14 December 2009

Christmas time is "Lebkuchen' Time

In Switzerland, "Lebkuchen' (ginger bread in English) is tradition at Christmas. For many years I have missed Lebkuchen, then I was thinking. It can't be too hard to bake my own after all it's just like a bread, so I went looking for recipes on the internet and found a few. The secret seems to be the spices which can be purchased in stores in Switzerland already mixed, called Lebkuchen-Spices. Again I did some research and found the names of the spices, which are all available in shops here. Armed with the recipe and the secret of the spices, I had a go:

First I placed 50g of brown sugar in a bowl

Then I added an egg

Then I added 50g of honey

Then I added 20g of margarine and whisked
it into a smooth sauce

Then I added the rind of an orange
and mixed that in as well

In a clean bowl I placed 200g of flour and added
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Then I mixed the spices
(tk=tip of knife)
2 tk ground ginger
1 tk Allspice
1tk ground Nutmeg
1 tk ground Cinnamon
1 tk ground Cumin
1 tk ground Cardamom
1 tk ground Coriander
I then added these spices to the flour and sifted it several times

The liquid was then added quickly to the flour and
mixed into a playable dough

I then rolled the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper

And shaped it into the sizes required
In this case I made two about 18cm X 10cm
These were placed into a pre-heated oven and
baked at 180ºC for 18 Minutes

While the pies were baking, I mixed a solution of
icing sugar with a little water. This solution is then
painted onto the pies when they come out of the oven

I then beat an eggwhite stiff so that it won't run
if you turn the bowl upside down. To that I added
icing sugar to make a fairly thick paste

This paste I placed into a plastic bag and cut a very small
corner off the bag

I then used the bag as a piping tool decorating
the Lebkuchens

Here is one. The swiss cross and an S
as it is going to my daughter Sonya in

The other one I took to my mate Martin who is in hospital. Martin is a Swiss Master Pastry-chef and Diane thought I was very game, bringing an amateur Lebkuchen to a professional chef. That I am!