be-milwaukees-guestBefore looking at Be Milwaukee’s Guest, I’d envisioned certain things for my menu this week:  a potato salad taste test, a pancake and pastry dinner, tasty fried perch with a side of fried cheese curds (all so unhealthy it makes my teeth hurt to think on it).  But much to my surprise, there’s scarcely a fish dish to be found in the cookbook, and nary a cheese curd.  Alas.

At the time of the cookbook’s publication, 20% of Milwaukee residents were foreign-born Germans, Poles, and Italians.  However, there’s also not much to be found in the way of Italian food here.  And as someone who’s eaten a home-cooked Milwaukee Italian dinner, let me just say, that’s a shame (oh Mrs. Leo, I am still trying to figure out how to replicate your ziti).

So, if you notice a certain Germanic trope to this week’s recipes, it’s not for lack of trying.  Here are a few excellent ones from Be Milwaukee’s Guest that might tickle your fancy.

Spaetzle

This simple egg noodle know to Milwaukeeans as Spaetzle can be made at a moment’s notice and can be used whenever noodles or rice are called for.  Combine 4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 4 beaten eggs and enough milk to make a heavy batter (about 2 cups).  Force this batter through a large hole colander into rapidly boiling water and cook about 5 minutes.  Drain and add butter.

– Mary Minton Netzow

I so dearly wanted to include this next recipe on the Milwaukee menu, but when you see what I’m serving tomorrow, you’ll understand why it was not to be.  This is a recipe for one of those tasty baked pancakes that you sometimes see on restaurant menus along with a caution that it will take at least 30 minutes to be served.  Oh so worth the wait, though, especially when served with apples stewed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

From the March 1959 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  Just in time for Lent!

From Better Homes and Gardens, March 1959

German Pancake

This huge, delicious pancake is the center of attraction in many Milwaukee homes when Sunday night supper time rolls around.  Oven baked and usually served as the main course, it is both simple and simply delicious… part pancake, part popover.. some may recognize it as a distant relative of the famous English Yorkshire Pudding.

1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Grease bottom and sides of heavy cast iron skillet (12″).  Preheat skillet in 450 degree oven.  Combine all ingredients in an electric blender or mixing bowl.  Blend thoroughly.  Pour batter into preheated skillet and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking 5-10 minutes or until pancake is temptingly brown.  Serve while very hot with powdered sugar and lemon juice, crushed sugared fresh fruit, butter-cinnamon-sugar, or warm maple syrup.  Makes 1 12″ pancake.  Serves 3-4.

-Laura Hipke Bratt

And finally, no 1950s Sconnie meal would be complete without some kind of torte (Be Milwaukee’s Guest contains no less than 10 of them).  This meringue-topped layer cake with custard filling is one of the Midwest’s most famous:

Blitz Torte

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons milk
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Cream sugar and butter thorougly.  Beat in egg yolks one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Sift flour and baking powder together and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Beat until smooth.  Pour batter into 2 greased 9″ cake pans.  Make a meringue by adding 1 cup sugar gradually to stiffly beaten egg whites.  Top each unbaked layer with 1/2 the meringue, sprinkling sliced almonds over tops.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.  Cool and put the following custard between layers.

6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Combine sugar and cornstarch.  Add sour cream.  Stir into slightly beaten egg yolks.  Add butter.  Cook this mixture in double boiler, stirring constantly, until thick.  Remove from heat and cool.  Add flavorings.  Chill.  Use as filling between two torte layers.

-Marian Mueller Hume

Next up:  Wherein I redeem myself, and become a sauerbraten junkie.

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