Posts from the ‘Mennonite Recipes’ Category

Bubbat – Mennonite Raisin and Farmer Sausage Bread

bubbat recipe - trust in kim

My Oma always made this bread for holiday feasts, so I’m giving it a try for Thanksgiving dinner.  While delicious, this version doesn’t seem a lot like hers, but she never used a recipe, so the secret is lost. I think she probably added a whole bunch of chicken fat.

I found several recipes in the Mennonite Treasury, that great cookbook that holds so many of the traditional recipes.  I used a combination of two recipes, choosing to use a yeast-raised version.  I mainly used the recipe for ‘Bubbat (with sausage)’ submitted by Mrs. Herman Neufeld.  Poor dear, with no first name of her own! To her recipe I added the raisins and prunes, some butter, and used much less sausage than the 1&1/2 pounds the recipe called for.  I set aside a bit of batter to make a small vegetarian loaf before mixing in the sausage.

What you need:

1 tablespoon sugar

1 package (2 & 1/4 teaspoons) yeast

1 egg

1 &1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup melted butter

3 & 1/2 – 4 cups flour

2 cups raisins and chopped prunes

2 cups chopped farmer sausage (if you’re in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, the best is from Rempel Meats)

What you do:

1. Heat the milk until it just boils, then let it cool.

2. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into some lukewarm water then sprinkle the yeast on top. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, until it gets foamy.  If it doesn’t do anything that means your yeast is dead.

3. Once the milk has cooled, add the yeast, a beaten egg, melted butter and salt to it.  Stir in the flour to make “a soft dough that can barely be stirred with a spoon.” I think this means it is soft but firm… do what feels right! Add the raisins, prunes and farmer sausage.

4. Grease a large loaf pan very well with butter and pour the dough into it.  The cookbook asks for lengths of sausage to be pressed into the top, so you can do this if you want more meat in there.

5. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour.  The cookbook does not specify, but I think it’s a good idea to put a clean tea towel on top of it.

6. Once the dough has risen,  preheat the oven to 375F and bake for 45 minutes.

One recipe says to serve it hot, but I don’t remember having it that way, so you can remove it from the tin to let it cool if you want, or serve it right away with some butter.

bubbat recipe - trust in kim

Apricot Jam

apricot jam - trust in kim

This summer my friend Connie visited from Ontario and brought a delicious jar of homemade apricot jam.  It was so delicious on toast, and amazing as a glaze for the apricots in this Apricot Almond Cake. I can easily say that apricot jam is my favourite of all the jams, and yet I’ve never made it before.  Since my sweetheart loves it as much as I do, I searched many produce stores to find apricots this late in the summer, (actually a few weeks ago now), and managed to find a few pounds.  Connie sent me her recipe, and I cooked up a batch.  Love the colour, love the smell, and I’m looking forward to tasting it all winter long!

The recipe is proportional, about 3 parts fruit to 1 part sugar.  I’m writing the amounts I used, but you can experiment depending on the amount you are using, as well as the flavour in your fruit.  Sometimes they need a little extra (or start with less) sugar or citrus.

What you need:

12 cups pitted and chopped apricots

4 cups white sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

canning jars, rings and new lids

What you do:

1. Chop the apricots up into small pieces and put them into a large pot with the sugar and citrus juices.  Bring to a low boil and skim off any foam.  Let it cook, stirring often,  on a low simmer until the mixture has thickened.  To test how thick your jam will be when it has cooled you can put a plate in the freezer.  Just drop a little jam onto the icy plate and let it cool, then give it a push with your finger to see if it is thick enough.  If not, just keep cooking it for longer.

2. Preheat the oven to 225F.  After washing your canning jars, put them in the oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize them.  Heat a small pot of water for your lids to sterilize them and soften the rubber ring.  Just a note: it’s not a good idea to re-use the lids (the rings are fine to re-use though) because they may not seal properly.

3. Once your jam is ready pour it into the sterilized jars, keeping the edges of the jar clean so you will get a good seal.  Put a lid and ring on each and tighten it. My mom and Oma always put a tea towel over the jars until they seal, so that’s what I did.  You’ll hear the lids ‘ping’ as they seal.  I try to keep track of how many pings I hear so I know they’ve all sealed.

I used some jam in this recipe for warm peaches and yogurt.

Oma’s Mennonite Bread

brinck oven bread - trust in Kim

brick oven - trust in kim

As I was planning a trip up to the family cabin at Mahood Lake I knew I had to make my Mennonite Oma’s Russian bread.  I love taking the opportunity to bake in that oven when I go up to the lake, because it’s the only place where I have access to one. and it is so much fun.  I usually just make pizza in there, but this time I wanted to branch out a little, so I thought of my Oma’s awesome dark-crusted bread.  My Oma was born in the Ukraine where they made this type of bread, and then she lived in Paraguay for 15 years where she also baked it in an outdoor oven.  In the early 1980’s my Opa built this great brick oven, in the style of the Paraguayan Mennonite  ovens.  My Oma always made this great bread – it was dark brown, almost black on the outside, with a thick crust, and tender inside.  Now, I’ve got the recipe, and I made a delicious loaf of bread, although I fully admit that it is nothing like my Oma’s bread.  I asked her in the past how she got that great crust on it, and she told me she just put all the ingredients together – so she had a magic touch that I can’t figure out.  Oma passed away a few weeks ago, so her secret it gone too.

You don’t need the brick oven to make this bread, it’ll work fine in a conventional oven.  I used a machine with a dough hook, but you could do it by hand if you’re feeling energetic.  This recipe makes 3-4 loaves.

If you’re using a brick oven you need to get a really good fire going so it’s smoking hot in there.  I pushed some of the coals to the back of the oven so it would retain heat for a full hour.

What you need:

1 medium-sized potato, scrubbed

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup rye flour

1 cup bran

6 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approximately)

What you do:

1. Boil the potato in about 3 cups of water until it is soft.  Place the potato, saving the liquid, in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Smash the potato up with the back of a fork, then add enough of the potato water to fill the measuring cup to 2 cups. Allow this to come to room temperature.

2. In a large mixer bowl add about 2 tablespoons of warm water and sprinkle the yeast top.  Wait until the yeast begins to bubble and is all dissolved (if it doesn’t your yeast may be dead).

3. Add the potato water and buttermilk to the yeast mixture.  With the machine running and using a dough hook, gradually add the flours, bran and salt.  Mix until you have a moist dough, using more or less flour to get this consistency.  Keep mixing until the dough begins to form a bit of a ball.

4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a clean damp tea towel.  Let it rise to about double in volume; this will take about 1- 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

5. Punch the dough down, then turn it out onto a floured surface.  Give it a few kneads, then cut into 3-4 equal pieces.  Form a loaf with the seam in the bottom and place in loaf pans. Cover with the damp tea towel and let it rise, again to about double, which should take slightly less time than the first.

6. Heat the oven to 400F.  When the loaves have doubled in size, and they hold an indentation when you poke the dough lightly, they are ready to go in the oven.   If you want to get more of a crust on your bread, you can spray the inside of the oven with water just before the bread goes in.  Just try not to spray the light bulb, as it might shatter. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 1 hour. 

7. You will know the loaves are ready when you tap on the bottom of the pan and it sounds hollow, so keep an eye on it in the last 10 minutes or so of baking to see if it’s looking done, and test it using this method.

8. Remove the bread from the pans and let it cool on wire racks.  Once it is mostly cool you can slice it up and then slather on some butter, but we just broke of satisfying chunks and ate some with butter,  and on some we added apricot jam.  Not quite like Oma made it, but delicious nonetheless.

bread with jam - trust in kim

My Oma -trust in kim

My Oma

Mom’s Rhubarb-Apricot Platz


Mom's Apricot Platz - trust in kim


This is a recipe I grew up eating: my Mennonite Mom’s platz.  It is a thin coffee cake with fruit and streusel on top.  Sometimes on the second day the cake layer would get  a bit dried out, but I didn’t mind too much because the fruit and streusel were so yummy.  For this recipe I used a combination of rhubarb and apricots, but plums are another favourite.

Even though the photos show a thick round cake, I grew up with it baked thinly in rectangular form, which was cut into squares.

What you need for the cake:

1/2 cup butter (the original recipe called for crisco or margarine)

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

about 1/2 cup milk

2-3 cups chopped fruit of your choice

What you need for the streusel:

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

pinch salt

splash of vanilla

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 35oF.

2. To make the cake, cream the  1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar well.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Crack the egg into a measuring cup and mix it up a little with a fork.  Add enough milk to the measuring cup so it reaches the 2/3 cup mark.

5. Mix in some of the liquid and alternate with the dry ingredients. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan.

6. Spread the fruit on top of the batter.

7. To make the streusel topping just combine all the ingredients; my mom says to do it with a whisk, but I just used a fork and then mixed it with my hands, and then sprinkled it on the cake with my hands.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

apricot platz - trust in kim

rhubarb platz - trust in kim

Mennonite Cabbage Borscht

Mennonite cabbage borscht - trust in kim

A little while ago I posted a recipe for my Mom’s borscht.  While this is a great soup recipe, I recently found out it’s not actually her recipe.  Oops!  So this is really my mom’s borscht recipe; it’s on the same page of  The Mennonite Treasury of Recipes, the bible of Mennonite cooking.  The real difference is that this one has a can of tomato soup; not very old-world traditional, but it’s the yummy soup I grew up with.  A lot of people think borscht has beets, but the beetless version is part of the Mennonite culinary tradition.

My mom makes a few changes when she cooks it: she doesn’t always use potatoes, and she usually adds some carrots. As well, she doesn’t use cream, but adds yogurt while serving.

It is best to make the broth a day ahead of time so it can cool, and the fat can be removed.

What you need:

2 lbs of beef meat and bones (or a combination of beef and chicken)

1 large onion, chopped

1 small head cabbage

3 carrots, chopped

a few tablespoons of fresh dill

1 can tomato soup (I used Campbell’s)

salt to taste

plain yogurt for serving

What you do:

1. To make the broth, cover the bones and meat with cold water and bring to a low simmer.  Simmer for 2 to 3 hours.  Strain the broth and let it cool.   Remove the meat and pull it into bite-sized pieces.  Put the meat and broth in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

2. Remove the cold fat from the top of the broth and discard it.  Pour the broth into a large pot and bring it to a low boil.

3. Add the chopped onions, meat, cabbage, carrots and dill and let it summer until the vegetables are tender.

4. Add the tomato soup and let it heat, then add salt to taste.

5. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

This soup freezes well, and makes a big batch for leftovers or for sharing.

Mennonite Treasury of Recipes -Trust in Kim

My Mom’s Mennonite Borscht – the best!

I absolutely love my mom’s borscht, and yet I have never tried to make it.  There’s something special about having her make it, and then give me some in a jar to take home.  But I thought I should figure out how to make it, because one day, in a long long time, she’s not going to be making it any more.  Her recipe is from the old “Mennonite Treasury of Recipes,” in which the Mennonite ladies from across Canada contributed recipes.  The first printing was in 1961, and reprinted every year after. Until at least 1975 when mine was printed.  I had it handed down to me by a great-aunt.  The original recipe is called “Cabbage Borscht,” and it includes potatoes, which I left out.  I wanted to freeze some, and I don’t think potatoes freeze well.  I also prefer the taste  it without them. I also use yogurt for putting on top, rather than the cream the recipe calls for.  I added, like my mom, dill.

This borscht has no beets in it! I know, you might think this isn’t even borscht, but trust me, it’s the best kind.  I prefer it with beef, but you can use chicken if you want.  A combination of both is good, too.  I made the broth a day ahead so I could skim the fat off once it cooled, so you’ll want to factor the extra day into it.

What you need:

2 pounds beef bones with some meat on them

8 cups water

2 carrots, sliced into rounds

1/2 head green cabbage

1 medium onion, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 star aniseed

3 allspice, whole

1 bay leaf

1 & 1/2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh or frozen dill (not dried! ew, it hardly tastes like dill!)

dash of pepper

1 -1&1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

plain yogurt

What you do:

1. Boil the bones in water for at least 1 & 1/2 hours. Add more water as it boils away. Remove the bones and meat, keeping the meat to add to the soup later.  Let the stock cool, then remove the fat from the top.

2. Bring the beef stock to a boil, then add the veggies and spices – everything except the salt, pepper, tomatoes and yogurt.  Cook until the veggies are tender.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon some yogurt on top to serve.

My mom (the little one being held) with her cousins in Paraguay. My grandparents moved there from Russia, and then to Canada.

Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake


When I was growing up I attended a lot of Mennonite weddings and funerals, and this cake was always present, and always my favourite food.  There are three parts to this cake – light vanilla cake, a coconutty-buttery-almondy-sugary baked topping, and a whipped cream filling . . . decadent!  It’s a bit of work, but so worth it.  I made it for a party recently (not just for weddings and funerals!) and everyone raved about it.  I sure hope there’s Bienenstich at my funeral!

I found this version on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog.

What you need for the cake:

1/2 cup milk, scalded

1 tablespoon butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

What you need for the topping:

1/4 cup melted chocolate

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cream

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup slivered almonds

What you need for the cream filling:

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix, like Oetkers’s

What you do for the cake and topping:

1. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Beat the eggs and gradually add the sugar, beating until it is thick and light in colour.  Mix in the vanilla.

3. Mix in the dry ingredients only until they are incorporated.

4. To scald the milk, first rinse your pot with a little cold water.  This should help avoid scorching the milk.  Then put the milk in, place on medium heat, and stir until the milk has almost boiled.  Add the butter to the scalded milk and stir until it melts.

5.  Slowly add the milk to the cake batter, and mix until incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, inserting a toothpick when you think it’s done to see if the toothpick comes out clean.

7.  Just before the cake comes out of the oven, melt the butter and mix together all of the topping ingredients.  Spread the topping over the cake, all the way to the edges.  Broil, watching very very carefully so it doesn’t burn! until the topping is bubbling.

8.  Let the cake cool, then remove it from the pan and put it in the freezer for an hour or so.  This will make it much easier to cut the top off to make room for the cream filling.

What to do for the filling:

1.  Add the sugar, vanilla and vanilla pudding mix to the whipping cream.  Beat it until it forms firm peaks

2.  Remove the cake from the freezer, then cut it horizontally.

3.  Spread the whipping cream onto the bottom layer, then place the top on the cream.

4.  Freeze the cake until you are going to serve it.  If you slice it while it is frozen it won’t squish all the cream out.  Then just let it sit for about half an hour before serving.  Of course, lots of people love eating it while it’s still frozen – they can’t wait for it to thaw, so yummy!

Oma’s Easter Eggs

My Oma always made Easter eggs the way she learned to do it in the Ukraine – paint the egg with wax, then dye it in onion skin water.  The eggs have a nice brown colour, with the bright white design.  I didn’t have the right tool for painting the wax on, so I did the Elementary School teacher trick – wrap it in rubber bands.  Not quite traditional, but it looks pretty!  This one is pictured along with chocolate eggs and Easter Paska.

What you need:

white eggs

rubber bands (or the thingy to paint the wax on)

brown skins from several onions

What you do:

1.  Boil the onion skins in a small post of water for about 20 minutes.  Remove the skins.

2.  Wrap the eggs with the rubber bands.

3.  Place the eggs in the pot of onion-skin water.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.  Leave the lid on and let it sit for 13 minutes.  Put them in a bowl of cold water to cool them, then dry them off and show them off.

Voila!  Oma’s Easter eggs!

Oma and her family

Easter Paska

This sweet bread is one of our traditional Mennonite treats, hailing from the Ukraine where all my grandparents and my dad were born.  Growing up I always looked forward to it because we got to eat it for breakfast on Easter Sunday.  We typically ate really healthy breakfasts, so it was a big deal to have something sweet.  The bread itself is good, but the sierne paska, the spread you slather on top of each slice, is my favourite part.  Traditionally the paska was baked in large coffee tins, but I didn’t have any of those, so I just used loaf tins.  This recipe makes two loaves and a big batch of sierne paska, enough to top slices for both loaves.

We would typically leave the paska sitting out on a table, surrounded by decorated eggs, just because it looks pretty.  But, by Easter morning it would be all dried out – so I recommend storing it in a plastic bag before icing it, then ice it before you’re going to put it out, and cut right before serving.  People can slather on as much of the cheese spread as they want – mmmm, so good!

I’ve posted the recipe that my mom uses, but here are my Tante Katja’s recipes, in German.

What you need:

For the bread

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 (8 gram) package yeast

2 whole eggs

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

juice of 1/2 an orange

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup scalded milk, cooled to luke-warm

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 & 1/2 to 5 cups flour

1/2 cup butter, melted

fine bread crumbs

For the sierne spread

2 cups dry curd (farmer’s) cottage cheese

5 egg yolks, hard-boiled

1/2 cup cream, boiled and cooled

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the icing

1/4 cup butter

a tablespoon or two of cream or milk

icing sugar

What you do:

For the bread

1. Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm water, then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Let it sit for 10 minutes – if it gets foamy you know you’re got live yeast.  If not, go get some new yeast before proceeding.

2.  Beat the eggs and yolks for about 10 minutes, adding the sugar gradually.  Add the orange juice, milk, vanilla and yeast mixture, and mix well.

3.  Gradually add the flour and butter, adding enough flour to make a soft dough.

4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, basically until the dough doesn’t cling to your hands any more.

5.  Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning the dough to coat it with a bit of the oil.  Place a clean tea towel over the top of the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place, about 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.  Punch it down and let it rise again for the same amount of time.

6.  Grease two bread pans (or coffee tins) and coat with the bread crumbs.  Divide the dough in half and form into a loaf with the edges tucked under, then place them into the pans.  The dough should fill the pan about 1/3.  Let the dough rise again, covered with the towel, until it just reaches the top of the pan.

7. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F.  Remove the paska from the tins and cool.  Then they will be ready to ice and show off!

For the sierne spread:

1. Press the cottage cheese and egg yolks through a fine sieve using the back of a wooden spoon.  Do this three times – it takes a bit of time and muscle, but it’s worth because it makes the texture very fine!

2. Cream the butter and sugar, then add everything else.

3.  Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place the spread in there.  Cover the top with plastic wrap and allow to drain in the fridge for a few hours.  (My mom says this is necessary, but there really wasn’t much liquid that drained out of mine, so I don’t think it’s essential.)

4. Invert the spread onto a plate so that it is a molded mound.  (In the photo I have it a bowl instead, but traditionally it is molded, usually in a pyramid shape)

For the icing

1. Cream the butter, then add a little icing sugar and cream, then a little more of each until you’ve got a soft icing.

2.  Top each cooled loaf with the icing, and add sprinkles if you like.

We seem to have fallen into a post-Easter coma.

Tante Katja’s Fruit Platz

In my cupboard is a little recipe box that belonged to my great-aunt, Katja, or Tante Katja, as we called her.  Most of the recipes are written in German, and with my limited knowledge of the language it’s been a little difficult to decipher them.  Since most of the recipes have no directions, I’ve taken a guess at the process, and altered the recipe a little.  I managed to figure this one out, a fruit platz, one of the most common Mennonite foods that I grew up eating.  It’s made up of a cake with fruit on top and sugary crumbs to top it off.  I remember eating plum and apricot platz, but in the middle of winter I couldn’t find any of those fruits, so I used some canned cherries.  Yum!

What you need for the cake layer:

1 &1/2 cups flour

2 &1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cold butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk or cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the crumbs:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Plus fruit of your choice, a cup or two.  In my family traditional choices are fresh plum or apricot, but I used canned cherry.  Fresh is best, but if you’ve got some frozen fruits or canned, give them a try.  Just make sure that you drain them well, and don’t use something like frozen strawberries or raspberries that would be too juicy.

What you do:

1.  Combine the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut the cold butter in using a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers.

2.  Combine the egg, milk, vanilla and salt, then add it to the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon.  If it’s too hard to get all the dry bits in, add a little more milk.  You’ll need to get in there with your hands and knead the mixture to get it all combined.

3.  Spread the thick batter into the bottom of a 9×9 inch pan.

4.  Spread the fruit over the batter.

5.  Combine the butter, sugar and flour for the crumb mixture, then sprinkle it on top of the fruit, using your fingers.

6.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.  It will be golden on the top, and you can check for done-ness using a  toothpick.

This one will cool in the pan, and you won’t remove it from the pan before cutting.  The crumb topping is crunchy and it’s best the day you make it, but of course it would still be good the next day.  It’s especially good served when it’s still a little warm.

That’s Tante Katja, standing on the highway


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