Project Description

 

Lebkuchen means ‘Life Cake’ or ‘Pepper Cake’. I come originally from Nürnberg, the Christmas Capital in Germany.

Nürnberg has the world famous ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ – Christmas Market, dating back to the 1600’s. The traditions of Christmas have been bred into my genes and as much as I love Australia, this is the time when I miss being home. Apart from being known for its toys, Nürnberg is famous for making The Best Christmas Cookie ever, known world-wide as Nürnberger Lebkuchen [in 1395 the first written record of Lebkuchen appears in archives].

 

 

The use of the exotic spices came from being a busy trade route in medieval Europe. The properties of the ingredients and spices also allowed for long storage and the monks who baked and kept the Lebkuchen shared them with the folks in times of need.


Traditionally Lebkuchen are dried and then baked. The bakers in Nürnberg start baking Lebkuchen in August to be ready for their demand during the Christmas period. You can smell the unmistakable delicious aroma lingering in the streets. Often Lebkuchen are being sold in beautiful and colourfull tins at markets stalls throughout the old city.

This year I felt inspired to created my own raw version of this favorite Christmas treat and I hope that you too might enjoy this as part of your Festive cheer.

 

 

Explanations:     

Lebkuchen Gewürz** the spice mix, is an essential part, and the recipe cannot be made without. Please see my recipe below.


Zitronat* – peel one lemon with a vegetable peeler and marinate the pieces in a mixture of  organic evaporate sugar cane juice [rapadura] with a little water, just enough to dissolve the rapadura and to the cover the peel. Place in a clean glass jar and leave to marinate for several days in the fridge until the lemon-peel becomes translucent.

Ingredients for the Lebkuchen:

300 gr hazelnuts (activated and dried)
200 gr almonds (activated and dried)
100 gr walnuts (activated and dried)

100 gr of sultanas
10 dried but soft prunes
5 dried but soft figs

50 ml of fresh orange or mandarin peel [2 tablespoons if dry]
1 tablespoon of dry lemon peel
10 gr or 10 pieces of chopped Zironat*
scrapings of one fresh juicy vanilla pod

3 tablespoons of raw honey
2 tablespoons of freshly ground cinammon
2 tablespoons of Lebkuchen Gewürz** / Christmas spice mix


Make a fine nut flour from 150 gr of hazelnuts & 100 gr of almonds and put aside.
Chop the remaining nuts (except one handful of almonds for decoration) to a medium to fine- chopped consistency. Mix with the nut flour and put aside.

 

 

Chop the Zitronat by hand before transferring it into your food processor with the fruit,  spices and honey. Process well until it has a sticky and smooth consistency.
Now add the chopped nuts and nut flour and combine well to form a soft but firm dough.


Roll the dough out (approx.1.5cm thickness) and use a cookie cutter to cut out round shapes.

 

Transfer to the dehydrator racks (no teflon sheet required.)
Dehydrate at 105 F / 42 C for approx hrs 20 hrs. The Lebkuchen are meant to be a little moist and succulent inside.

 
Optionally, cover some of your Lebkuchen with raw chocolate to make Schokoladen Lebkuchen.

Merry Christmas and Fröhliche Weihnachten,

With Love  ❤ Marion Egger

 

 

‘Lebkuchen Gewürz’  Christmas Spice Mix

 

This is the variation I came up with to recreate the flavours in my memory.

3 cinnamon quills
30 cardamon pods
30 whole cloves
20 pimento
30 black peppercorns
10 small nuggets of frankincense (optional – not used traditionally)
1 whole nutmeg
3 tablespoons of dried orange-peel
2 tablespoons of dried lemon-peel

Only use organic and whole spices to make this potent mix. Transfer all ingredients to a coffee grinder and process to a fine powder. Stop regularly so you won’t overheat your spice mix. Keep in a clean dry glass jar and use in Lebkuchen and other Christmas  Delights.
This spice-mix can also be a delicious addition to some savory dishes, like nut-loafs, stuffing, roasted pumpkin or raw pumpkin soup.

Not only do these spices smell and taste amazing and transport us back in time into the buzzing markets of medieval Europe or the middle East. They also have powerful medicinal properties.