Friday, September 9, 2011

Apfeltaschen - Apple Pockets

I often wonder whether my time spent at the University of Berlin getting a Master's Degree in North American Studies wasn't a huge waste of time. Wow, I can't believe I said that. I worked so long and hard for that degree I still have nightmares every now and then over the finals...

Reading novels and studying American history may have enlightened me about what I was getting myself into when I moved to the US, yet in no way did it prepare me for the food crisis I would encounter once I started living here. I still  get really depressed when I wonder the food aisles of the typical American grocery store.

Photo by Jes Anthonis

Bread. I miss those hardy German loaves to no end. I miss the multitude of rolls and buns one can choose from at a German bakery in the early morning hours. Donuts and Bear Claws? Ridiculous! If you have ever visited Germany you know what I am talking about...

I am convinced that an apprenticeship at a German bakery most likely would have prepared me better for life in the US. At least food wise. In order to survive, I had to teach myself how to make some of the baked goods that I love so much. I never knew how some of my  childhood favorites were prepared until desperation drove me to search for recipes in imported cookbooks and on the Internet.

One of my favorite childhood sweets are Apfeltaschen. Yum! So simple and a yet so good. My kids agree. What kid doesn't love apples?

If you are a German expatriate or just prefer a less sweet treat in the morning enjoy this German recipe!

Apfeltasche/ Apple Pocket

For the filling

Fresh homemade applesauce is best! But you can also use chopped sauteed apples with raisins. You need about one to two cups for the filling.

If you are wondering why the applesauce in my pictures is intensely red: I made it from an old variety of crab apples (you know from before they started messing with the genes to make big ornamental flowering kind of trees). I cannot tell you the location of this tree. It's probably the last one of it's kind in the US. I would have to kill you if I did. LOL

For the dough:
400 grams of all purpose flour
1 package of dry yeast or fresh if you have it
50 grams of sugar
pinch of salt
1 package of vanilla sugar
50 grams of melted butter
200 ml of warm milk
1 egg

Mix all the ingredients together and knead them until you get a smooth dough. Let the dough rest until it has risen or visibly increased in size. Then punch it down and knead it again.
Roll out the dough into a flat sheet. It should be a little less than a quarter inch thickness. Then take a little bowl with a diameter of about 5-6 inches. Use bowl as pattern to cut circles from the dough sheet. You should get about 8 circles. Crack and egg and separate the egg white from the egg yolk.

Put a heaping spoonful of applesauce in the center of each circle. Smear the edges around of your circle with egg white. Then fold over and make little half moon pouches. Pinch the edges firmly together or apple sauce will leak out!

"Looks a lot like an empanada", my husband commented. "You probably stole that recipe from my grandma!" HaHa. Not funny!

Set your apple baggies on a greased baking sheet. Parchment paper works well too.
Cover them up with a towel and let them rise in a warm place once more. Rub the top of each bun with some egg yolk. Once they look bigger bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the tops turn brown. Takes about 15-20 minutes.

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