rind and the Grand Marnier. add orange extract if using. Beat briskly until well blended.
  4. In a large, deep bowl,  beat the egg whites (with hand-held beater or KitchenAid) until they just begin to turn stiff, but don’t overbeat beyond this point. Toward the end, beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
  5. Fold the whites carefully into the egg and orange mixture. Divide equal portions of the mixture in the prepared souffle dishes.
  6. Put the dishes on a baking sheet, and place in the pre-heated oven on a lower shelf (not top shelf). Bake for 12-14 minutes, and serve immediately. (If the tops start to brown too soon,  quickly cover with some foil and finish baking.)

Note: just out of curiosity, I tested delaying baking the souffle mixture  and am pleased to report that it lasted about an hour in the fridge before baking – no detrimental effects noted. That said, it’s always better to bake these right away.

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Lao Roasted Peanut Appetizer

Lao Roasted Peanut Appetizer

The very first, and thus, most memorable thing I ate while in Laos was the spicy peanuts served upon arrival at the Villa Maly for our “Welcome Treatment”. We encountered similar versions again in Cambodia, but I really wanted to recreate the Laotian dish.

Thanks to Executive Chef Rasika Weerasinghe from the Villa Maly who shared the recipe with me.

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The Red Clogs

Why the Red Clogs? Read More