The German Baumstreizel – a Christkindlmarkt Fave – Becomes the Crème Horn in the USA

Baumstriezelei.jpg

 

If you’re lucky enough to go to one of the great Christkindlmarkts in Germany this Christmas season, you’ll see a host of sweet treats.   One of them that you might see is the Baumstreizel.    It’s a flaky, yeasty, egg washed pastry, that’s made into a thin pastry ribbon which is then wrapped around a conical form and grilled over special charcoal grill spits rotisserie-style.    The caramelized sugar on the surface creates a sweet, crisp crust. Once cooked to crispy perfection, it can be dusted with more powdered or granulated sugar, or even dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with nuts.

It’s called a Baumstreizel because it looks like a tree (baum in German) when it’s stood up.

A Baumstreizel rotisserie and food tent at a German Christkindlmarkt

 

What’s cool about the Baumstreizel is that it becomes a hollow vessel for whatever you want to put fill it with – whipped cream, jam, chocolate sauce, marshmallow cream – wherever your imagination can take you.   It’s kind of like a German version of the s’more if you think about it.  We don’t typically see all this variety in the American version, but we should.   One German site touts 1000 ideas for finishing Baumstreizel.

 

I’m big into food family trees.     As both a genealogist and a food historian I think the family tree is a great tool to trace origins of specific foods and their similar food relatives.      With the Baumstreizel, it seems to descend from a huge family of conically-wound and grilled bread products, called generically the spit cake.   And each region of Europe seems to have their own version and nicknames for them.   It’s a traditional pastry in Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, and may have originated in the East before coming to Germany.       Some food historians think that they go back to spit roasted cakes made in ancient Greece starting around 400 B.C., for feasts for the god of wine, Dionysius.

Kürtősh_Kalách_family.jpg.

The Baumstreizel or Crème Horn Family Tree.

 

In Austria, they’re also nicknamed Schillerlocken after the golden locks of blonde Hair of German poet Friedrich Schiller. They’re also called schaumrolle or cream roll, after the filling.

 

The ingenious fest food has travelled to the U.S. with German bakers.   In Cincinnati, it can be seen as the crème horn at some of the legacy bakeries in town.   St. Lawerence Bakery in Price Hill has them. Bernhardt’s in Newport fills theirs with whipped cream, while Regina Bakery fills them with meringue.   Graeter’s Crème Horns are only available Tuesday and Friday.   Bonomoni in Northside has a wonderfully crispy version.

 

Cincideutsch Christkindmarkt planners take note – maybe the Baumstreizel is something, along with Krampus, that you can bring to next year’s event to educate Cincy on another fun German custom.

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