Bobbes {Shortcrust Pastry with Nuts & Raisins}

Classic German Desserts

These little pastries are probably not very famous, even in Germany. I never heard about them before I moved to the small university town Göttingen. At that time I didn’t bake. So I usually went to the local bakeries to get my sweet tooth fixed. And there they were, those small but comparably heavy streusel topped buns. I always thought they were special because they were made from such unusual material. They were as big as a small roll or cinnamon bun, but they were not made from yeast or sponge cake. Instead their main component was shortcrust pastry. Actually they were not a pastry, they were a giant cookie, filled with marzipan and raisins.


Because of their weird appearance and their fascinating texture I had to buy them again and again. And then I left Göttingen and moved to Saxony. And those brilliant little things were never to be seen again. After that I often thought about them and a couple of weeks ago I finally looked up the recipe. They are made with enriched shortcrust pastry. The eggs help to bind the dough and add stability. This is necessary because Bobbes are made like cinnamon buns: the dough is rolled into a log. Shortcrust pastry made without eggs is supposed to be crumbly and has to be treated carefully. The fat that is added to the dough minimises gluted development and that results in a crumbly dough. During baking it also makes the dough spread, something that is desireable in some cookies, but not in a pastry like this. So the protein provided by the eggs holds the dough together, both during shaping and baking. Because of this I decided to use an egg replacer for this recipe. Chickpea flour mixed with water works great for this recipe: It provides the liquid needed to form the dough and the protein to bind it. I decided to make a version with alcohol and used 50 ml Kirschwasser. But that was a bit much, I would recommend to use less, maybe 2 tablespoons. Substitute soy milk for a non-alcoholic version.

Bobbes (makes 10)
adapted from this recipe

For the dough:
190 g flour (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon)
20 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
70 g (1/3 cup) sugar
1 pinch salt
20 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) chickpea flour, mixed with 6 tablespoons water
110 g (1/2 cup) refined coconut oil, very soft

For the filling:
50 ml (3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) rum or Kirschwasser (or a combination of alcohol and soy milk)
100 g (3.5 oz) marzipan, cubed
25g (2 tablespoons) sugar
100 g (3.5 oz) raisins
50 g (1/2 cup) sliced almonds

For the streusel topping:
40 g (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon water

To make the dough:
Combine flour, starch, and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and use a hand held mixer to form into a dough. Form a ball, wrap in plastic and transfer to the fridge, cool for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

To make the filling:
Combine Kirschwasser, marzipan and sugar. Mix with a hand held blender or a food processor into a smooth purée.

Carefully roll the dough into a log (35×30 cm or 13.8 x 11.8 inches). This works best if you place it between two layers of plastic wrap. Spread the marzipan mass on top, leaving a little margin on all sides. Sprinkle with raisins and almonds. Now roll the dough into a log very carefully and slowly. Cut into 10 pieces. Place on a baking sheet with  a cut side up.

To make the streusel topping:
Combine all ingredients and form crumbs. Sprinke on top of the bobbes and press them into the dough gently. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool completely before serving. These freeze well! Place them on your toaster to thaw them.

37 thoughts on “Bobbes {Shortcrust Pastry with Nuts & Raisins}

  1. I just saw these for the first time in a bakery in Düsseldorf and I had never seen them before so I was curious as to how they were made. I found them quite heavy, to be honest, but your recipe seems possible to make a little lighter than I bought downtown. I have to admit they weren’t at all what I was expecting when I saw them in the bakery. I thought they were more along the lines of a scone… yeah, no. I’ll be trying to improve upon the heavy pastry I tasted. Any tips to keep it from being quite so heavy?

    1. They are supposed to be heavy. That’s what’s makes them special. They are definitely not like a scone and since they are made with a huge amount of shortbread, it’s not really possible to lighten them up. I mean you can, but they wouldn’t be bobbes anymore:)

  2. Ich glaub’s ja nicht, Bobbes!
    Das war nämlich so: Als ich ein Kind war, da gab es diese Vollkornbäckerei, bei der meine Eltern ziemlich regelmässig ihr Brot kauften. Und im Wechsel mit einer anderen (normalen Weißbrötchen-) Bäckerei Samstags Morgens die Brötchen für’s Frühstück. Fanden wir immer doof. Vollkornbrötchen. (Dabei waren dies die besten Vollkornbrötchen, die man sich vorstellen könnte, locker und fluffig und einfach gut. Mein Favorit die Haferbrötchen.) Aber zurück zu den Bobbes. Die gab es da nämlich und manchmal eben auch für mich. Leckerleckerlecker!
    Und was dann passierte mit Moes.. die haben zugemacht. Da war ich so in der Mittelstufe. Erst hatten sie nur noch einmal im Monat auf und nur auf Bestellung Brot und Brötchen. Und dann halt ganz zu. Kannst ja mal raten, wer auf einmal die Vollkornbrötchen gut fand und vermisste..
    Danke also für dieses Rezept! Und viele Grüße aus dem leider nicht sehr herbstlichen Florida : )

  3. These sound so cool! I, too, always love learning about inventive baked goods I’ve never seen or imagined before. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a good reminder that drop cookies and and cupcakes aren’t the only options out there. :)

  4. I didn’t realise you’d lived in Göttingen- I went to school there for a couple of months when I was 15! I don’t remember seeing these there, but then again I think I spent most of my time eating ice cream (even in mid-winter!).

    1. Ice cream was the best in Göttingen. Did you go to that parlour where they had these huge portions? I miss that!

  5. Could this dessert get any better?! I said I loved pastry on your apple cake post and marzipan is another of my favourite sweet things! I even have some marzipan waiting to be used…I’ll let you know when I make this in the Autumn :)

  6. These sound like my perfect cookie (pastry?), dough rolled up with marzipan? I can’t even! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge, there’s so much I don’t know about German baking.

  7. your posts are getting more and more intriguing. thanks for the wonderful explanation about the pastries. love the look and texture of these.

  8. wie geil :-) ich selber kannte die dinger auch lange nicht, aber ich weiß da jemanden, der stirbt für bobbes! ich denke, die werde ich ganz bald nachbacken (müssen).
    liebe grüße!

  9. They sound ridiculously delicious! Heavy shortcrust treats filled with almondy goodness and Kirschwasser…yumza! I want to add some dried blueberries too, just because I love them. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  10. I love the sound of these — the texture and appearance are definite pluses. I think they would be challenging enough to make vegan so I don’t think I’d dare to make them gluten-free. Maybe someone else will try. :)

  11. Ok, obwohl ich aus dem Norden stamme (Wob/BS), hab ich noch nie von dem Gebaeck gehoert! :o Es klingt aber lecker und ich werde es definitiv demnaechst mal nachbacken, danke! =)

    LG aus Pennsylvania,

    1. Ich komme auch aus dem Norden (bei Bremen) und da gibt es die auch nicht. Sie heißen auch Berliner Bobbes, aber in Berlin habe ich noch nie nach ihnen geschaut. Vielleicht haben sich ja ein paar findige Bäcker_innen das Rezept ausgedacht…

  12. I’ve never heard of a shortcrust pastry like these, but they sound and look so intriguing! Too bad they’re such a regional specialty and hard to find unless you make them.

    1. That is true! But except for bread I can’t buy much in a bakery anyway. I am glad I finally have my own version.

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