“Do you know was Prasselkuchen is?” Erich Kästner asks in his memoir When I Was a Little Boy in which he describes his childhood in Dresden. “No? Poor you!” Even after living here for ten years I mostly feel like a stranger when I walk through this town. I am still not very familiar with the capital of Saxony. I admire people who know this place so well, every inch of town, who always know how to get somewhere, who can tell you the city’s history and how it looked like twenty or even forty years ago. Exactly like Kästner who was born here in 1899 and who tells us about growing up in a poor family here in my neighbourhood Dresden Neustadt from 1907 to the beginning of World War One.
I, on the other hand, am one of those “poor you!” people. I did not know Prasselkuchen until last week when I read those Kästner sentences. And is right to pity us for not knowing about Prasselkuchen because this dessert is probably the most amazing thing in the world. Somebody came up with the idea to put a generous amount of jam and streusel on a sheet of puff pastry. So simple, delicious and comforting that it won’t get any better. Well, when I looked through my cookbooks for a Prasselkuchen recipe I found something even better: Prasselkuchentorte. Four layers of Prasselkuchen with more layers of jam and whipped cream between them. I showed the picture to F. and she decided we should make exactly that cake. Especially since she loves streusel.
So we prepared the cake together. F is small, so we decided to make four small cakes. F was responsible for the streusel topping, because she makes the best streusel toppings in the world:
And yes, these cakes look pretty but it is difficult to eat them. We just took one apart and shared it. Yeah, I know. Food blogs lie. But how does it say on the package? Serving suggestion. If you don’t like our cake tower you could go for these varieties:
1. Just bake the cakes, top them with jam, and serve them with the filling on the side.
2. Spread the jam on the puff pastry before baking and top with streusel. Bake.
3. Make a cake tower like I did, but use only two layers.
4. Do whatever you want, but eat this cake.
4 small and tall cakes
Recipe adapted from: Dr. Oetker 1000. Die besten Backrezepte. Dr. Oetker Verlag 2008, p. 292
For the filling:
200 g (7 oz.) raw cashews
200 ml (3/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons) almond cream
50 g (1/2 cup, sifted) vanilla sugar*
120 ml (1/2 cup) water
1/2 teaspoon locust bean gum
For the cake and the streusel topping:
275 g (9.7 oz) puff pastry
225 g flour (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
75 g (3/4 cup, sifted vanilla sugar*
110 g (1/2 cup) soft refined coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons soy milk
4 tablespoons jam (blackcurrant or blueberry)
Powdered sugar for dusting
*For the vanilla sugar I used this recipe. You can use regular powdered sugar plus 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead.
Prepare the filling first: Combine cashews, almond cream, and sugar in a blender and process until smooth.
Add water to a small pot and stir in gum. Heat and boil until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour into cashew mixture and process until smooth. Place in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the streusel by combining flour, sugar, coconut oil, and salt. Mix with your hands until crumbs form.
Puff pastry probably comes in lots of different shapes. Mine was a large rectangle, which I folded into a smaller one and then rolled it into a 22 x 22 cm (8.7 inch x 8.7 inch) square. No matter how your puff pastry looks, you should shape and roll it into this square, then divide it into four smaller squares and roll them out to 22 cm again. Cut out four circles from each puff pastry square (10 cm or 3.9 inch in diameter.) and place them on the baking sheets.
Brush with milk and sprinkle streusel on top. Press lightly into the puff pastry and bake each sheet for 12-14 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown. Let cool.
Heat the jam and thinly spread it on all cakes except for four. Those will be your tops. Spread the cashew filling over the jam and then layer three of these cakes over each other and top with one of the reserved cakes. Dust with powdered sugar.