Friday, December 6, 2013

St. Nicholas Day and Bishop´s Bread - Sankt Nikolaustag und Bischofsbrot


Today, on December 6th is St. Nicholas Day (Sankt Nikolaus Tag), a popular occasion for children in many parts of Europe because children usually receive small giftsand sweet treats on this day.

St. Nicholas is referred to by many names throughout Europe such as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands or Nikolaus in Germany. On the night of December 5th, children throughout Europe put their shoes or a special St. Nicholas boot in front of the fireplace or the front door to find them filled with traditional, seasonal sweet treats, clementines, oranges, apples, nuts and small presents the next morning.
Heute Am 6. Dezember ist Sankt-Nikolaus-Tag, ein beliebter Tag bei Kindern in vielen Teilen Europas, weil Kinder in der Regel kleine Geschenke zu diesem Fest erhalten.

St. Nikolaus ist in ganz Europa bekannt, zum Beispiel als Sinterklaas in den Niederlanden oder Nikolaus in Deutschland. Am Abend des 5. Dezember stellen viele Kinder in ganz Europa ihre Schuhe oder spezielle St. Nikolaus- Stiefel vor dem Kamin oder der Tür auf. Am nächsten Morgen dann sind die Stiefel mit vorweihnachtlichen süßen Leckereien, Äpfeln, Mandarinen, Orangen, Nüssen und kleinen Geschenken gefüllt.




The legendary figure of St. Nicholas is derived from Nicholas of Myra. He was the bishop of Myra (now Kale in southwestern Turkey) in the 4th century. During his lifetime he developed a reputation for generosity and gift-giving by putting coins in other people's shoes, which accounts for many of today's Christmas traditions that involve leaving gifts in shoes or boots.
Die legendäre Figur des Hl. Nikolaus wird von Nicholas von Myra abgeleitet. Er war Bischof von Myra (heute Kale im Südwesten der Türkei) im 4. Jahrhundert. Zu seinen Lebzeiten war er bekannt für seine Großzügigkeit und Geschenke und dafür, dass er Münzen in anderer Leute Schuhe versteckte. Daher kommt auch heute noch der Brauch, kleine Geschenke und Leckereien in Stiefeln und Schuhen der Kinder zu stecken.




To mark this very special day, I have chosen to bake a traditional cake called “Bishop's Bread" –  the name is somewhat of a misnomer as this is a cake rather than a bread, but I like the original name as it also refers to the fact that St. Nicholas was a bishop in his lifetime. There are not many special recipes for St. Nicholas Day, many of the special treats that we enjoy on December 6th are rather traditional Christmas cookies. To my delight, I came across this traditional recipe when doing my usual food related research. This bread is like breakfast cake, traditionally enjoyed on the morning of St. Nicholas Day. How appropriate!
Um diesen besonderen Tag zu zelebrieren, habe ich mich dieses Jahr entschlossen mal etwas Anderes zu backen als sonst und bin bei meinen Recherchen auf diesen wunderbaren traditionellen Kuchen, genannt "Bischofsbrot“ gestossen. Der Name dieses Gebäcks ist etwas irreführend, da dies es eher ein Kuchen als ein Brot ist, aber ich mag den ursprünglichen Namen sehr, da er daruaf anspielt, dass der Heilige Nikolaus zu Lebzeiten ein Bischof war. Diesee Kuchen ist eine Art süßer Frühstückskuchen, der am Morgen des Nikolaustags genosen wird. Wie schön!




Bishop's Bread

Ingredients for the Bishop´s Bread
  • 6 eggs (M), separated (organic or free range if possible)
  • 120 grams powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsps. pure vanilla sugar
  • 50 grams raw almonds, chopped coarsely
  • 50 grams raisins tossed in flour and shaken
  • 50 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (70% cocoa solids)
  • grated rind of a lemon (organic, please)
  • grated rind of an orange (organic, please)
  • 125 grams (plain) wheat flour, plus some for flouring the cake pan
  • 1 ½ tsps. baking powder
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 40 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus some for buttering the cake pan
  • powdered sugar for decorating (optional)
Bischofsbrot

Zutaten für den Kuchen
  • 6 Eier (M), getrennt (wenn möglich Bio oder Freilandhaltung)
  • 120 Gramm Puderzucker, gesiebt
  • 2 TL. Bourbon Vanille Zucker
  • 50 Gramm rohe Mandeln, grob gehackt
  • 50 g Rosinen, in ein wenig Mehl gewendet (so sinken sie nicht in den Teig ein)
  • 50 Gramm gute dunkle Schokolade, grob gehackt (70 % Kakao Gehalt)
  • geriebene Schale einer Zitrone (Bio, bitte)
  • geriebene Schale einer Orange (Bio, bitte)
  • 125 Gramm Weizenmehl, plus ein wenig für die Kuchenform
  • 1 ½ TL. Backpulver
  • eine Prise feines Meer-Salz
  • 40 g ungesalzene Butter, geschmolzen und abgekühlt, plus ein wenig für die Kuchenform
  • Puderzucker für die Dekoration 

Preparation of the Bishop´s Bread
  1. Lightly butter a loaf pan, sprinkle with flour and shake out  the excess.
  2. Separate the eggs and with a mixer cream together the egg yolks and sugar until they turn fluffy and pale yellow.
  3. Slowly add the vanilla sugar, the chopped almonds, the raisins, the chopped chocolate, the grated rind of the orange and the lemon. Combine well.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Beat all six egg whites until stiff.
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) for 50 minutes. The bread is done when no imprint is left when finger-tested in the center.
  9. Cool the bread on a rack and decorate with powdered sugar (optional).

Notes:
  • The Bishop´s Bread will keep for up to two days if wrapped well.
  • Chopped candied fruit can be added with the raisins.
  • The cake pan that I used is a so-called "saddle-of-venison cake pan" (Rehrücken in Geman) but you can use a pound cake pan as well - if you would like to order it, you can find it online. To see a "saddle-of-venison cake" of mine, go here



Zubereitung des Kuchens
  1. Die Kuchenform ausbuttern und mit etwas Mehl ausstäuben. Und den Ofen auf 180 Grad Celsius (160 Grad Umluft) vorheizen.
  2. Die Eier trennen und mit dem Mixer die Eigelbe zusammen mit dem Zucker rühren, bis die Masse luftig und hellgelb ist.
  3. Langsam den Vanillezucker, die gehackten Mandeln, die Rosinen, die gehackte Schokolade, die geriebene Schale von der Orange und Zitrone hinzufügen. Gut mischen.
  4. In einer anderen Schüssel das Mehl, Backpulver und Salz mischen.
  5. Alle 6 Eiweiß zu steifem Schnee schlagen.
  6. Die Mehlmischung unter die Buttermischung heben.
  7. Das Eiweiß unter den Teig heben.
  8. Bei 180 Grad Celsius (160 Grad Umluft) zirka 50 Minuten backen. Der Kuchen ist fertig, wenn wann der Teig nicht mehr auf leichten Fingerdruck nachgibt.
  9. Den Kuchen auf einem Kuchenrost abkühlen und nach Wunsch vor dem Servieren mit Puderzucker bestreuen.

Anmerkungen:
  • Das Bischofsbrot hält bis zu zwei Tage, wenn es gut verpackt ist.
  • Gehackte kandierte Früchten können zu den Rosinen hinzugefügt werden oder ersetzen.
  • Für den Kuchen habe ich eine Rehrückenform benutzt, man kann selbstverständlich eine Kastenform nehmen. Einen traditionellen Rehrücken Kuchnen von mir kann man hier sehen.



Our kids lined up their big winter boots last night and this morning, the boots miraculously were filled with cookies, chocolate, fruits, nuts and a few small gifts.

Have a nice St. Nicholas Day!
Unsere Kinder haben gestern Abend ihre Winterstiefel aufgestellt und heuet morgen waren sie auf wundersame Weise mit allerlei leckerem Gebäck, Schokolade, Obst, Nüssen und kleinen Geschenken gefüllt.

Einen schönen Nikolaustag!



36 comments:

  1. What a lovely tradition and story! Your Bishop's Bread looks and sounds delicious! Happy St. Nicholas Day!

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    1. Guyla, it makes me happy when my friends let me know that they enjoy my foodie history lessons and some good old traditional recipes! Thank you, Guyla!

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  2. This is the sweetest post Andrea, it brings back such memories for me. Growing up with a German-American heritage, we didn't hang our stockings on December 24th, like most Americans do but rather on December 6th for the feast of St. Nicholas. We never had fancy stockings like kids do nowadays. We just picked a stocking from our drawer (the biggest one we could find) and hung them. Usually we got oranges, chocolate and other candies and were just thrilled. But one year, my sister hung up her two-legged tights, hoping to get a LOT of goodies, It made me mad that she was so greedy. My parents were not home that night, so after she went to bed, I went out into the yard and found sticks and stones and put them in her stocking. My parents saw it when they got home and laughed but they did end up filling her stocking up with good stuff ............... such fun memories. Thanks for a great post!! And your bread looks just wonderful, we didn't have that part of the tradition but I might need to start it :)

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    1. Chris, what a fabulous and thoughtful comment - I enjoyed reading each and every word! I am trying to imagine you in the yard collecting sticks and stones...that certainly brings one big fat smile to my face! You know, of course, that all the kids that "misbehaved" traditionally receive coals instead of candies - just did not want to include that in my post - lest peolple think us cruel...
      Traditin can be fun and since St. Nichoals Day is stll very commonly celebrated around here and since to us it is such a "quiet" day of celcbration befor eth big rush of the holidays start, we continue celebrating it!
      Thanks again, for taking the time to tell me one funny story!
      Liebe Grüße, Andrea

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  3. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures. Your Bishop's Bread looks lovely and so delicious.

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    1. Gerldine, thank you, dear friend- this Bishop´s Bread or rather cake is wonderful as a breakfast cake or in the afternoon, with a steaming cup of tea or coffee!

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  4. As you know our Santa Claus is based off of Saint Nick. I loved learning about the traditions you share in Europe...and of course more history about the Saint himself! Thank you for sharing! A beautiful post and a beautiful loaf of bread.

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    1. Monet, yes, the North Americen Sant Claus is based on the Dutch Sinterklaas - absolutely correct - aren´t these food stories just the best?! Thanks for your nice comment!

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  5. My husband is Dutch and I remember his mom talking about St. Nicholas day. She also told us of Zwarte Piet. I love all the different traditions…so wonderful to live in such a small world. Your Bishop’s Bread looks wonderfully delicious…I would love to bake one. It looks like a perfect bread for breakfast! Happy Weekend, Andrea!

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    1. Kathy, your Dutch part of the family, of course, knows all about Sinterklass then - the Dutch have some absolutely wonderful traditions (among many other Europeans) around St. Nicholas Day. And I love to learn all about them - we love this festive day during the Christmas season but without all the hectic hustle and bustle of Chistmas Eve.

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  6. I've heard of St Nicholas Day having grown up in England but I was not familiar with all the tradition. What a lovely time for the kids! I bet they were excited to receive all those wonderful treats. Andrea, I love your cake too, it look super delicious! Something I'm sure I would enjoy with some nice coffee and a good friend :)

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    1. Nazneen, you know how it is with tradition and this St. Nicholas Day is widely celebrated around here - my family loves it and I have a really good excuse to run offf into the kitchen (again) and bake even more seasonal treats. Hope you got a chance to read my answer n FB regarding the cake mold, a so-called "saddle-of-venison" cake mold. I added the name to the post (thank you for pointing that out) and here is the link to one of my posts about that particular cake : http://kitchenlioness.blogspot.de/2012/11/saddle-of-venison-cake-oblong-cake-with.html

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  7. Our favourite gifts, growing up, were always the stockings that my parents would fill w chocolates, pencils, erasers, cute socks and other little treasures. I'm sure your girls love this tradition of their boots filled w sweet little gifts.
    The biehop's loaf looks crazy delicious and I'm going to have to bake one tomorrow morning just to be sure.
    Hope you have a lovely w/end, my dear.

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    1. Colette, how nice that you let me know about the traditions in your family, dear friend! I enjoy reading about those family stories so much. How is darling Daisy doing at this time of year - she is probably busy doing arts and crafts and helping you out in the kitchen?!
      Thanks for the wonderful comment - Happy baking this weekend!

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  8. What a beautiful bread/cake! I bet after two days it would make some wonderful 'pain perdu!' I was never in Germany for Sankt Nikolaustag, but maybe ought to start this as a tradition here. In the middle of yesterday, Mark emailed and wished me a Happy Saint Nicholas Day! So nice that some people remember! Happy day after! ~ David

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    1. Daivd, so nice of you to wish me a Happy St. Nicholas Day!!! I was running a tad bit late with my post but I wanted it to look as authentic as possible - just had to have the picture of St, Nicholas as part of the post...but better late than never!
      Thank you for your wonderful comment - I think it is fabulous that Mark took the time to give you a call on that special day!!!

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  9. I never had a Bischofsbrot on Sankt Nikolaus day but it looks amazing! Here in Switzerland we bake a "Grätti-Maa" which is a sweet yeast dough in a shape of a little man (sounds totally weird I know!!) and eat it with butter, honey, nuts, dates or whatever dried fruits and oranges we have at home! But as much as I like our "Grätti-Maa" next year I have to add your Bischofsbrot to our feast! :) I love the ingredients already! :)
    xox and a wonderful sunday dear Andrea!

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    1. Amy, dear The "Grätti-Maa" will be part of next year´s post, promise - I absolutely love that name! I have seen it and before and it looks like the Sweet Dough Man we back for Saint Martin´s Day (we put clay pipes in their dough hands - they are supposed to symbolize a Bisho´s crozier). If you have the best recipe ever for your an authentic "Grätti-Maa", I would appreciate you sharing the recipe - that would be fun!
      Thank you for your comment!
      Ganz liebe Grüße in die Schweiz!!!

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  10. Stunning.
    My heart smiles when I click over here, dear.

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    1. Kim, this is one of the nicest comments - you certainly have a way with words, dear friend! Thank you!

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  11. What a lovely tradition and it is wonderful that you are continuing them and passing on the traditions to your children. Another great recipe Andrea - I especially like cakes/bread with chocolate and orange flavours in them :)

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    1. Karen, ah, traditions...this day is certainly one that is still widely celebrated around here - I love the quietness that surrounds this special day before the real holiday frenzy starts - a moment to pause!

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  12. We used to celebrate St. Nicholas Day up until my youngest went to college 2 years ago. I thought about it this week and regretted not sending a package of sweets and chocolate coins. And I should have also have baked up this gorgeous bread!

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    1. Liz, I know that one of your sons is named Nicholas - so Saint Nicholas is his patron saint - how nice that you celebrated this special day with sweet and treats for the children when they were younger! Thank you for the nice comment!

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  13. Love love loved this post, as usual and your photos are stunning. So fun to read about the traditions celebrated elsewhere. Thank you so much for sharing !

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    1. Tricia, you are such a kind person - I will make up for those "tuilles" cookies soon - in the meantime we are just so busy (just like everyone else). Thank you for taking the time to drop by!

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  14. My cousins in Amsterdam they celebrate too. The kids love it and they have lots of presents in the big brown sack.

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    1. Candy, you have cousins living in Amsterdam - that´s so nice. I am sure that they celebrated St. Nicholas Day in a big way! It is quite the feast in the Netherlands!

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  15. I love how classy the European Santa looks... very pretty outfit! Do you guys also have Swarte Piete? I remember when I was living in the Netherlands he was kind of a jarring character to see. I loved Christmas in Europe, I really want to return and experience it again!

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    1. Ashley, quite elegant that´s true - I love that Bishop´s robe and crozier that the traditional Saint Nicholas wears. In Germany we do not have a "zwarte piet" but we have a "Knecht Ruprecht", same concept, different figure. Glad that you enjoyed this post, dear Ashley and I hope all is going well with the job hunt!

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  16. Thanks for sharing your lovely holiday traditions with us - not to mention that beautiful recipe! Hope you're having a great weekend, Andrea.

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    1. Beth, thank you and you are welcome - my pleasure to share a few of our nice traditions - what a great time of year to be sharing a few facts about out lives around here!

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  17. Olá Andrea

    Este bolo está por demais delicioso, lindo. Quero uma fatia... :-)

    Beijinhos
    http://www.pratocaseiro.blogspot.pt/

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    1. Cozinha Caseira, muito obrigado!
      Beijinhos,
      Andrea

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  18. Danke fuer dieses wunderbare Rezept, Andrea! So ein luftiger Kuchen mit relativ "schweren" Zutaten.... der scheint dir gut gelungen zu sein.
    Was fuer eine schoene Idee, die Rehrueckenform zu verwenden, die bei mir immer nur auf den lockeren Schokoladenteig wartet :-)
    Einen lieben Gruss aus dem verschneiten Maryland, am Morgen war alles mit einer Eisschicht ueberzogen....

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    1. Liebe Wally, da mein Bischofsbrot nur 40 Gramm Butter enthält und die Eiweiß zu Schnee geschlagen werden bevor sie unter den Teig gehoben werden, ist der Kuchen keineswegs schwer - trotz der Schokolade und der Mandeln - erstaunlich saftig und lecker!
      Lieben Dank für deinen Kommentar und ganz herzliche Grüße aus Bonn!
      Andrea

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