How to Make Lebkuchen
In German, lebkuchen literally means 'cake of life'. It is somewhat similar to gingerbread, and is a specialty of Nuremberg in West Germany -- where the gingerbread house of Hansel and Gretel fame is known as a lebkuchen house. Lebkuchen is traditionally baked in Germany at Christmas.
Lebkuchen will keep for 6-8 weeks in an airtight tin.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Oven temperature: 350° F (180° C)
You will need
- 2 inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 ounces (125 g) blanched almonds, finely chopped
- 2 ounces (60 g) candied lemon peel, finely diced, or 2 ounces (60 g) chopped mixed peel
- Grated rind of ½ lemon
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup caster sugar
- A few drops vanilla essence
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose (plain) flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Rice paper
- ½ egg white
- ½ cup icing sugar, sifted
- A few drops white rum, or fruit liqueur
How to make Lebkuchen
- Using a pestle and mortar, or an electric coffee grinder, grind the cinnamon, cloves, and the black seeds from the cardamom pods until fine. Turn the powder into a bowl and stir in the ground nutmeg, almonds, candied peel and lemon rind.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar until foamy and the beater leaves a trail across the surface of the mixture.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder, and fold it into the egg mixture with the vanilla essence and the spice mixture.
- Place a sheet of rice paper on each of 3 baking trays. Space level tablespoons of the mixture, 8 to a tray, on the rice paper. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes. Remove the lebkuchen to a wire rack and break away the surplus rice paper, leaving a disc under each biscuit.
- Lightly beat the egg white. Mix in the sifted icing sugar, stirring until smooth, and flavor with the rum or liqueur. Brush the icing over the lebkuchen. Leave in a warm place to dry.
As a variation, some of the lebkuchen can be coated with melted chocolate.
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