Merry Christmas to all my dear Friends, Readers and Bloggers. Lets celebrate the holidays with Bienenstich Kuchen, also known as the German Bee Sting Cake. Bienenstich is not really a bread but a traditional German sweet yeasted cake that has a baked on topping of crunchy almond toffee-like layer and filled with a vanilla pastry cream. Bienenstich is traditionally eaten as dessert and also served with tea or coffee and probably got its name from the honey flavoured topping. Thanks Aparna Balasubramanian for adding me in this wonderful group (We Knead to Bake), I was longing for it and here is my first post 🙂
For the Pastry Cream Filling
Whole/2% or 1% Reduced Fat Milk – 1 n 1/4 Cups
Heavy/Whipping Cream – 200ml
For the Dough
Milk – 1/4 cup
Unsated Butter – 100gm (Almost 8 Tbsp) , at room temperature
All Purpose Flour/Maida – 2 Cups
Sugar – 2 Tbsp
Active Dry Instant Yeast – 1n1/4tsp
Egg – 1 Number
Salt – 3/4tsp
For the Honey-Almond Topping
Butter – 50 gms (4 Tbsp)
Sugar – 1/3 Cup
Honey – 2 Tbsp
Vanilla Extract – 1tsp
* Sliced Almonds – 2/3 Cup
I used store bought version, to make it at home, Blanch almonds by dropping them in just boiled hot water (that has just been taken off from heat). Let them sit in the water for about 5 minutes. Then drain the water off and rinse once in cold water. Strain well. The skins of the almonds should feel a little loose and look wrinkled now. Pinch each almond at the broad end with thumb and forefinger and the skin should slip off easily. Let the almonds dry out on a kitchen towel in an airy place for about half an hour. Then using a sharp knife, slice as thinly as you can.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract add at later stage) to a boil over medium heat.
- Meanwhile in another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (Pic 1).
- Add the cornstarch/custard powder and whisk vigorously until no lumps (Pic 2).
- Now add 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture until incorporated (Pic 3).
- Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture now.
- Strain n pour the mixture back into the same saucepan (Pic 4).
- Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling (Pic 5).
- Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract at this time.
- Allow to cool slightly by whisking in regular intervals after removing from heat too.
- Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming on top.
- Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve and whisk it before filling the pastry.
- Once you are ready to fill the Bienenstich, whip 200ml of cream till soft peaks form.
- Then add the 1 Tbsp Corn Starch and whip till it forms stiff peaks.
- Whisk the custard to make sure it is smooth.
- Gently fold the cream into the custard mixture (In stepwise picture 9 below).
- If you feel it is too soft, refrigerate for a couple of hours and then use.
How to prepare the dough
- To make the dough, heat the milk until it is quite hot but not boiling.
- Cut the butter into pieces and add to the milk, stirring it until the better melts completely.
- Let it cool a little, In the meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, salt and the yeast in the wide bowl.
- Mix well (You can use food processor) and then add the egg (Pic 1).
- Knead again till the egg has also mixed well.
- Now add the butter-milk mixture (it should be warm, not hot, Pic 2)) and the then knead till it forms a smooth and soft (loose) brioche-like dough that’s just short of sticky.
- It should come way from the sides of the bowl and be easy to handle.
- Shape the dough into a ball (Pic 3) and place it in a bowl.
- Cover loosely and let it rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- This dough will rise quite well (Pic 4) but not to double or as much as your regular bread dough.
- Deflate the dough, and shape again to a smooth ball.
- Place it in a 8” glass bowl/spring form cake tin lined bottom and sides with parchment paper (Pic 5).
- It is important to do this otherwise the topping will make the bread/ cake sticky and difficult to unmould.
- So if you grease the bowl with parchment, its easy to lift it up…
- Flatten the dough a little, pressing down lightly so that the dough fits the cake tin (Pic 5).
- It doesn’t matter if its not touching the sides like batter does. Let it rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.
- It will not rise very much and look a little puffy.
- Prepare the topping while the dough rises.
- Melt the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla in a small pan, over medium heat.
- Keep stirring frequently and it will start bubbling up.
- Let it cook for about 3 minutes or so until it turns to a light beige colour.
- Add the sliced almonds(Pic 6), and stir well till the almonds are well coated.
- Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit, the mixture will become quite thick.
- Now get ready to bake the bread/ cake.
- Once the dough has risen, use a spoon take bits if the topping (it will be quite thick, like a sticky fudge) and distribute it uniformly over the surface(Pic 7). If there are small gaps they will get covered once the bread/ cake is baking.
- Bake at 350° F for about 25 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling (Pic 8).
- A cake tester through the centre should come out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.
- Then gently lift the parchment paper and allow to cool completely on a rack.
- When it has cooled completely, slice the cake into two equal layers carefully, using a very sharp knife (Pic 10).
- Spread the pastry cream on the lower layer and top with the upper layer and refrigerate till ready to serve.
- Since the upper layer has almond topping it weighs much so make sure the filling is very thick to hold the shape.
- By the time i sliced the cake sun light had gone so i didn’t take sliced cake pictures.