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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.