Tag: obatzda

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

It’s been dark for days and the sky is painted in a dull grey that doesn’t seem to fade away. It welcomes me in the morning as soon as I open the curtains in our bedroom and it changes into pitch black in the afternoon without showing a single patch of blue all day. I don’t even want to look outside the windows anymore, I start daydreaming instead, a skill I improved to perfection over the years. I can stare at my computer for minutes before I realise that my mind is already in Dwejra in Gozo, exploring the deep blue of the Mediterranean sea. Another one of my favourite imaginary winter escapes is to stroll down the narrow streets of Valletta, the stone of the baroque buidings glowing in the golden sun and a soft breeze cooling my skin. If I get hungry I just dream myself into Caffe Cordina, I sit at one of the little tables at the Piazza Regina with an espresso and a pastizz tal-irkotta and I completely forget about reality, the grey sky and January’s sober melancholy. I’m not in Berlin anymore.

This works with any place in the world which made me happy at one point, a few days ago I found myself in the mountains, in Bavaria. I imagined a summery Biergarten scene, wooden benches, hearty food and beer mugs on rustic tables under green trees. After a few seconds, I got hungry, but not an imaginary kind of hunger. I felt like pretzels and Obatzda, the famous Bavarian dip made of whipped camembert, caraway seeds and sweet paprika. Daydreaming wakes up all the senses, it doesn’t matter if you see a real sandwich in front of you or if it’s just in your head, all you want is this sandwich on your plate! So I got on my bike, drove to my favourite pretzel bakery and picked a young camembert at the market on my way home. Last year, in early spring, I made an Obatzda variation with rucola and I used a well aged cheese but this time I was after a light aroma to give the spices more space. Back in my kitchen, I put the camembert in the blender and mixed in the spices. When I spread the thick dip voluptuously on a pretzel bun and garnished it with red onions, garden cress and crushed hot chili peppers I could see the Bavarian Biergarten right in front of me.

You can find my recipe for Pretzel Buns here!

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

 

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

For 4 sandwiches you need

pretzel buns or large pretzels,  cut in half, 4
young camembert 100g / 3.5 ounces
cream cheese 80g / 3 ounces
heavy cream 1 tablespoon
caraway seeds, ground in a mortar, 1/8 teaspoon
ground sweet paprika 1 teaspoon
ground cayenne pepper, a pinch
salt and pepper
small red onion, cut in half and into thin slices, 1, for the topping
small dried chili peppers, ground in a mortar, 2-3, for the topping
garden cress, a small handful, for the topping

Purée the camembert, cream cheese, heavy cream and spices in a blender until smooth and season to taste. Spread on the buns and sprinkle with onions, garden cress and chili.

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

 

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

 

Pretzel Buns with Camembert, Caraway Seeds and Red Onions

A Bavarian Sandwich with Obatzda and spicy Radish

Obatzter Sandwich

In a Bavarian beer garden, you can be sure you will find plenty of beer, sausages and at vesper time a traditional delicacy which is served with bread, I’m talking about Obatzda also known as Obatzter meaning mashed. Drinking beer in Bavaria demands strong physical condition as it’s served in a 1 liter mug, the “mass”. You may imagine that it’s quite helpful to have  some rich food on the side when drinking such quantities (obviously people don’t stop after their first “mass” of beer). Obatzda is one of them and it’s offered in huge varieties. It’s basically a cream made of aged cheese leftovers often mixed with either herbs or spices like hot paprika powder or caraway seeds, onion, garlic, a shot of beer, horseradish, butter, cream cheese, I could continue endlessly. It is, again one of those dishes that evolved in each region with each personal preference and local tradition.

My Obatzda is green, it’s based on rucola and a middle-aged camembert and cream cheese. I added some radish and watercress to bring out the rucola’s mild spiciness next to the rich and tangy cheese. White bread wouldn’t have managed to keep up with these strong flavours, I used dark spelt bread. This sandwich needs a dense and juicy texture, strong bread with a nice crust. What is great about this dip is that you can really play around with the leftovers of your fridge. Spring onions, dried tomatoes, olives, all the ingredients mentioned above, you can create your own Obatzda after your own preferences. After your selection is made, mix everything in a blender or mash with a fork and spread on a slice of bread, a thick layer, this is a luscious Bavarian sandwich after all!

For a little bowl of Obatzda, I mixed 30g / 1 ounce of rucola with 50g / 2 ounces of aged camembert, 150g / 5.5 ounces of cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the camembert’s age and tanginess you might need more or less cream cheese, the same with salt. When the dip is spread on a slice of bread, sprinkle with thin slices of radish and some watercress.

Obatzter Sandwich

 

Obatzter Sandwich

 

Obatzter Sandwich