Zwiebackpudding / Rusk Pudding with Cherry Compote

Ever heard of "Zwiebackpudding" (rusk pudding)? No? Then you'll fit right in with...well, everybody I know. Apparently, it's a recipe from northern Germany, but since I've been living in northern Germany for a quite a while now, I think I would have stumbled upon this somewhere, but I have never eaten or even seen it anywhere else. At least not in this version.Zwiebackpudding is something that my mom used to make since I was very little. It was always a special treat, because she only made it a couple of times a year. So when I moved out, I talked her into bequeathing her mold to me, because I knew I was gonna make it more often than just once or twice a year. You will need one of these if you want to make this. You could theoretically do it in the microwave as well, but it gets pretty dry in there.

My mold has recently gotten a little brother as you can see, since the big one is usually way too big for just myself, though I really do like to make this when I have visitors. And let me tell you, so far, they've all wanted to eat it again (or at least they weren't complaining). And yes, the big one could use a vinegar bath, I know.

Zwieback is something very typically German, so I'm not sure if you can get it abroad. I've never seen it abroad, but then again: I've never looked, so you might be able to get it in some specialty stores or order it online. Or in every grocery store, who knows? The most common brand in Germany is Brandt. Basically, it's a twice-baked bread that is slightly sweet.

Anyway. This Zwiebackpudding takes a bit or preparation and an hour of cooking time at least, but it's totally worth the wait. It's sweet, so a lot of people ask me why I don't eat it as a dessert, but as a main entree. Well, because it's really, really rich. And filling. I wouldn't wanna eat it after already having eaten a regular meal. So you should keep that in mind when you decide whether to serve it as an entree or a desert.


For the pudding:
10-12 pieces of Zwieback
125 ml milk
125 ml whipped cream
4 eggs
80g sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more. Just go for it. I usually put like, a tablespoon in there and the flavor is still pretty subtle)
1 tsp baking powder

For the cherry compote:
250g sour cherries (canned)
1 tbsp cornstarch

For the mold:
some butter
2 tbsp of breadcrumbs

1. Grease your mold (including the lid) and sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs.

2. In a big bowl, crumble your Zwieback into smallish pieces (about an inch in size). If they aren't all exactly the same size - don't worry about it.

3. Mix the milk and cream and heat up, but don't let it boil. Pour the hot mixture over the crumbled Zwieback. Let it soak for about 15 minutes.

4. Divide your eggs and whip the egg yolks with the sugar, cinnamon and baking powder until the mixture is a light yellow and has significantly increased in volume (about a couple of minutes).

5. Mix the egg yolk mixture under the Zwieback. Don't be too careful with it, it's not egg whites. Just smush it all together until you have a fairly homogenous mix.

6. Beat the egg whites until they're very stiff and fold under the Zwieback-mixture.

7. Fill the mix into the form (make sure your mold is only filled 2/3 of the way), put the lid on and cook in a pot of water on medium heat for about an hour.

8. Take the mold out of the pot and let it stand for about 5 minutes before removing the lid. If the pudding is stuck in the mold when you turn it over onto a plate, try putting a cold, wet towel around the mold or just give it a few good whacks.

9. While your pudding is cooling in the mold, divide the cherries from their juice. Put the juice in a pot, add the cornstarch and whisk continuously until the juice starts boiling. Add the cherries and let them warm in the juice for a minute before taking the pot off the stove.

Unfortunately, there is no real way to see when the pudding is really done, but with an hour, you're usually on the safe side. The recipe is for a mold about 19 to 20cm in diameter, but you can easily adjust the recipe to fit every size. When I use my big mold (which is 21cm in diameter), I usually make 1 1/2 times this recipe and the pudding turns out beautifully in about 70 to 75 minutes, when I use my small mold (16cm), it's done in about 35 to 45 minutes. Leaving it in a couple of minutes extra won't hurt it, so if you're unsure, just add 10 minutes to be on the safe side.

By the way, I apologize for the even-crappier-than-usual pictures, but I forgot to set everything up before the pudding was done and I really wanted to eat while it was still warm, so I just tried to snap some shots in my dark kitchen real quick.

However, if you do have leftovers - the pudding also tastes great cold. The cherries, too. So don't try to warm it up again, just eat it as it is. You don't even have to put it in the fridge if you just want to eat it the next day.

♥ Nicole


Pencil Skirt

You all remember the half-finished skirt I showed you guys a couple of weeks ago? Well, it's finished.

Actually, it's been finished for a while, I just haven't gotten around to posting it yet. I was pretty worried about it for a while. As I said in that last post, I got stuck somewhere in the middle and had no idea how to continue. Since I didn't want to ruin the fabric (which I adore so much and totally regret not having bought more of), I took it to a sewing course I took a couple of weeks back, hoping that a professional could help me rescue it.

Well, it was rescued. But not before a few more hours of worrying. I used So Sew Easy's instructions on how to draft a pencil skirt exactly to fit your own measurements and I had adjusted the pattern so the skirt would be waist-high. However, somewhere in between I decided I wanted it to sit a little lower. What I would have done (considering the back wasn't sewn shut yet) was to adjust the back a bit. What the professional did was cut off the top of the skirt (which is why the darts in the front are only like, an inch long and look a little weird). O_o First real moment of panic right there. Especially since the skirt was way too loose around my waist then and I had to readjust the sides completely.

But alas, it all turned out alright in the end. I did my first hidden zipper (...and totally caught my finger in the needle while doing it. Bled like crazy. Hurt for a week.), which isn't completely hidden to be honest, but I'm pretty satisfied with it.

I still think it's missing something on top, maybe a contrasting waistband of some sort. I'm thinking gathered satin or something, but I don't have the right fabric here right now, it's gonna have to wait.

As I said in my other post, I made a lot of mistakes with this one. But I'm really glad it turned out wearable in the end. Seriously, I would have cried if I would have ruined that pretty, pretty fabric.

I also made another flower out of some of the scrap fabric (well, actually I made two) to wear with the skirt. Not getting tired of those!

So, what do you guys think?

♥ Nicole


Strawberry Cardinal

I haven't really gotten around to baking something in the past few weeks, because I've been somewhat preoccupied with sewing. Well, and there wasn't really anyone who could've eaten it with me. And I'm on somewhat of a half-assed diet again (and really, when am I not?).

So today I visited my former work place, so I used the chance of knowing there were plenty of people who I could share with (and who usually were very keen on eating my cakes) and finally made something again. I realize it may not look like much, but don't judge a book by its cover (Heh. A publishing pun.)...or in this case, a cake by its outside - it's aaaaall on the inside.

The base and top each are a layer of sponge and a layer of meringue. The bottom layer is soaked in lemon curd and topped with vanilla whipped cream and strawberries. Sound better now?

I have no idea idea why this is called a strawberry cardinal, by the way. Just go with it.

Strawberry Cardinal

For the sponge:
2 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
80g flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
70g of powdered sugar

For the meringue:
4 egg whites
100g sugar

For the filling
2 tps lemon curd
300-400g of strawberries (well, basically as many as you want to be in there)
250ml vanilla whipped cream (alternatively: whipped cream plus 2 pkg. of vanilla sugar or 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract)

1. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and the powdered sugar with an electric mixer until they have tripled.

2. Sift the flour and powdered sugar on top and carefully fold in until it's just incorporated.

3. Divide the dough between two 28 or 30cm greased springform pans.

4. Mix the egg whites for a minute, then slowly add the sugar and continue whisking until a fairly firm meringue has formed (it doesn't have to be super stiff, though, or you won't be able to spread it on the dough).

5. Divide the meringue between the two pans, and spread it over the dough.

6. Bake on 150°C for about 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Whip the vanilla whipped cream, cut up the strawberries into small pieces and mix the two.

8. When the cakes are completely cooled, spread a thin layer of lemon curd on the bottom layer, spread the whipped cream on it and put the second cake layer on top.

9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving. (Or decorate with whipped cream and more strawberries. Basically, be a lot more creative than I was!)

Bon appetit!

♥ Nicole


Mathilde Blouse

For my birthday in February, a friend gave a book of sewing techniques with a card that said "For when we're sewing the Mathilde blouse." O_o Just to give you a frame of reference: back then, I could barely sew straight lines, so there was a lot of hysterical giggling involved when I checked out what my challenge was going to be.

To be honest, I didn't think I could ever produce anything remotely wearable, but alas, I prevailed (which is my usual attitude when it comes to sewing: prevail.).

However, there's a laundry list of things that went wrong with it. The buttons aren't completely centered, the tucks are anything but straight and my first encounter with piping didn't exactly go as planned. Plus: the pen I used to mark the fabric didn't disappear when I washed it, but actually just bled through everything and now can be seen in various places if you look closely.

Also, if I did it again, I'd do a few things differently. Even though the blouse is supposed to be a loose fit, it was a little too loose for me. I had to take it in at the waist a little, so it had some shape, but it still could be a size smaller. The sleeves also turned out extremely poofy (totally my own fault), so these I'd make a lot less poofy, too.

Still, I'm kinda proud of it and it's actually the first piece of clothing I've made that I've worn in public. And as you can see: another flower embellishment. I just love these lately. They're such an easy addition to everything and can completely change the look of something.

If you wanna give a it a go yourself, you can find the pattern over at Tilly and the Buttons!


I proudly present...the Sailor Dress

People! Finally! Not only did I manage to find my tripod (....in the basement...in the bag with my flippers....and I will not ponder that longer than I have to), today my new dress form arrived! So I'm all set to finally post some of my sewing projects. And there's, like, half a dozen to show so far. Some better than others, some more complicated than others and some...well...for you to laugh at and feel better about yourself (cause I can manage to ruin everything if I set my mind to....doing something extra great).

Today, I'm going to start with my sailor dress. I know, I know, it doesn't exactly look like a sailor dress, but it reminded me of one because of the colors and it seemed fitting considering I live close to the sea with lakes and rivers and canals running through the whole city, so you're never far from water.

The dress was actually supposed to be a skirt, but somehow it had different ideas once I started it. I actually did this one without a pattern. I was actually only trying to practice darts and how to make a fitting skirt out of a rectangle of fabric. I loved the idea of the red piping between the blue and white fabric and since I had kinda botched my first attempt at adding piping in another project (which you will get to see soon), I wanted to try it again. This time, it turned out pretty well I think (Hey! So this is what happens when you take your time and you don't try to be done in record time!).

So while my skirt was still a rectangle, I was trying to figure out which way I wanted it to go. Did I want the white on top or on the bottom? While I was handling the fabric in front of the mirror I realized the color combination would also look really nice in a top...and that's when the whole "Hey, let's just make it a dress!" shenanigans started. For the top part, I used some parts of Tilly's Mathilde blouse pattern as a guideline because it looked pretty much like I wanted the top to look and as I had just finished the Mathilde blouse (including the botched piping), I kinda knew what to expect. Or at least that's what I thought. What I hadn't considered was that while the Mathilde blouse only has darts to the sides of the breasts, I needed 2 more darts down the front, so the top would be fitted. Aaaah! So yeah, those were two stressful hours. But: I prevailed!

What I also hadn't really thought through was the fact that I would have to sew in a zipper. (Are you starting to - no pun intended - see a pattern here?) Which I had never done before. And let me just tell you: I'm preeeeetty sure it would have been immensely helpful to just look up how to sew in a zipper before attempting it. However, as I can't be bothered with inconsequential details like that, I just did what I thought was right (I even bought the wrong zipper - who knew there were different types?). Emphasis on "thought". Cause as I learned last week: it totally wasn't right. But I have to say, considering I had no idea what I was doing....it could have been worse. Could also have been better, but I think I fared fairly well. It closes. It opens. It does its job. Did I botch it a little towards the butt? Yes. Does it look a little weird down there? Yes. But nobody ever looks at my butt anyway. (EDIT: Oops. I just took some pictures of the dress on the dress doll and holy sh**, the back looks worse than I actually thought. Now it's really a good thing nobody ever looks at my butt, because I still wanna wear it!)

The little red flower I had bought a week earlier on a whim, but it just fit so nicely with the dress that I'm only using it for that now. However, I spent my weekend trying to make all different kinds of flowers, so I think in the future I'll just do them myself. Or at least I'll try to.

♥ Nicole


What's sewing?

So. For a blog that's called "Bake. Sew. Craft." there's a whole lot of baking been going on here in the past month, but not much of...well, anything else. Sorry. It's not because I haven't done anything else. I've been quite a busy bee actually. I've made three skirts, a dress and a blouse in the past few weeks and I'm halfway finished with the next skirt. And I have about half a dozen more projects planned.

BUT. The weather's been horrible for the past few weeks (today has been the first really sunny day in forever), so I couldn't take any pictures with the clothes on outside and I don't really have the space in my apartment (or a dress form). Plus, I just realized that my tripod apparently went rogue during my move. 14 months ago. (Yes. I don't use it very often.) So I need someone to take the pictures of me. Which takes planning and good weather. Anyway. What I'm trying to say is: lots of sewing projects to show, just be a little more patient with me. I hope to get some pictures this weekend. But here's a little peek at least!

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And I'm actually really excited about the projects I have planned. Last Saturday we went to the fabric market and I stocked up on lots of pretty fabrics (okay admittedly, completely different fabrics than I had planned on - but pretty nonetheless!). I'm planning to sew a Marielle Skirt out of the dark blue fabric at the bottom, a Peony dress out of the turquoise fabric in the middle, some...pretty dress I haven't quite decided on yet on the shiny violet-blue fabric (that changes color depending on the light - so pretty!)... and more. But I'm big on plans and not so big on the follow-through, so let's see how much of that will actually happen.

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And I might have bitten off a little more than I can chew with my current skirt project. This is the only fabric I bought on Saturday that I got without a specific project in mind. Saw it, fell in love, bought it.

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And realized quickly I wanted to make a pencil skirt out of it. Yeah. That was my first bad idea. As soon as I started I realized the fabric was way too thin and lightweight to ever hold its shape. And considering I'm a true pear with thighs so wide they make my hips look small, I absolutely cannot wear anything that doesn't keep its shape once it's past my thighs. So I thought: I'll just sew a layer of medium-weight cotton to it. Second bad idea. I mean, it holds its shape, and it doesn't look horrible or anything, but the seams are really thick (which isn't surprising considering they hold four layers). In hindsight, I should've just sewn two separate skirts and then attached them at the waist and not all over. But too late for that now.

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And actually, the real problems only started when I was halfway finished. I think I sat three hours in front of the half-finished thing last night just staring at it and I still have no idea how to insert the zipper, hem it or finish off the waist. So I stopped before I did anything stupid and ruined the pretty, pretty fabric. Let's hope I'll have an epiphany sometime this week so I can finally finish it.