Mohnschnecken (with Quarkülteig)

When I made hamantaschen a few months ago, my fellow volunteer commented on how they reminded him of another German delicacy, Mohnschnecken — poppy seed “snails.” I resolved to give them a try. With his birthday sneaking up on me, and an evening free at last, I finally sought out guidance from the internet. I was particularly intrigued by a recipe from Lena Makes that used a quark dough, or Quarkülteig, since it was quick and simple, and I have become helplessly addicted to quark. (Funny to remember how baffled, skeptical, and unimpressed I was by quark when I first heard of it.) I took the warnings of how sticky the dough was to heart, and generously floured before rolling it out. It was indeed quite soft, but pliable and much tidier and easier to roll out than most doughs I’ve tried, perhaps because of this precautionary measure. Unfortunately, because it was so soft, and rolled out so readily, I ended up spreading the dough too thin and spreading the filling too thick, and it squashed into a mess when I went to slice the rolls. I pushed them back into rounds as best I could, and the spiral came through better than I expected once they were baked, but they turned out more like cookies than cinnamon rolls. Perhaps cutting them thicker and baking less time would do the trick. They turned out tasty nonetheless, at least to the rest of us who had nothing to compare them to. Ach, well. I guess I have an excuse to make these again, and see if I can get a bit closer to the authentic German treat that he pines for.

Mohnschnecken (Poppy Seed “Snail” Rolls)

Dough:
1 cup quark (chèvre, sour cream, or Greek yogurt might also work)
1 egg
6 tablespoons oil
2 cups all purpose flour (spelt or whole wheat pastry would probably also work)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
A teaspoon or two of orange zest

Whisk together quark, egg, and oil until smooth and creamy. Combine dry ingredients, then gradually stir into the wet ingredients. Fold in the orange zest, if desired. You can make it ahead and chill until ready to use — it will not firm up much, however.

Filling:
1 1/2 cups poppy seeds
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 eggs

Grind poppy seeds in small batches in a coffee/spice grinder. (Skip this step if you don’t have one.) Melt butter, then whisk in milk and sugar. Beat eggs in a small bowl, then continue whisking while gradually stirring in about 1/2 cup of the warm liquid. Pour egg mixture gradually back into the pot and simmer gently for 3-6 minutes, until thickens and coats the back of a spoon (it always takes longer than that for me, eventually I got impatient, turned the heat to medium, and it quickly turned into curds. Not the end of the world if this happens, just remove from heat and whisk it smooth again.) Remove from heat, stir in poppy seed, and chill at least 15 minutes before using.

While the filling is chilling is the perfect time to roll out the dough and preheat the oven! Be sure to flour the surface generously. I rolled it on the back of a baking sheet. Roll into a rectangle, about 1/2″ thick. Spread filling (you will have more than enough), roll it up lengthwise, cut into slices about an inch thick, and bake at 350°F for 25-35 minutes.

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Posted in Breads and Baked Goods, Flops with Promise, Snacks and Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carrot Souffle

SO good! If, like me, you have a soft spot for muffins and pumpkin pie, you’ll go crazy for these. Quite possibly my favorite form of carrot yet! (And believe me, I’ve tried an awful lot of them over the past five months.) Made for a very special breakfast, in honor of two birthdays, and the leftovers made for a delightful “spread” on top of bread for supper. Also a great snack straight out of the fridge. Basically, you can’t go wrong with these. Eternally indebted to Sabrina, from “Dinner Then Dessert,” for introducing me to these.

I doubled the recipe, and ended up with two dozen, plus a fair amount of batter to spare. (But I could probably have filled the muffin tins fuller, as I recommend below.) Can easily halve back to the original proportions.

Seriously, you’ve got to try these.

Mini Carrot Souffles
(Makes at least 2 dozen)

4 pounds carrots, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1/4 cup flour (can use gluten free)
1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon baking powder

Steam carrots until extremely tender, then puree until smooth in food processor. It took about three batches for me. Mix in butter, vanilla,and egg. Combine together dry ingredients in a small bowl, then stir in vigorously to incorporate into carrot mixture. Preheat oven to 350°F, spoon into greased muffin tins, filling almost to the brim, and bake for an hour. Let cool about 10 minutes in pans to set, and enjoy!

Posted in Breads and Baked Goods, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Snacks and Sweets | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hummus of the Week

Most nights, we prepare a simple supper of “breads and spreads.” I try to keep us well supplied with hummus, and mix things up a bit. Here are some of the more memorable variants so far.

Red Pepper & White Bean Hummus: White beans blended with two heads of garlic, sliced and sautéed, a small red pepper, sliced and sautéed until soft, and a little dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper, cumin and coriander, dash of olive oil, and lemon juice, to taste. So good!

Rosemary & White Bean Hummus: Minced fresh rosemary, 3-4 cloves garlic, minced and sautéed, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Yes!

Tamari Ginger Carrot: Straying pretty far from the original — tamari ginger carrots blended with garbanzos. Admittedly not my favorite, perhaps it would work better with a smaller proportion of carrots?

Curry: Curry powder, cumin, coriander, tahini, salt and pepper. Added too much salt by mistake, so ended up a bit too reminiscent of ramen seasoning. But turned out to pair perfectly with carrot sticks! I wonder how a curried carrot hummus would be…

Paprika: Classic hummus (garbanzos, tahini, olive oil, cumin, coriander), but with tons of paprika that accidentally leapt in at the end. Pretty tasty, actually, not that I plan to repeat if I can help it.

Coriander Caraway: Leftover Tunisian-style garbanzos (coriander, caraway, lemon juice, paprika, garlic) worked pretty well blended into hummus!

Posted in Garden Originals, Gluten Free, Sauces, Condiments, and Dips, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment