My Mom’s Fruit Platz

fruit platz - trust in kim

Platz is one of the Mennonite treats I grew up eating. My mom, Omas and Aunts all made it. Usually we ate it for faspa, the Sunday meal that consisted of cheeses, cold meats, and homemade buns (zwieback), jams and pickles. As a kid I wasn’t a big fan of faspa, but I always looked forward to the platz for dessert.

Platz, sometimes called Obstkuchen, is a coffee cake that is topped with fruit, then covered with a sugary-buttery crumb topping.

The fruit my relatives used was typically plums or apricots, but almost any fruit works. For this one I used a combination of plums and nectarines. A tart fruit works well in here, like sour cherries or rhubarb, because the topping is pretty sweet.

The crumb mixture we usually called streusel, but sometimes is was called ruebel.

It was typically made in a 9×13 pan, but I made mine in pie plates so I could give one away and keep one.

There are many recipes for platz, and I think they are all good. This one is my mom’s, so it is the best! The recipe (see below) is handwritten by my mom and stored in a drawer up at the family cabin. She no longer uses margarine for this; only butter will do.

I love to eat this cake while it is still warm, but since I grew up eating the day-old platz that was baked on a Saturday, I also think it’s pretty good a day or two later. I’ve learned to heat it up ever-so-slightly to bring back the freshly-baked feel.

What you need for the cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • fruit, cut into slices

What you need for the streusel topping:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • a dash of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter

What you do:

  1. Butter your pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter well.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Crack an egg into a measuring cup, then fill the cup to 2/3 with milk.
  5. Add flour and milk alternately, ending with flour. Resist the temptation to over mix.
  6. Place the thick batter into your pan and spread it evenly to the edges and corners. Hands work well for this; just wet them a little before you start pressing it into the pan.
  7. Place the fruit in one layer on top of the batter.
  8. To make the streusel topping start by melting the butter. Add the other ingredients and mix together. Hands work well for this too, then you can use your hands to spread the topping evenly over the fruit.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Some of the fruit will begin bubbling through the streusel, and the edges of the cake will be lightly browned.
  10. Enjoy!

platz recipe - trust in kim

streusel recipe - trust in kim

Fruit Piroschki – Mennonite Fruit-Filled Hand Pies

Mennonite piroshky - trust in kim

My childhood was filled with these beautiful little pies, made by my Mom, Oma and Aunts, filled with various fruits and sometimes even meat. So I figured it’s  about time I made them myself.  Instead of using my Tante Kantja’s recipe (see below), which is the only one I had access to at the moment, I opted for the pastry recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. So while it’s not the traditional Ukrainian piroschki I grew up eating, it’s the same idea: a square pastry filled with fruit.  Yum! My favourite result was the apricot/nectarine combination, but the blueberries were pretty good too.

I made the whole recipe, then baked a few and put the rest in the freezer.  They were just as good when I pulled a few straight out of the freezer and baked them up for just a little longer than the pre-frozen version. I like them best when they are freshly baked, but they will keep for a few days.

This is a great picnic food!

What you need:

  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very cold butter
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • about a pound of apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums or apples, or a combination of those
  • 1 egg

What you do:

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the cold butter into medium-sized dice and add it to the flour.  Use a pastry blender or your hands (better if they aren’t too hot) and break the butter up, combining it with the flour mixture, into pieces the size of tiny peas.
  2. If it is a very warm day put the bowl in the fridge for a while to let the butter get cold again before rolling it out.
  3. Drizzle most of the water over the mixture and stir it in, adding more as you need it.  Use floured hands to knead the dough briefly until it comes together in a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Before you are going to roll out the dough, chop up the fruit and sprinkle it with a little bit of flour or cornstarch and stir that together gently.
  5. Dust the countertop and rolling-pin (or wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling-pin) with a little flour. Cut the dough ball in half and roll out one half.  Cut the dough into 15cm/6 inch squares and fill each with some fruit (pictured below). Run a wet finger along each of the edges of the pastry, then bring two corners together to and press them together; do this with each corner until they all meet in the middle. (See picture at the top of the page) Do the same thing with the rest of the dough.
  6. Put the piroschki into the fridge for about 30 minutes. While they are chilling preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with some parchment paper (optional – I didn’t have any and they didn’t stick to the pan).
  7. Crack the egg into a bowl add a teaspoon of water; mix with a fork. Use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with the egg.
  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are a beautiful golden brown.  Let cool only slightly before devouring.

If you are not baking for a large crowd I advise that you freeze part of the batch for a later date.  Just put the baking sheet into the freezer until they are solid, then but them into a freezer bag.  To bake just take a few out of the freezer and place them on a pan and into a preheated oven, 375 F for 35-45 minutes.  Just as yummy as the first batch!

making piroshky - trust in kimpiroschki recipe - trust in kim

 

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