Leipziger Lerchen {Mini Marzipan Pies}

Leipziger Lerchen

Classic German DessertsThis is the new version of a dessert I posted on this blog years ago. It’s a pastry I got to know (and very likely addicted to) when I lived in Leipzig, Saxony. Lerche means lark and originally this recipe wasn’t a dessert. Yep, people used to kill larks and stuff them into a shortbread crust to eat them. Eventually the king banned the lark hunt and a baker invented a dessert version, made from a shortbread crust and filled with nuts and jam. Many bakeries in Leipzig still produce this traditional dessert and it is a popular gift.Leipziger Lerchen

The combination of some kind of shortbread and a marzipan topping or filling is very typical for a lot of German desserts. They are usually small and rich and, if stored correctly, they keep for a couple of days. The marzipan filling contains egg whites for leavening and stabilisation. When I made these the first time, I came up with a complicated egg white substitute. After several years of vegan baking I learned that this is not necessary at all. Usually the sugar in the marzipan does this work, too.

 Leipziger Lerchen (makes six muffin sized pastries)

(adapted from this recipe)

100 g ( 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
40 g (3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon) evaporated cane juice or regular sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
40 g ( 3 tablespoons) refined coconut oil, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water, or more

35 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) refined coconut oil, room temperature
120 g (4.2 oz) marzipan, chopped
1 pinch salt
4 tablespoons soy milk (or water)
1 tablespoon Kirschwasser (rum or soy milk work, too)
30 g (1/4 cup) flour
6 teaspoons apricot jam

To make the dough:
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add coconut oil and water. Use a hand-held mixer to knead the dough. Add more water, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Grease six holes of a muffin tin an set aside. Between two layers of plastic foil, carefully roll out the dough. Cut out 6 circles (about 10 cm/4 inch). Press into the muffin tins and trim the edges. Reserve the leftover dough.

To make the filling:
Combine oil, marzipan, salt, milk, and Kirschwasser in a bowl. Beat with a hand-held blender until smooth. Add flour and beat until combined.

Place a teaspoon of jam in each each pastry and thinly spread it across the bottom. (Make sure it’s not a heaping teaspoon. If there’s too much jam, it might raise to the top and explode all over the pastry.) Top with filling. Roll out the leftover dough and cut into stripes. Place two stripes on top of each pie, forming a cross. Pinch the edges. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely before removing the pies from the pan. (Use a knife to loosen the crust.)

33 thoughts on “Leipziger Lerchen {Mini Marzipan Pies}

  1. Beautiful as always! I love anything with marzipan. I used to eat marzipan on warm brochen and eat that for a snack. Not the healthiest, but so yummy.

  2. The only marzipan easily available here is one that is sold in a box for rolling out to put on cakes, but I am never sure if it is the same marzipan that is called for in these sorts of recipes?

  3. beautiful. i expect nothing less from you now. You have my full attention, every time I open one of your posts. I love how you managed to create such atmosphere in one photo!

    These remind me somewhat of a British Bakewell tart.

    keep them coming!!

  4. hey – was soll denn das?
    ein bomben-gebäck-rezept nach dem nächsten….
    so schnell kommt man ja mit nachbacken und wegfuttern gar nicht hinterher :-(

    1. So ist das halt beim Vegan Month of Food. L
      Keine Sorge, das wird ab Oktober wieder anders. Und beim Wegfuttern könnte ich mittlerweile wirklich Hilfe gebrauchen.

      1. sie sind total fruchtbar geworden…. furchtbar guuuut!
        hoffentlich ist schnell oktober – sonst werde ich bald nicht mehr in meine klamotten passen :-(

  5. Marzipan pies sound like little bites of heaven!!! I feel like reaching into the screen and picking up one of those beauties for myself! :)

    Larks in pies? People were really crazy, huh? Reading that, I had a sudden flashback of that nursery rhyme that goes “four and twenty black birds baked in a pie”. I always found that to be so cruel, even though I enjoyed singing the song.

  6. Yum, das sieht lecker aus! Ich hab von den Teilen noch nie gehoert, obwohl ich 1-2x in Leipzig zu Besuch war! Da werd ich’s wohl einfach mal selbst nachbacken muessen, hm? Kommt ebenfalls auf meine ‘to-do’ Liste von all Deinen leckeren Rezepten! ;)

    Danke und noch einen schoenen Sonntag! :)

    LG aus PA

    1. Die gibt es mit Vorliebe in so Touri-Bäckereien. Aber wenn ich nicht ein paar Jahre in Leipzig gelebt hätte, wären sie mir wohl auch nicht aufgefallen.

  7. Oh Mihl, you’re killing me! These sound and look like heaven on earth. I think I could make these, they don’t seem too complicated and I even have some kirschwasser in my cupboard (I bet I bought it for another one of your recipes!)

  8. What a beautifull photo! I need to try your recipes. But for now I’m just happy using your blog to learn a little more german, to thank you for that :)

  9. YAY. this goes on my must-try-list (but it’s already full of your recipes as it is now). When I was in Leipzig I was always so sad I couldn’t try them.

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