Every Passover, I bake my German grandmother’s signature Hazelnut Torte. In my family, it wouldn’t be Passover without it. I included the recipe in Jumping Over Shadows because it is such an amazing amalgam of my heritage and my adopted Jewish tradition. And yet, it occurred to me this morning, as I opened the little spiral-bound notebook of recipes she left us, I never shared an image of the original recipe.
So here it is–if you can read German, you might just make it out.
When I first learned how to bake and perused the similar notebook my grandmother had made for my mother (her daughter-in-law), I was upset that it pretty much just offers a list of ingredients and no instructions:
“Stir 6 yolks with 250g sugar and some lemon rind, add “snow” (I love that German way of denoting stiff egg whites.) from 6 egg whites and 250g ground hazelnuts. Bake 3/4 to 1 hour at medium heat.”
That’s it! How’s a person supposed to learn how to bake with that? Granted, with 4 ingredients this is a simple recipe and easy to make. But, alas, Oma’s recipe notebook was not meant to be an instruction manual. It simply captured the ingredients for an experienced cook, and I am so very grateful that she took the time to write them down. And so, over the years, that’s what I became: an experienced cook.
Back to the kitchen and the stove. Happy Passover! (And Happy Easter later on!)