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When you think of Bavarian pastries, think about a grandmother’s fried, sizzled, tempting sweets. Bavarian baking is actually not baked!
There are many well-known recipes such as Krapfen (a type of donut) or Schmalznudel (yeast pastry fried in lard – yes, pig fat). But the real magic is when you look through Grandma’s dusty old cookery books and discover the sweet and salty delicacies from the past. Prepare to pack on a few pounds!
Today we can enjoy whatever baked goods we want, but in the past there was distinction between social classes. Schuxen (pastry fried in lard), for example, was prepared for working class servants and maids, while Schmalznudeln were reserved for the ruling classes, like wealthy farmers.
The Schmalznudel is one of the best known baked goods in southern Germany and today enjoys great popularity among young and old alike. The reason? Schmalznudeln are fried in a lot of fat. The best can be found in Munich at Café Schmalznudel, which opens at 5 am. They resemble donuts, but instead of a hole in the middle there is a thin layer of dough, earning them the nickname Ausgezogene (pull-outs). They are dipped in sugar to become an ideal accompaniment for coffee. Schmalznudeln are best enjoyed warm – though not too hot.
Striezel is a very sweet name for a pastry. In Bavaria, they are also often referred to as Hefezopf or Nusszopf (yeast or nut braids), depending on what they’re filled with. The Mohnzopf (poppy seed braid) is a common treat, and when the loaf is cut open, the slices resemble cinnamon snails.
Rohrnudel, a cube-shaped yeast pastry filled with plum compote baked in the oven (Rohr) remains a favourite.
Dampfnudel, a close relative of the Rohrnudel, consists of yeast dough prepared in a deep pan, making it an extremely difficult process to try at home. It is important that the dough rises, and lifting the lid early risks the dough collapsing. It is said that the Dampfnudel “sings”, because when it’s done, you can hear it whistle. The final addition is vanilla sauce and poppy seeds.
The name Schuxen likely derived from Schuh (shoe) because they resemble the sole of shoe. The pastry is very high in calories, as it is baked floating in fat. Served in hard times of yesteryear as a side dish to sauerkraut, blood and liver sausages, Schuxen are difficult to find in today’s bakeries.
Hauberlinge is a classic lard pastry often served with roe deer ragout. Made from yeast beer dough, the pastry resembles four small dumplings glued together. Now a rarity of Bavarian cuisine, they remain a real treat.