Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rote Grütze (Red Fruit Pudding) and a trip to the island of Sylt

Today I have a traditional German dessert for you, and it's the Rote Grütze. It is basically a fruit pudding thickened with tapioca pearls, and sometimes corn starch. You can use your favorite fruits and berries for this. The most popular choice is a mix of cherries, currants, strawberries and raspberries.

Rote Grütze is probably the most popular dessert on the island of Sylt, situated in the German North Sea. It is often served with heavy cream or crème anglais, but you can also serve it as a topping for waffles, cheesecakes, rice pudding or ice-cream.

Sylt is one of the popular spots for Germans to spend their holidays. A over 40 km long, unbroken chain of sandy beaches and mud flat makes up the island's coastline. There are many protected nature habitats for fishes and birds to feed and rest. Majority of the houses are decked with traditional north German thatch roofs which gives a very rustic characters to the island. There are also many, many fine restaurants. It also has some of Germany's most expensive real estate, and is also known as a place for the rich and famous. Therefor you can probably say that it has a similar feel to the Hamptons.

I am in love with this beautiful place. The landscape is unbelievable. Everyday we were greeted with a clear blue sky and refreshing ocean breeze. I felt connected with this island, even though I have not been there for a long time, probably because I am born in north Germany, not too far from Sylt.

Since the land is mostly flat, one of the most popular tourist activities is cycling. There are plenty of shops where you can rent bicycles. You can probably travel around the island that way within half a day or so. Where bikes are not accessible, it is still very comfortable to reach these destinations at walking pace. There are hiking trails for those who wish to experience nature.

Another regional icon for Sylt, and perhaps north Germany, is something called Strandkorb. It literally means "beach basket", but are basically the Cadillac of beach benches. Traditionally built with woven wickers, the Strandkorb comes with accessories such as sun shield, collapsible mini-tables, and pull-out foot rests. You can see these little boxes peppered over the island, and they are a very comfortable place for spending a day on the beach.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rhubarb Cheesecake Muffins

Spring came quite late this year in Germany; our garden was still covered in snow six weeks ago, and I was worried when we would finally get to see the first rhubarb. Once the snow was gone, everything started growing in a hurry. My beloved rhubarb grew very nicely, and after a few weeks I was already able to harvest some for my baking.

Rhubarb is a very good ingredient for making cheesecakes since it makes them less sweet. I posted a recipe for a rhubarb cheesecake with a nice buttery crust before. This time I have decided to make them in muffin forms. The recipe is super quick and easy to make. They are not very sweet, so you might want to add more sugar to it if you want your cheesecake a little sweeter.

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