A Bit About…..Germany
Last month we introduced the concept: “blogging around the world.” That is – we plan each month to feature a different country representing the birthplace of a member of the Amintro family. We plan to share special recipes too. Amintronians come from around the globe and what better way to find out a little bit more about one another than by sharing interesting facts about the countries we come from. Today it’s Germany, tomorrow – maybe it’ll be where you come from! In fact, if you’d like to submit a country for us to discuss, sign up for Amintro today and send us your comments for consideration.
Germany, as a recognized and distinct nation, has existed for thousands of years, essentially from before the time of Julius Caesar. On his quest to conquer nations Julius actually referred to the area as Germania. Germany has experienced a rich, tumultuous and colourful history peppered with huge advances in medicine, industrialized innovations, Automotive technologies and of course, it is also known as the birthplace of many classical composers. As mentioned in our first December blog, it is also generally accepted that we have Germany to thank for the origins of the Christmas tree and the birthday candle. What else can we say “Danke Shon” (thank you) to Germany for? How about this notable list:
- The X-Ray
- Air Bags in automobiles
- Ring binders, hole punches and glue sticks – get organized!
- Caribiners – for mountain climbing
- Contact Lenses – yes, contact lenses!
Add beer to this list and you have perhaps the singular most memorable thing for which Germany is famous. There are more than 1300 breweries in the country and it is known around the world for its “Oktoberfest” celebrations where beer figures prominently. According to Wikipedia, “the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair) is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It’s a 16 to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year.” So if you’re into beer, parties and having fun, October might be a great time to travel with a new Amintro friend to this welcoming and friendly country.
Germany is more than just beer of course. It is truly a magnificent country with stunning vistas, the Bavarian Alps, beautiful cities full of amazing architecture and the Black Forest. The Rhine River is famous and taking a cruise down the Rhine is something special indeed. Germany has a rich and varied history that has had an enormous influence on the world, right down to influencing the development of the English language and therefore – this blog!
Germany is also responsible for giving the world some of the most memorable and moving music of all time. Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and Mozart – it’s quite likely every time you turn on a classical music station or attend a concert or church service you will hear something from one of these celebrated composers.
We have no doubt we could fill many pages talking about Germany but – since we’ve also promised to include a recipe in each blog – we should probably move on to the topic of food. After all, perhaps all this talk of beer, mountains, history and music has got you thinking it might be time for a little light snack. With so much to choose from when we think about German food, selecting a recipe this month was a challenge. Do you like strudel or is Bavarian sausage your favourite? How do you feel about those giant pretzels great for dipping? Maybe Rouladen is your meat of choice. Today we opted for a recipe that’s all about dessert because who couldn’t use a little sweetness in their life, especially at Christmas time! Happy Baking!
Real German Apple Strudel
2 1/2 to 3 cups – All purpose flour (you may need more or less flour, till stiff but not sticky)
3 Tbsp – granulated sugar
1/2 tsp – salt
1/2 tsp – baking powder
2 tsp – ground cinnamon
4 large – eggs, well beaten
3/4 c – butter, margarine or shortening, butter flavor
3/4 c – whole milk
1 c – dairy sour cream
2 tsp – vanilla extract
1 Tbsp – granulated sugar
3 lb – about granny smith apples, cored and sliced thin, divided ( about7 to 9 apples)
1 c – raisins, divided
1 c – sugar, divided
1 Tbsp – ground cinnamon, more or less to taste
3 Tbsp – butter, melted, divided
1/2 c – all purpose flour
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, buttery flavoured shortening and eggs to soft consistency. Add flour a tiny bit at a time, if more is needed, until not sticky just tacky. Dough is ready if you can put your finger in the dough and it comes out clean and not sticky. Knead dough about 10 minutes. Do not over mix- dough will be tough. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Grease bowls and put a piece of dough in each bowl, turning to grease top. Let set for about 1 hour covered.
- Peel apples. Butter 3- 9×13-inch cake pans any 3 pan as long as they have sides will do.( these strudel can be frozen unbaked or baked for 3 months).
- Mix the sour cream, sugar, vanilla and milk together in a medium bowl until gravy thin. Set aside.
Lay out a clean dish towel. Sprinkle with a bit of flour. Roll or stretch out 1 piece of the dough very, very thin as possible. About 1/8 inch thick (don’t worry about edges, you can cut them off.)
- Combine apples, raisins, sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
Using a pastry brush spread 1/3 of the cream mixture on the dough.
Using 1/3 of the apple mixture spoon mixture on one side of the dough the long side. Drizzle on some melted butter.
- Roll up like a jelly-roll. Tuck in ends. Place in one of the prepared pans. Brush top with cream mixture, so top does not get crusty. Cut a few slits over top. Set aside.
- Repeat directions with the remaining dough.
- Bake in 400^ oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350^ and bake for about 45 minutes more
REMEMBER THIS MAKES 3 STRUDEL – YOU CAN FREEZE FOR UP TO 3 MONTHS.
Written by Sheralyn Roman