Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tradition! and my recipe for Ofenschlupfer

As I write the word, tradition, I'm somehow channeling the Fiddler on the Roof, although this post has nothing to do with brokered brides, or Jewish traditions.  Nevertheless, the song is there.

As time marches on, traditions come and go.  For most of my life, we had a tradition of gathering the family together for Christmas at the old homestead.  The family grew from my sisters and my parents to my sisters and their spouses and my parents, to my sisters, their spouses their children and my parents . . . well you see where this is going.  A few years ago, my parents  moved from the old homestead, and with that move, the tradition that survived for all those years necessarily had to change.

Our children have grown and now have children of their own, and as this progression takes place, the tug of war that goes with who gets to spend time with which in-laws on which day has grown exponentially. And with the addition of the grandchildren/great grandchildren, it becomes increasingly more difficult to gather our families together for Christmas. Nevertheless, the initial group of us (my sisters, their spouses and my parents) still try to make the effort, a monumental feat some years.

During the writing process of Mist on the Meadow, I tapped into my German heritage which, like Christmas traditions, has become diluted with the number of years my ancestors have spent on this side of the ocean. Traditions have to change as circumstances, and locations, change. The main character, Marissa, is a baker, and she carries forward a traditional German dish for Christmas. For years, my family  made cinnamon dinner rolls, but I didn't feel that was German enough for the book, so I went in search of a more German dessert.  The result was Ofenschlupfer (you may have seen my guest post with fellow writer, +Terry Odell on one of her "What's Cookin' Wednesdays" posts about a month ago).

This year, gathering my family together has been a challenge. We are creating new traditions with our children and grandchildren, which makes it more difficult to celebrate the old traditions with my sisters and parents. But for the couple of hours that I saw my sisters and my parents, I decided to celebrate our German roots, and made Ofenschlupfer - Rockin Around the Christmas Tree in a New Old-Fashioned Way. Who knows? Maybe this will be a new tradition, either with my sisters and my parents, or with my children/grandchildren.  So here is my Christmas present to you: Ofenschlupfer.

Do you have any traditions that you hold onto? New traditions to accommodate the progression of time?


German recipe for apple and bread pudding from Southern Germany. If you have apples and some stale bread, then bake this recipe for bread pudding.

Ofenschlupfer literally means sneaking into the oven. So if you are looking for an easy German dessert recipe, sneak my Ofenschlupfer into your oven. 

Recipe For Ofenschlupfer

(Apple Bread Pudding)

1-2 golden delicious apples, chopped
4 slices of bread (I used 4 Hawaiian rolls, sliced into thirds)
2 Tbls butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
2-1/2 cups milk, scalded

Heat oven to 350 F. Toast bread slices lightly. Spread slices with butter (margarine).   Peel apples, cut in fine slices and toss with brown sugar and cinnamon. Arrange bread slices buttered side up in a 1-1/2 quart buttered casserole dish.  Top with apple mixture and raisins.  Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Slowly stir in milk.  Pour over bread. 

Place casserole dish in a square pan, 9x9x2, on oven rack. Pour very hot water (1 inch deep) into square pan. Bake until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, 65-70 minutes. Remove casserole dish from pan of hot water.  Serve warm or cool  6-8 servings.

Enjoy this easy bread pudding recipe on its own or with a thick creamy vanilla sauce.


  1. Oh yummm. My husband is of German descent and I'm swiss. That reminds me of Apple Kuchen, which is similar. Good for you trying to preserve some tradition. As families grow, like you said, it becomes more and more difficult. Nice post.

  2. I have some Swiss in me, too! Thanks, Mario's mom.