What" s Cooking In Claudia"s Kitchen?

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Though I'm fond of my selection of gourmet desserts, and equally fond of their convenience and aesthetic appeal, I still enjoy taking the time to prepare and serve homemade desserts native to my German heritage. I have long felt entertaining goes hand-in-hand with home decor, and I adore opportunities to welcome friends and family to my dining table.

One of my favorite desserts to prepare any time of year is Trümmertorte, a delightful version of strawberry shortcake. Unlike the classic, southern strawberry shortcake, which is made with a sweet biscuit dough, my Trümmertorte has an interesting variation on the cake portion: it's made with meringue baked into the batter! This makes the cake quite light, and produces a sweet, crusted meringue finish on the top of each layer. The light sweetness and consistency of the meringue also complement beautifully the fresh, whipped cream layers and abundance of fresh strawberries. (And if strawberries aren't your preference, you may substitute mandarin orange pieces, which work nicely, as well.)

In translation, Trümmertorte means "Debris Cake," and refers specifically to the meringue content. When you slice the cake into plated portions, there is typically an abundance of delicious, meringue crumbs left on the serving platter….but don't brush them off! Even the crumbs are delicious!

This is a lovely summer dessert, but I will often make it for holidays and occasions through the winter, as well, particularly because strawberries are increasingly available year round.

As much as I would love to have you over for dessert and coffee (Turkish style!), I offer as a substitute for hospitality my long-cherished, well-used recipe.

In my native German, the recipe reads:

Für den Rührteig:
150 g Margarine oder Butter
150 g Mehl
100 g Zucker
5 Eigelb
1Pck Vanillezucker
½ Pck. Backpulver

Für den Baiserbelag:
200 g Zucker
5 Eiweiβ
1 Pck. Vanillezucker

Für die Füllung:
2 Dosen Mandarinen oder frische Erdbeeren
400 ml Schlagsahne

Einen Rührteig herstellen, wenn möglich auf 2 Springformen (für unten 28 cm, oben 26 cm) verteilen. Eiweiß sehr steif schlagen, den Zucker langsam einrieseln lassen und weiterschlagen, bis der Zucker aufgelöst ist. Die Masse auf den Rührteigböden gleichmäßig verteilen und nacheinander abbacken. (Auf den 26er Boden noch ein paar Mandelblättchen streuen). Bei 200 Grad ca. 20-25 Min/Umluft 175 Grad ca. 25 Min.

Die Schlagsahne steif schlagen und auf den unteren abgekühlten Boden geben, danach die abgetropften Mandarinen darauf verteilen. Den anderen Boden auf die Masse legen. Mit etwas übriggelassener Sahne und Mandarinen dekorieren.

But, of course, I am happy to provide you with the English translation!

Debris Cake

For the batter:
150 g Margarine or butter
150 g Flour
100 g Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 pack Vanilla sugar
½ pack Baking Powder
Toasted flaked almonds

For the meringue layer:
200 g Sugar
5 Egg Whites

For the filling:
2 cans Mandarins or fresh strawberries
400 ml Whipping cream

Make a batter and divide into 2 springform pans (for below 28 cm above 26 cm). Beat the egg whites very stiff, slowly add the sugar to the stiff egg whites and continue to beat until the sugar is dissolved. Spread the mixture onto the batter evenly and bake. Sprinkle the flaked almonds to the the smaller springform. Bake at 200 degrees for about 20-25 min / fan 175 degrees about 25 minutes.

Whip the cream until stiff and add to the cooled bottom cake and then distribute the drained mandarin oranges on it. Put the other layer on top and garnish with the remainder of the whipped cream and mandarins.
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