Saturday, July 14, 2007

To Bienenstich or not to Bienenstich...

We were invited to a dinner party/game night/fun fest tomorrow and requested to bring dessert. Upon learning the hosts will be serving up some fanci-fied lavender squab, lemon scented green beans and Snooty McSnobby Potatoes, I knew I had to deliver. No simple Hi-Hat Cupcakes will do.
I thought... ah-ha! Bienenstich. [with enthusiasm] It has honey so that will compliment the squab nicely.

Then I thought... er,
Bienenstich? [with dread]
So what the heck am I talking about? It's a traditional German dessert that's name translates to "Bee Sting Cake". Basically it is a doughy-cake, vanilla cream, and more cake which has been soaked in a honey and almond syrup. Yum! See, I've eaten it many times. For me, an Oktoberfest is simply not complete without my slice of Bienenstich appropriately served to me by an adorable elderly lady in a dirndl.
Side note: I think I'm the only woman in Mr. Cupcake's family who doesn't have a dirndl to call my own. He, on the other hand, grew up with several different pair of his own leiderhosen. Feel free to make fun of him mercilessly because of this. I certainly do.
While Oma (his grandmother) surely had a recipe for it, undoubtedly it is in some box on some shelf in some room that can't quickly be found, so I go online and seek out a recipe. Since there were so many different versions, none of which seemed to be authentic in any way, I took the cake from one, the topping from another and then the filling from a 3rd -- then I Nicolette-i-fied it all into one fantastic recipe. Luckily I have everything on hand so I got started right away.

Since it had to cool for a while, I started with the filling, which I turned into an Almond & Lemon Pastry Cream. Success... and a tasty one at that! With the cream in the fridge, I turned to the cake batter, or really more of a dough.

Here's a little secret -- me and yeast don't quite see eye to eye. No matter how many times the Good Eats sock puppets/yeasty beasties explain it to me, I just cannot get my yeast doughs to rise properly. We won't even get into the Thanksgiving Parker House Roll Fiasco of 2006. I finesse the yeast, carefully checking the water temperature so I don't kill them off en masse. I bloom them with a bit of sugar for 10 minutes to get them nice and full. No luck, and this time was no different.

Plan B. I turned to my Kindred Kitchen Spirit, Ina Garten. Her
profiterole recipe inspired me to make a gigantic cake-size cream puff instead of a traditional cake. So one pâte à choux dough later, I made a spiral (some may say, beehive-esque) puff and it turned out perfectly!

Finally, the topping was turned into a Honey Almond Carmel and slowly poured over top.



A-maz-ing! Tell me that doesn't look good. I totally rocked this dessert. [By the way, have I ever mentioned that modesty is one of my better qualities?!] Now if I can only find someone to rock the mound of dishes and appliances it's left in it's wake...........

Edited to add: Since a few of you asked so nicely, I'll post the recipe tomorrow!

1 comment:

suburban prep said...

What a wonderful treat.