Friday, November 21, 2008

dutch treats

Seth's class is studying the Netherlands, and, good mama that I am, I am feeding the class this noon--pea soup, banket, and hot chocolate.
Droste Cacao is no where to be found in this city--I used to get it at the Jewel, but I have been to 6 stores in the last week with no success, so it is Hershey's Dark for the cocoa. I do have an old Droste tin I can hide it in.
I just sampled it and the pea soup is wonderful--I think the kids (5th graders) will like the nickname for this soup--SNERT.
The banket baked beautifully. My great aunt's recipe calls for dividing the dough and filling into 7 equal portions. WHAT?? Seven equal portion? I make it into 6 equal easily, but how do you eyeball seven? My mom thinks Aunt Hattie said 7 because she would hide one on a top shelf just for herself to snoop from. Good incentive to figure out how to divide into sevens.

Erwtensoep/Dutch Pea Soup--my mom's recipe that I adapted for the crock pot. Mom also prefers an unsmoked pork roast for the meat--I prefer smoked ham hocks. From her mother Ella Scholten's recipe.

The night before:
1 lb dried split peas and if you can find them, 1/2 cup of dried whole peas. I usually find them in the Hispanic food aisle. Sort and rinse peas. Place in large pan and fill with cool water, covering by 2-3 inches.

In the morning:
Drain and rinse peas. Do not reuse soaking water.
Put peas in crock pot with 2 smoked ham hocks or a ham bone or small smoked port butt or an unsmoked pork roast. Add water to cover by 1 inch.
Set for low for 6 hours or high for 4.

In the afternoon:
Skim bubbles from the top and discard. Remove meat from the crock pot. When it is cool enough to touch, discard the rind and bones, chop up the meat and return to to the pot. If there is not enough meat, I add some cut up ham.
Chop a large onion and 1-1/2 cups chopped celery with the leaves and saute for a few minutes if you wish--else just put in the pot.
Peel and dice a sweet potato
Scrub and dice 2-3 potatoes and 2-3 carrots
Add all these vegetables to the peas and cook another 1-2 hours.

In the evening:
Salt and pepper to taste. A bit off nutmeg may be grated on top.

When cold, pea soup is really stiff; reheat with a bit of water. Pea soup scorches easily, so reheat gently.

Banket (Dutch Almond Letters)--my great Aunt Hattie Scholten's recipe.
1 cup cold butter
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
Mix dough as for pie crust--I use my Kitchenaid mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
1/2 lb almond paste (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs plus 1 yolk (save the white)
1 tsp vanilla
Beat almond paste until smooth. Add sugar and beat. Add eggs and yolk and vanilla. Cover and chill overnight.

Divide dough into 7 (!) equal portions. Roll each into a 4" by 14" strip. You have to work fast to keep the dough cold. It will be a really thin piece--I flip it over with each pass of the rolling pin. You really have to have someone show you how to do this. Find one of my sisters if I'm not around.
Take 1/7th (!) of the filling and place down the center of the dough. Fold ends of dough in, then roll sides over filling.
You are going to have to watch me or one of my sisters for this part too.
Place seam side down on parchment paper. You can shape these into letters, but I usually go for the straight pastries so I can fit 3-4 on a sheet.
Prick down the center every 2 inches to let steam escape. Beat the reserved egg white into a froth and brush the tops. Sprinkle with more sugar than you think you will need. Again, you will have to watch Janna or Beth or me.
Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Hide one on a top shelf for your own snooping.

A few hours later:
Success! They are all ready to go work on the polders.


Sheila in Ohio said...

the food looks delicious and the kiddos are soooo cute!

Debby said...

That's really dutch food: erwtensoep met rookworst van de Hema! And the kid's are learning something from the Netherlands to

Greetings from Debby
the Netherlands

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh those banket look sooooo yummy!