Chalet School Recipes
Apfeltorte School At 1925, Carola 1951
(Éclairs and sandwiches)
Dejeuner over, they strolled along to the Champs-Elysees, and joined the merry throng around ‘Guignol,’ which is a French version of Punch and Judy … Tea they had at a patisserie, where Grizel rejoiced once more in the delightful custom which ordains that each customer shall take a plate and fork to the counter and help himself to delicious sandwiches and cakes before settling down.
‘So much more sensible than English shops,’ she said. ‘They always bring the things you don’t want – ‘
‘Like horrid spongy cakes with butter-icing!’ chimed in Jo. ‘I loathe them! Now, éclairs, I could go on eating for ever!’
‘And beautifully sick you would be,’ said Madge firmly.
School At p102 GGBP)
From the very beginning of the long Chalet School series we’re introduced to exotic food, the description of which, and the manner in which it’s eaten, invites an appetite in the reader. Because food in the Chalet School is always firmly embedded into the actual story it becomes almost real in the minds (and mouths!) of the readers. The quote above introduces us to what must have been a truly foreign experience to girl readers of the time – 1925. The First World War is over and peace is expected – the world is the oyster for young people who are enchanted to hear about worlds beyond their own … Only two pages later we are introduced to more food:
Then they went to the Speisessaal, where they found Dick and a delightful meal awaiting them, together with a most obsequious waiter.
‘Nothing really exciting,’ said Dick. ‘Only Kalbsbraten- all right, Grizel! That’s German for roast veal! – and Kartoffeln, otherwise spuds, and Apfeltorte, which isn’t apple-tart, although it sounds like it.’
‘What is it then?’ Grizel wanted to know.
‘Sort of cake with cooked apples on it,’ said Joey swiftly. ‘Oh, it is nice to have funny things again! I think foreign food is much more interesting than English! …’
School At p105 GGBP
‘It’s not a tart, although it sounds like that!’ This is the reassurance given to Grizel by Dick when Joey, Madge and Grizelda arrive in Innsbruck.
But it’s a cake that works best, I think, as a dessert. The odd thing was that it’s basically a sponge mix using the usual ingredients of flour, eggs, sugar and fat, but, for some reason, it tastes very different than the cakes I make – sort of ‘foreign’, which was all to the good! I took it to a friend’s for dinner. Most of us ate it cold, but one person warmed it in the microwave, and all absolutely loved it. We had it with: ice cream, custard, plain or with cream as the mood took us. I didn’t have any rum so used sultanas which I soaked in boiled water while I made the batter (I always do this because it makes them more juicy), and they worked beautifully, although I’d like to try it with rum one day.
I’d definitely make this one again, especially if I needed to take something as a contribution for a dinner party. A success all round!
100gm SR flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon or some grated nutmeg
3-4 apples (Coxes or whatever)
125g butter + 25g melted butter
2 tbsp milk
Caster sugar for sprinkling 125g brown sugar 1 unwaxed lemon Whipped cream/custard to serve
Preheat oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4. Line cake tin.
Peel and slice apples and leave in a bowl of acidulated water.
Sift flour and spice into a bowl. Add hazelnuts and grated zest of lemon.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add dry ingredients. If mixture seems a bit dry, loosen with milk.
Spoon into tin and level top.
Arrange sliced apples neatly on top and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake 35-40 minutes.
Cool for 10-15 mins in tin.
Remove from tin and serve in whatever way you want!
From Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, Jane Brocket, Hodder and Stoughton 2008.
By the time we get to Carola, the problem is that we’re still in post-second-world-war rationing time, so
TEXT TO FOLLOW
‘Buchteln’ (Austrian Sweet Bread Twists)
Ahh – those sweet bread twists! The Chalet School girls have them mainly for Kaffee und Kuchen, the equivalent of tea and biscuits. And how much more appetising ‘coffee and cakes’ sounds than ‘tea and biscuits’!
500g bread flour
1 pack dried yeast
4 drops lemon essence (or lemon juice/rind, I suppose)
250ml lukewarm milk
Heat oven to 180-200C
Rub marg into flour. Add all other ingredients and knead into dough as for normal bread.
Form into 12 equally-sized pieces, leave to rise;.
Roll each piece into a sausage shape, then roll out flat.
Twist each piece and put onto cooking tray to rise until doubled in size again.
Cook for 20-30 mins.
Cool and eat as they are, or dunk into coffee of preferred preparation.
They are nicest eaten warm-ish, and don’t keep, so I guess Karen would have to make fresh every day (although they could use up stale bread in various potato dumpling/ball recipes (to follow)). They taste very slightly sweet and are soft-ish because of using egg and milk instead of water.
[taken from Dr. Oetker, Backen Macht Freude Wilhelm Heyne Verlag; Muenchen; 2002 (An English version is available as German Cooking Today; I don’t know if the recipes have been in any way adapted] From Fraujackson (CBB)
Kugelohpfen – Problem 1956
Kugelhopf, Kougelhof, Kouglof… there are many names to describe this famous cake, and each depends on local Germanic dialect. A Kugelhopf is also prepared in neighbouring regions of Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This recipe gives a “soft” variant of the cake: spongy and moist it melts in your mouth when fresh. The Alsatian tradition is to eat a much “dryer” Kugelhopf, which some locals dip in their morning coffee. Kugelhopf is a light-textured, brioche-like cake made from yeast-raised dough flavored with raisins, lemon zest, and eau-de-vie. Usually baked in special ceramic molds with a tube in the center, most Kugelhopfen are crown- or turban-shaped, with fluted sides and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top. Kugelhopfen are also made in molds of other shapes, such as hearts, stars, fish, and lambs, for holidays and special occasions (e.g., Christmas, Easter, weddings, baptisms). These classic cakes are consumed in rural and urban areas by people of all ages, religions, and social classes. Marie Antoinette took the recipe with her from Austria when she went to France, which is why the cake is found in Austria as well as France.
Fellow CBBers said that this cake was boring, and they were right! It’s not particularly sweet and unless you add some dried fruit, has nothing to make you want to eat more. Was that why it is in the Chalet School books? As a cake you can eat with no ill effects? I wouldn’t bother to make this one again but here’s a recipe should you want to try it for yourself.
500g plain flour
120g caster sugar
120g unsalted butter – soft (room temperature)
2 eggs lightly beaten
A couple of drops of vanilla extract (optional)
1 sachet of yeast
almonds (unsalted) – about 30
sultanas soaked in rum
Warm the milk and melt the butter with it.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt and add the dried yeast.
Make a well and then add the milk and butter and the eggs.
Mix until the mixture comes away from the side of the bowl.
Leave to rise for several hours with a clean dry tea towel over the top.
Once the dough has risen, beat the dough again to incorporate more air.
Drain the sultanas and roll them in a little flour, then carefully mix them through the dough.
Put the mixture into the mould (do not overfill as some room is needed when it rises a final time).
Leave to rise again for several more hours with the tea towel on the top.
Once the dough has risen, cook in an oven at 180 (150 if fan assisted) for about 50-60 minutes. You do not need to pre-heat the oven – it should be cool when you put it in.
When you take it out leave it to cool a little (20-30 mins) and then carefully tip the mould up and release the Kugelhopf.
Decorate with icing sugar.
Another thing that doesn’t keep! So you have to force yourself to eat it on the day it’s made. You can vary the dried fruit, or can leave it completely plain, then slice it and have it with butter and/or jam.
Bienenstich – Bee Sting Cake
The Chalet School books mention ‘cakes all honey and nuts’ (School At 1925) and ‘squashy cakes (Problem 1956) – enough to make your mouth water just reading about them! The thing is, besides descriptions there’s no clear indication of what they actually were. This could be a problem or, as I’ve chosen to interpret it, give us complete freedom in how we interpret the idea of cakes all honey nuts. Bee Sting Cake fits the bill perfectly. It’s soft and rich, although the actual cake base is lighter than that of a sponge because it’s a yeasted base, and the honey and butter mixture poured over it makes it succulent. Fill it with whipped cream which has been sweetened with honey and … ! Although it has so much honey, it’s not over-sweet. The yeasted base gives a slightly savoury taste which counteracts any over-sweetness.
Cakes ‘full of honey and nuts’ are a staple of the Chalet School and this recipe fits the description perfectly – a honey-soaked yeasted cake, decorated with almonds and filled with a mixture of cream and honey. It’s squelchy and rich and I will certainly make this one again. But it’s enough to give you nightmares or set you off sleep-walking, so limit yourself or Matey’ll be on your case!!!
|Legend has it that bienenstich was created by 15th-century bakers who, after successfully fighting off a raid from neighbouring villagers by launching beehives at them, baked a version of this cake in celebration. It was so good, it earned a place in culinary history.
Or the cake may have earned its name from its honey topping: according to one legend, a bee was attracted to it, and the baker who invented the cake ended up being stung!
Another source cites a legend of Bavarian bakers from the 1400s who lobbed beehives at raiders from a neighboring village, successfully repelling them, and celebrated later by baking a version of this cake named after their efforts.
If you love honey, this is definitely the cake for you! It’s in the topping, cake and filling. The cake has a darker crumb than normal because of the honey, and the darker the honey you use, the darker the crumb will end up.
It’s a sweet bread with a baked-on topping of honeyed almonds and filled with a vanilla custard or cream mixed with honey …
For the Dough
500 g plain flour
1 tsp yeast
125 g butter or margarine
½ pint milk
15 g honey
For the Topping
125 g unsalted butter
150 g flaked almonds
125 g honey
15 ml milk
For the Dough
In a large mixing bowl rub the butter into the flour.
Warm the milk to about 50°C and mix honey with it, then add to the mixture.
Lightly beat the egg and add that too.
Now beat thoroughly until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave until risen (1 -2 hours).
When risen knead the mixture again.
Form the dough into a flat shape and place in a large flat baking tin.
Leave in a warm place to rise again, (about 30 min).
For the Topping
Whilst the dough is rising, boil the butter and honey together in a small saucepan.
Add the vanilla essence and milk and stir well.
Cool the mixture to about the same temperature as the dough and spread it gently over the risen dough.
Sprinkle with flaked almonds – they will toast as the cake cooks.
Bake at Mark 7 / 220°C / 425°F for 16-20 mins.
Turn off the heat and leave for another 3-5 mins before taking from the oven.
Karen’s lemon biscuits are legendary in the Chalet School – the girls go into raptures over them. But there are probably a million recipes for ‘lemon biscuits’, so it’s difficult to decide which to choose. And, of course, everyone’s personal ideas about exactly what Chalet School lemon biscuits would really be like differs. So I made a few, and this is the recipe that, for me, fits the bill.
This German cookie recipe is taken from the book “Dr. Chase’s Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book, Memorial Edition” by Dr. Alvin Wood Chase, M.D., published by F. B. Dickerson Company, Detroit and Windsor, in 1891.
Sugar, 4oz butter, 2oz sugar, 1 ½ eggs, and the rind and juice of 1 lemon; flour. Directions: Mix thoroughly with hand or spoon, adding sufficient flour to roll out. Roll out very thin. Cut in small cakes. Place in the pan and rub the tops with egg and sprinkle on white sugar. Two eggs are enough for the tops. They will bake in (hot) oven in a few minutes. –Harper’s Magazine From homemadedessertrecipes.com
They are what they say – crisp. The amount shown makes lots and lots, and because the dough is very fine and soft and quite hard to roll and cut out, put it in the fridge overnight (to rest and firm it up) – it’s so, so, so much easier to use the next day and the biscuits are better – lighter and crisper and melting. I just cooked until done and I have a slow oven, so it took about 15 minutes – just keep checking. They are very light to eat and using the rind of a lemon gives them a bit of sharpness, which just using lemon oil doesn’t (as I tried). Enjoy!
And here’s a really easy recipe for lemon biscuits: roll out some shop-bought puff pastry as thin as possible, cut into biscuit rounds, brush with egg, sprinkle with grated lemon zest and castor sugar, cook in a hot oven for a few minutes. Easy! Although I bet Anna would pour scorn on these. So would everyone else in CS-Land … Oh well. Other times.
I didn’t know these were so light … the recipe said to cook them on a griddle which I didn’t have, so I used a regular frying pan and they worked well.
I’m reliably informed by Jo (CBB) that:
“Welsh cakes are always eaten with butter (or margarine in war time, I suppose) and never with jam. A Welsh person serving Welsh cakes would offer them on a plate already buttered and wouldn’t offer jam with them. I suppose EBD may have eaten jam with them, but I can’t imagine it and think it would be too sweet.”
So the BBC site I got the recipe from wasn’t correct to say serve them with jam or butter. They are very light and sweet but not too sweet, so they are lovely with just butter (or margarine if you want the authentic-of-the-time Chalet School war-time experience!).
Recipe to follow …
Chicken in aspic
The idea of chicken – or anything else – in aspic had a mixed response on the CBB. Some said they didn’t like the idea at all and others said that it’s one of their favourite meals. Before I made it, it reminded me of tinned ham – you know, the sort that is surrounded by a layer of ‘rich jelly’ (as Elinor describes surrounding her picnic meat pies), so I wasn’t put off too much. And of course, aspic has been out of culinary favour for many years now, so most home cooks today probably haven’t used it.
Because the final dish can be sliced it would work well with Elinor’s ‘iced salads’, food served up for the Chalet School girls on a hot summer’s day.
The original recipe said to use a tin of consommé soup, but I thought that Karen would have always had a huge stock-pot on the go, so I used the water the chicken had been boiled in, adding some flavourings. There’s no indication of this in the Chalet School books so I hope my assumption won’t be seen as too much of a liberty. At least the idea that a cook of the time would have kept a stock-pot going is probably more authentic than using a tin of consommé!
It’s very easy to do, although the final result is quite hard to slice because the jelly is so soft. And you need to keep it in the fridge until serving because it begins to ‘melt’ if you take it out too soon. Although it doesn’t look appetizing (I didn’t have any peas or carrots to decorate, and it does have a bit of a grey colour …), it actually tastes delicious, very savoury, so I would make this again, but probably not for a dinner party where things have to look nice. Just for myself to eat.
1 whole chicken breast
1 onion, quartered
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ chicken stock cube (I blush!)
1 sachet of gelatin
1 tin small peas, well-drained
Minced parsley or fresh parsley sprigs [optional, to decorate]
Sliced hard-boiled egg
Boiled, cold carrot slices or any other vegetable pieces
Into a saucepan, completely cover chicken breast with cold water.
Add onion pieces; salt and pepper.
Boil chicken until no longer pink inside; leave to cool completely in broth.
Remove from broth and refrigerate chicken breast until cold; skin, bone then slice or chop the chicken.
Remove onion from the broth, chop and put back into the broth.
Taste broth – add a bit of chicken stock cube of you think it’s needed (of course, Karen would never have to resort to such deception, but still …).
Measure the chicken broth – you’ll need a pint, so make it up with water if it’s under.
Heat the chicken broth until just boiling and then tip in one sachet of powered gelatin.
Completely dissolve gelatin into hot chicken juice.
Leave to cool completely, but do not refrigerate.
Line loaf tin (or whatever you’re using) with cling-film.
Arrange whatever you’re using (carrots, peas etc.) on the bottom of a mold (loaf tin or other dish).
Cover with chicken slices.
Really slowly pour cooled gelatin mixture all over.
Refrigerate until set, for approximately 10 hours.
Unmold, turning mold upside-down; serve, decorated with parsley if desired.
When unmolded, the vegetable decorations will be on top and chicken underneath which is important to be able to easily slice the chicken aspic before serving, and this is why I found it hard to slice. Having not used any vegetables the chicken was on the top and the aspic was underneath the dish when it came to slicing, so I was slicing through harder things into softer.
Decorate with parsley just before serving.
Fruit Cake, Lavender 1943
By 1943, butter, sugar and eggs were rationed in the UK. The rations per person were:
So when Fruit Cake is mentioned it’s hard to know what it would have been like. If the Chalet School had their own chickens they’d be fine for eggs, but butter and sugar would remain a problem. They could have accumulated their rations so that they could have had treats like this cake, but who’s to know? Dried fruit wasn’t rationed, but simply wouldn’t be available, unless someone had a personal stash hidden away before the war. It was the same for spices, and war-time flour was notoriously heavy, and needed enhancers like bicarbonate of soda to enlighten and lift things made with it.
In Lavender the girls used prunes and dates. Lindsay sent me this:
“I have an Armada copy of Lavender, and the school does have their own cows. “Until she came here, she had never eaten porridge since her baby days, and not even the rich, creamy milk from the school’s own herd of Jerseys and the sprinkling of sugar which most took with it made it palatable to her.”
When they’re making the cake, they talk about not being able to get currants or raisins, but they were able to buy half a pound of prunes and Joey gives them a box of dates. They also mention egg powder? “Before long, they were hard at it, beating egg-powder with milk, stirring the dry ingredients together, and enjoying themselves thoroughly.””
So the school was OK for rich, creamy milk, and Lavender and Co. used egg powder which would alleviate the need for so much baking powder and bicarb. War-time flour was heavy though, so adding some baking powder might well have still been necessary, even if egg in some form was used.
So here’s a recipe for war-time fruit cake, and then my own Farmhouse Fruit Cake, which was given to me years ago by an aunt, and over time has become more my own by the changes I’ve made to my personal taste.
War Time Eggless Fruit Cake, from a Ministry of Food pamphlet
10oz SR flour
1 tsp mixed spice
Pinch of salt
I level tsp bicarb
½ pint well-drained weak tea
3oz margarine or cooking fat
3oz dried fruit
Line a 7” cake tin
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl
Put tea in a saucepan and add fat, sugar and dried fruit.
Once sugar is dissolved and butter is melted, boil for 2-3 mins
Pour into flour mixture and beat well
Spoon into tin and cook in the centre of oven for 1 ¼ hours
And the surprise is that it’s actually rather nice … It does need to be eaten the day it’s made because the lack of fat means it dries out quickly. But I can see it being make for a birthday, or something like that, in the war, and all being eaten up by the guests at the party, so none left anyway!
Farmhouse Fruit Cake
8oz SR flour
5oz sugar (the darker the sugar you use the more rich the cake and the darker the sponge, so use anything from golden castor to dark molasses sugar)
5oz margarine And yes – it is a bit burnt …
Sultanas/raisins/currants–as many or few as you want and whichever dried fruit you prefer
Demerara sugar mixed with mixed spice to sprinkle
8” lined round tin or similar
Gas ¾, 150C
Put dried fruit into a jug and pour on boiled water
Leave to soften while you make cake
Put everything into bowl and mix well with hand mixer or food mixer
Drain off fruit and add to mixture
Mixture should be soft so add some milk if it needs it
Pour into tin
Sprinkle demerara and mixed spice over the top
Bake 1 ¾ – 2 hours
Cool for 15 minutes, then eat and enjoy!
Nb – I add spices in different amounts each time, just throwing them in and not measuring – do it to your personal taste, leave out any you don’t like.
Windbeutel – Does it Again 1955, Problem 1956, Triplets 1963
Rationing has finished at home and in Switzerland, and the School has relocated to Switzerland. All foods are easily available and so we are treated again to exotica – in this case, Windbeutel, high hollow cakes filled with cream. Elinor doesn’t actually name the cakes she describes in this way, but from their description it’s highly probable that they are Windbeutel – choux pastry cakes, called profiteroles in France, where they’re covered in chocolate as well as filled with cream.
I made lots to take out to some friends – choux pastry is a doddle, so they’re quick and easy to make and they look rather more impressive than the effort to make them actually warrants! They are very light, so it’s easy to eat quite a few without feeling too many ill effects (although don’t tell anyone at School), but filled with cream they’re not quite so easy to carry on eating, which is probably just as well!
Here’s the recipe I used:
¼ pint cold water
3oz flour (I tried plain and SR – not much difference between them so use whatever you’ve got at home)
Pinch of salt
2 beaten eggs
Hot oven, whatever that is for your own.
Put a dish filled with boiled water on the bottom of the oven – this’ll help the Windbeutel rise and crisp
Boil water and add butter
As soon as the butter has melted remove from the heat
Tip in all the flour at once and beat as hard as you can until the mixture comes away form the sides of the saucepan
Add egg bit by bit, beating each time and not adding more until it’s completely mixed
Spoon onto a baking sheet (lined if it’s not a silicon sheet) – as small or large as you like, although the Chalet School description suggests they’re on the large side.
Cook 15-20 mins – don’t open the oven door while they’re cooking!
Once cooked (pale golden and crisp), take out, turn upside-down and make a small hole with a knife.
Return to oven for another minute or so, to dry out inside
Once cooked, cool
Fill with Chantilly cream – double cream whipped and mixed with some vanilla and icing sugar.
If you make them in advance of use they might lose some of their crispness, and if this happens just reheat in a hot oven to crisp up again.
Blaubereen Torte – Princess 1925
Recipe to follow. It looks a bit messy, but it tasted rather nice …
Basically, meringue sandwiched together with ganache. It can be made as a large ‘cake’, or as little individual cakes, which is what I made. You can also make them in several layers, so lots of layers of very thin meringue sandwiched together with ganache and nuts. The meringue should be ‘chewy’, so do use the corn-flour to get the required texture.
150 g ( 5oz) caster sugar
3 1/2 oz roasted cashews
1 1/2 oz icing sugar
4 tsp corn flour
4 egg whites
250ml heavy cream
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or grated
4 tablespoons ground cashews
Line two baking pans with parchment paper. Mark two 9 1/2″ circles on the prepared baking sheets at the back of the parchment paper.
Mix half the caster sugar with the cashews, icing sugar and corn flour. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.
Whisk egg whites into soft peaks, gradually whisk in the remaining caster sugar until they form a stiff glossy meringue, fold in the nut mixture until evenly mixed.
Spread the mixture equally within the marked circles and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Lift off the lining paper.
Spread half the ganache over one of meringue disc, cover with the second disc; smooth side up. Spread the remaining ganache over. Sprinkle chopped cashew nuts on top to garnish.
You can make the ganache and roast the nuts in advance. This cake keeps for 4-5 days, if you can make it last that long!
Gooseberries have frequent mentions in the Chalet School series, but only as bottled or fresh. As bottled gooseberries they often make up the dessert course at Abendessen, and as fresh they appear on picnics, or as gifts – a la James Kettlewell!
I grow my own gooseberries, but for the past couple of years the bush has been attacked by the dreaded Gooseberry Sawfly, and the harvest has been poor. When I was a child, we had lots of gooseberry bushes and lots of gooseberries, and never the sight or sign of the Sawfly, so I don’t know if it’s a more modern problem? Elinor doesn’t mention any pests attacking the gardens of the Chalet School – I suppose no pest would dare to, really …
Anyway, stewed gooseberries just need stewing down, possibly with a bit of water, and then suagr to taste. As they vary in tartness depending on the variety, it’s impossible to give a prescriptive amount of sugar to use.
In my recipe I made a sponge to put on top of the stewed fruit – delicious! But it’s unlikely they would have had sponge added to the stewed fruit for School Abendessen, because that would take sugar and fat which could be better used in other ways. And I suspect it would be seen as a bit indulgent, to have both stewed fruit and sponge in one pudding …