Meet In Your Your Kitchen | Husarenkrapferl – Stefanie Hering’s Christmas Family Cookies

by meike peters

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

Innovation – but always based on tradition. Never neglect tradition. – Stefanie Hering

There’s something very calm and focussed about this woman. Stefanie Hering is the opposite of agitated. Things feel possible, manageable, even in times of disruption she doesn’t forget that the potential to create joy and beauty always lies in her hands, literally.

Stefanie is the founder of Hering Berlin, a traditional Berlin based ceramic manufacturer who changed the way we experience porcelain tableware. Lenny Kravitz, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, and the chefs of more than 250 Michelin starred restaurants fall for her bold and uncompromising design. Tom Aikens, Heinz Winkler, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, they all trust the designer’s vision to present their culinary creations, allowing her to create a frame for their food that’s anything but shy yet doesn’t distract from the chefs’ work.

“We were at the fair in Chicago and there were Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller talking, saying It’s bloody expensive but damn good.” – Stefanie Hering

The first plate from Hering‘s manufactory that I held in my hands many years ago gave me a sense of a designer who had traveled into the future and came back with an approach to design that dared to question the prevalent, established ideas of porcelain. It was a plate of the Cielo collection, the rim perforated with a pattern of small holes that are drilled into the unglazed biscuit (or bisque) porcelain by hand.

It takes 80 steps to make this plate. So, 80 times, this plate can break or crack, but also, 80 times, the craftsperson gets the chance to approach perfection in a plate that seems so fragile, so delicate, but that is so robust. When I anxiously asked Stefanie how to clean it, she answered “Just put it in the dishwasher.” She’s pragmatic and never forgets that good design should work but also create and accumulate fun and satisfaction in your kitchen.

Hering‘s success came sudden, almost too sudden. When Bergdorf Goodman ordered their products for their NYC department store, when MoMA put a picture of one of Stefanie’s objects on their annual catalogue, she became famous and noticed that she would soon reach the limits of her manufactory’s oven capacities. The time had come to expand and grow, which she managed to do several times in her career, which also included setbacks. But somehow Stefanie always manages to connect with that deep trust in herself and her work that she was already aware of when she was young.

Stefanie is her hardest critic, she wants to excite and surprise her customers with her creations, she wants to impress them with her high standards of hand-crafting, but most importantly, when she started her career, she said to herself “I’ll stopp doing this job as soon as it bores me and I don’t enjoy it anymore. That’s 30 years ago and it never bored me a single day.”

Food is love. It’s an elixir. It’s something I could never live without.” – Stefanie Hering

It’s tempting to romanticize a career like Stefanie’s. Working with a craft that is so rewarding in the process of creating and also in the final products that become a part of many people’s everyday life all over the world, yet Stefanie doesn’t hide the tough times and painful decisions. The more successful a company becomes, the higher the risk, the more people are affected by your decisions. You do need to stay calm within yourself to deal with the pressure, the uncertainties, the fact that the final responsibility will always be on your plate.

Stefanie shared one of her Christmas family cookie recipes with me, the Husarenkrapferl that she’s been baking for her children for years, can now fill your pretty cookie jars. These are Austrian-style thumbprint cookies, however, Stefanie doesn’t use her thumb but the stick of a wooden spoon and she fills the cookies twice, before and after baking them.

The podcast episode with Stefanie Hering is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Stefanie on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Husarenkrapferl

by Stefanie Hering

Mind that the dough needs to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Makes about 40 cookies

  • 140g / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 70g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
  • 70g / 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 140g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 150g / 5 ounces black currant jelly (or any other red jam or jelly)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cookies

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter and egg yolks and, using a knife, chop the butter and egg yolks to combine them with the flour mixture until crumbly. Quickly crumble the dough with your fingers and squeeze and form it into a ball and then into a thick log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, briefly warm up the jelly over medium heat, whisking constantly, until liquid; this will make it easier to fill the cookies.

Cut slices of dough off the log and, using your hands, roll each piece into a ball, around the size of a small walnut. Spread the balls of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving enough space between them as they will expand during baking. Using the stick of a wooden spoon, make a small hole in the middle of each cookie.

Using a teaspoon or an icing bag with a small tip, fill the cookies with the jelly then bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cookies are golden and tender; mind that they don’t get dark. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a large plate or cooling rack. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar and fill up the holes with a little more jelly. Let them cool completely then enjoy them or gently layer them in a cookie box or jar.