To Luxembourg! The second smallest and least populated EU state, with the only remaining sovereign Grand Duchy in the world. I was so glad I stumbled across this when trying to find something to bake for Luxembourg. There’s something lovely about finding out the different food traditions of a country, particular when they’re entwined with an event, like this one.
Bretzelsonnden is celebrated every year on the third Sunday of Lent, and the tradition is that a man makes bretzels for his sweetheart, and if she accepts them, then she will return with a chocolate egg for him on Easter Day. The shape of the bretzels is meant to represent two lovers, arm in arm.
The recipe calls for apricot jam, but I used raspberry, and it made the filling a nice pink-ish colour which seemed even more appropriate given their background. They were a little fiddly to make, but luckily I had my trusty sous chef/custard watchman, Oscar, to do the exacting measurement and cutting of the bretzel into strips for shaping.
I don’t even know what to say about Brexit this week. I don’t think there’s anything new or original being said, and my attention has drifted over to the US, where Democrats are winning, attorney-generals are resigning, and journalists are being banned from the White House. Much more eventful!
½ packet of instant yeast (4g)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
60g ground almonds
30g brown sugar
1 egg white
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp apricot jam (or raspberry)
60g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
flaked almonds, to decorate
1. Melt the butter with the milk on the hob or in the microwave. Set aside.2. Put the flour, instant yeast, sugar and vanilla sugar into a bowl and mix. Add the egg and the melted butter and milk and work into a smooth dough, kneading it for 5 minutes.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with a teatowel. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
4. After 1 hour, turn the dough onto a flour-dusted work surface and roll into a rectangle approximately 20 x 30 cm. Cut the rectangle in half along the middle, so that you end up with two rectangles, each 30cm high. Spread the filling over one half, then top with the second half.
5. Cut strips the size of 1cm wide x 30cm high off the dough. Carefully twist each piece of pastry so it looks like a curly straw, then twist into a pretzel shape and put onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
6. Cover the pretzels with a teatowel and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
7. After 15 minutes, remove the teatowel and bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Leave the pretzels to cool on a wire rack.
8. Once cool, make the icing: mix the icing sugar with enough milk to become a thick icing. Drizzle each pretzel with icing and sprinkle with almond flakes.