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Blätterteich

Solving the Blätterteich puzzle was fun.  The literal translation of “Blätterteich” is “leaves pond” which makes no sense, but it actually refers to Puff Pastry. My first search let me to the name of a restaurant in Oldenburg, German.  I remember Mom addressing letters to “Bakum en Oldenburg”, so that got me excited, but I kept getting the same translation about “leaves pond”.  Eventually I found a YouTube video in German that had “Blätterteich” in its title but it showed the process of making puff pastry.

Puff pastry is a light, flaky pastry containing several layers cold buttery. The dough (sometimes called a “water dough”)  is repeatedly folded and rolled out. The gaps that form between the layers are a result of the puff pastry rising as the water evaporates into steam during the baking process. Piercing the dough will prevent excessive puffing, and crimping along the sides will prevent the layers from flaking all of the way to the edges. 

 Making puff pastry dough can be time-consuming, because it must be rolled and chilled in 20-30 minute intervals to keep the butterfrom becoming runny; also, the rest in between the folding steps allows gluten strands time to link up and retain layering.

 Puff pastry is not the same as phyllo pastry which is also made with flour, water, and fat (but no egg) and is stretched to size rather than rolled. Usually when using phyllo dough, a small amount of oil or melted fat (usually butter) is brushed on one layer of phyllo dough and is topped with another layer. This process can be repeated as many times as desired. When it bakes, it becomes crispy but, since it contains somewhat less water, does not expand to the same degree as puff pastry does.

What makes Mom’s recipe a little different from classic recipes I found online was the addition of cognac.  I assume that is to help the dough rise a bit more.  In my version below, I took liberties and copied them from directions I found in those other recipes and the videoPuff pastry / Blätterteig herstellen

Blätterteich

German:
Blätterteich

½ Mehl, ¼ Butter sehr harte, 1 geschlagenes Ei, Wasser, Congnack. Das Mehl wird mit ungefähr 1 Eßl. vom geschlagenen Ei, 3 Eßl. Wasser u einen Schuß Congnack zu einem Teig verarbeitet muß aber recht steif sein, dann ausgerollt die Butter darauf gelegt, zusammen geschlagen u. wieder ausgerollt, dann wieder zusammen geschlagen u. zum Ruhen hingelegt. Der Teig muß alle Stunden augerollt werden, einmal lang, einmal quer, bis die Butter alle durchgezogen ist.

Google Translate:
leaves pond
½ flour, butter ¼ very hard, 1 beaten egg, water, Congnack. The flour is with about 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg, 3 tablespoons water u a shot Congnack made ​​into a dough but must be quite stiff, then the butter rolled paid to beat up and rolled out again, then beaten and laid to rest. The dough must be eye rolls all hours, one long, one crosswise, until the butter has pulled all.

My Interpretation:
Puff Pastry

1/2 kg flour
1/4 KG Butter, very hard
1 beaten egg
3 T. Water
1 shot Cognac

With your hands, knead 10% (50g) of the flour with the butter and form into a block. Put on a plate and put in the fridge while you work on the dough.

Dump remaining flour in a mound; make a well in the center of the mound with a glass. Crack an egg and dump in the well then with a fork, use a whisking motion, gradually incorporate the well’s sides into the water. When it starts to form a solid mass, finish incorporating the flour by kneading. Incorporate just until it is still sticky and has a rough texture. Adjust the water & flour as needed. Try to knead as little as possible. Puff pastry likes lazy kneaders.

Working the dough:
1. Pull the corners of the cuts out of the dough ball to make a square shape. Roll the dough out to a square slightly thicker in the center than on the sides, and slightly larger than the butter block.

2. Place the butter block diagonally on the dough square, so that the butter corners are pointed at the middle of the dough sides. Fold the uncovered dough corners over the butter block to completely envelop the butter. Pinch the seams tightly together to seal in the butter.

3. Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Remember to keep dusting with flour whenever needed to keep the dough from sticking & tearing the layers.

4. Size up your rectangle visually into 3. Fold one-third over the middle, then fold the opposite third over. Just like a tri-fold brochure. Try to have everything as even as possible. All the edges should match fairly closely. Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Relax, read the paper, check email, whatever you like.

5. Roll out to 1/2″ thick and repeat the fold. Don’t forget to flour as you roll. Plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this for a total five roll & folds.

6. After the last fold, roll the rectangle out to about 3/4″. If it is difficult, put dough in the fridge for a bit to relax the gluten. If using immediately, cover, rest in fridge for about 30 minutes, then use as needed. If it’s for later, cut into sections big enough but that still fit easily in your freezer (usually just in half), layer with wax paper between sections, freezer bag it, & store until needed.

You can use this pastry to make breads, pies, cakes, cookies, etc., so shaping and baking is dependent on your final product.

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Make Your Own Ready-Mixes for Short-Cut Cookery

I am wondering about what was on grocery shelves when this article appeared.  Was Bisquick there?  Well, I researched it online and it looks like it was invented in 1930 and was on grocer shelves in 1931. Cake mixes originated in the 1920’s…..but it was probably not available in Frankfort, KS for some time after that..  I’ve experimented with baking mixes myself.  A biscuit mix comes to mind.  

The caption under the apple pie triggers memories of Mom belonging to the “Sunflower Club”.  What did they do and what was their purpose?  I think the purpose was mainly social, an organized way of the neighbor ladies getting together.  The organizational part of it was that the club had a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.  It met monthly, I think even in the summer.  When it was Mom’s time to have club, that meant we were going to re-paper somewhere in the house and we were going to clean like mad to show off a perfect household.  I don’t think this was unique to Mom….all the other ladies did it, too, I’m sure.  

Being the baby in the family, I needed to go with Mom in those early years.  If club was at our house during the summer, we were going to be part of the serving staff.  As I remember, a club meeting always had some sort of game they played after the business meeting.  It might be a series of 10-12 questions after which the person with the most correct questions won the prize.  Mom kept her eyes out for little “contests” she could use when she was in charge of entertainment.  When “lunch” was served it was usually finger sandwiches, some kind of dessert and nut cups. Sunflower club hosted a card party with the spouses and families at least once a year.  I know they had dues and occasionally would contribute to a local charity event.  

When I married, I joined a chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority in the Frankfort community; later when we moved to McPherson I was able to join a chapter there.  Eventually I joined one in Topeka.  Some of my best friends were made through that sorority.  Same premise as Mom’s Sunflower club, I think, but maybe a little more modern by then.

For farm wives at this time, you still had the responsibility of getting supper on the table.  Play if you want to during the afternoon, but you still had your responsibilities at home.  A clear separation of labor in that day.

In case you want a copy of their leaflet about these mixes you could order one by sending three-cents (to cover postage) along with your name and address…..I actually remember when the postage on a letter was three cents.

Make Your Own Ready-Mixes for Short-Cut Cookery

Go to club in the afternoon and still have a fresh, warm pie for supper to serve to the hungry gan trooping in from school and work.  It’s no trick if you have your own ready-mixes on hand.

There are times when all of us like to dawdle in our kitchens and make special dishes with an artist’s loving care.  Then again, we need to whip up something tasty in record time and get on to something important or interesting.

When the hurry-up mood is one, it is so very convenient and economical to have a supply of your own ready-mixes on hand.  Among the mixes you can keep in your kitchen to help you in a pinch are biscuit mix, pastry mix, muffin mix, cornbread mix, gingerbread mix, bran muffin mix and plain cake mis.

If you haven’t used your ready-mixes before, why nt start with a pastry mix that will make four pie shells or two two-curst pies or two dozen tart shells?  See how you like not having to start from scratch every time you want a pie for dessert

Pastry Mix

4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups shortening

Sift flour once, measure and add salt.  Cut in about three-fourths of the shortening very thoroughly, using light strokes with a pastry blender.  (Mixture should first become fluffy and fine like meal, then start to clump together.)  Add remaining shortening in several pieces and chop in lightly, just until divided into pieces the size of large peas.  Place in a covered container and store at room temperature.

When you are ready to make one of your pies — and if it is a two-crust pie — merely measure three cups of your mix into a bowl and stir in about five tablespoons water.  Mix lightly and roll as usual on a floured board.

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It is also possible to make a pie filling mix of tapioca, granulated sugar and brown sugar to use in thickening fruit pies.  The following recipe is for use with fresh peach, blueberry and plum pies.  Cherry and apple pies need a little more sugar and a little less tapioca.

Pie Filling Mix

6 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients, mixing well.  Place in covered container and store at room temperature.  The brown sugar hardens if placed in the refrigerator.  Yields enough for two nine-inch pies.

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If you like having your own mixes ready to use, double or triple these recipes.

“Mix Your Own Time-Saving Baking Mixes” is a handy leaflet containing recipes for biscuit, pi, muffin, cornbread, gingerbread and cake mixes. Prepare a mix for as many as eight dozen biscuits or four gingerbreads at once!  We think you’ll like these time-saving methods.  You may have a copy of the leaflet simply by sending your name, address and three cents to Food Service……..

Get at the Bottom of a Good Cookie Crumb Crust

Oh, OK…I had to make up a few words in the title of this clipping because it’s missing.  Mom liked vanilla wafers and I remember her making desserts that incorporated them.  I like them, too, so a crust using them sounds just yummy.  Since Mom was a sucker for “something new”, I’m sure she would have been a big fan of ready-made crusts like we can buy now. 

Making a great dessert without heating up the kitchen would likely catch any homemaker’s attention because there was no air conditioning in the average subscriber’s home.  I remember being glad when Mom was going to stop at the Westy IGA to buy groceries because for that tiny bit of time we would get to be in AIR CONDITIONING. 

Get at the Bottom (of a Good Cookie) Crumb Crust

Pie crust has long been the test of a good cook.  But now comes a crust that outwits the cruelest of critics, for how can a homemaker go wrong when she has only to combine cookie crumbs with melted b utter and sugar for a never fail crust.  Yet ease alone can’t account for the rise in popularity of crumb pie c rusts; their crunchy goodness and delightful texture contrast also make them a winner.

Although graham crackers were used in the first crumb crusts, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, and chocolate cookies have also proved themselves equally acceptable.  Just remember that the richer and sweeter the cookie, the less shortening and sugar you’ll need.  Whereas 1 1/4 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs call for 1 tablespoon sugar and 4 tablespoons of butter, graham crackers need 2 tablespoons sugar and 6 tablespoons butter; ginger snaps, 3 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons butter; and brownies, no sugar and 4 tablespoons butter.

Delicious any time of the year, crumb crusts are especially wonderful for the summer months for they let you make a pie without heating up the oven, the kitchen, and yourself in so doing.  For the filling, add a prepared pudding mix or any cream filling.  One of the best is this applause-winning banana cream pie with a tapioca base.

Banana Tapioca Cream Pie

CRUST
1 1/4 cups fine vanilla wafer crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted)

FILLING
1 egg yok
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 egg white, stiffly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas, sliced
Whipped cream

Mix vanilla wafer crumbs and sugar. Stir into melted butter or margarine and mix well.  Press firmly on bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Chill 1 hour before filing. Or, bake crust in moderate oven (375 degrees F,.) about 7 minutes, and cool before filling.

Mix egg yolk with 1/4 cup milk in saucepan.  Stir in 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, tapioca, gelatine and remaining milk.  Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Beat remaining sugar into beaten egg white.  Blend hot mixture quickly into this.  Add vanilla and cool 20 minutes.  stir well and pour into chilled or baked pie crust.  Chill until firm.  Just before serving, garnish with sliced bananas and top with whipped cream.

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Alternate layers of rich marshmallow cream and bright raspberry sauce fill a graham cracker crust to perfection in this recipe from Audrey Couch of Orchard, Neb.  you may wish to save back a few of the raspberries to garnish the top of this dessert masterpiece

Raspberry Layer Pie

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 pound marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cream, whipped
1 cup raspberry juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.  Pat into 9-inch pie pan; chill.  Combine marshmallows and milk.  Heat to melt marshmallows.  Cool.  Add whipped cream.  Cook raspberry juice with cornstarch until thickened.  Add lemon juice and red raspberries.  Fill the pie shell with alternate layers of marshmallow mixture and raspberry mixture until all are used up.  Chill several hours before serving

 

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