We’re hanging for spring break this week, doing the stay-cation thing and entertaining ourselves with bike rides, bug hunts in the yard, visits to friends and little mini adventures close to home. Yesterday we had the chance to slip in a quick culinary trip to to central Germany to try our hands at making a West Phalian Easter-time treat called struwen, a barely sweet, yeasted pancake with raisins. I would describe struwen as somewhere between a pancake, biscuit and a churro …. can you ever really ever go wrong with fried bread?
My sister-in-law Ute grew up eating struwen every year on Good Friday and for her they’re one of those special, happy childhood food memories, a real taste of home. They are typically served with just a simple sprinkle of sugar, maybe cinnamon sugar, and perhaps apple sauce if you’re stretching tradition a bit. I know I am a struwen newbie, but think the apple sauce is an absolute must because these little pancakes are the kind of thing that seem to be meant for dipping…. but whatever you do, don’t slap peanut butter on them (like my brother) or you might risk the ire of West Phalians everywhere!
I sat back and sipped my coffee and snapped some photos of Luca and Ute while they whipped the struwen dough together in just a matter of minutes, and our two little peeps took on the very important supervisory job of peeking over the counter and sampling the raisins. I continued my total slacker-ness by not helping Ute at all as she dropped the sticky struwen dough into a hot, oiled pan and fried them up while Luca mixed up some cinnamon sugar. In fact I think the only thing I contributed to this effort was setting the timer for the dough to rise, and of course…. eating hot, crispy Struwen when they were ready.
Struwen (Good Friday pancakes from central Germany)
[Bookmark this! King Arthur Flour has a great resource for converting weight measurements for different common baking ingredients.]
- 2 1/8 cups flour (500 g Mehl)
- 1 teaspoon salt (1 Teelöffel Salz)
- 1 Package of active dry yeast — 1/4 oz or 2.5 tsp — (10g Trockenhefe)
- 2 tablespoons sugar (30 g Zucker)
- 1.5 cups warm milk (375 ml lauwarme Milch)
- 2 eggs (1-2 Eier)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (30 g Butter)
- 3/4 cup raisins (125 g Rosinen oder Korinthen)
- Oil for frying (Öl oder Schmalz zum Backen)
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Mix flour and salt.
- Mix sugar and yeast and add to flour.
- Add warm milk, melted butter, eggs and raisins to flour mixture and mix well to form a very sticky dough.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until it has puffed and nearly doubled in size.
- Drop by spoonfuls into a hot well oiled pan and fry until golden, flip and cook until golden on second side. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve with cinnamon-sugar and apple sauce
You might also like this other German favorite from Ute: Stutenkerl for St. Nicholas Day