A real taste of home on a chilly weekend:
Until a year ago, Denningers (our lovely little German grocery store outside of Toronto) carried frozen Maultaschen. Although not the most delicious of Maultaschen, they were convenient and something we bought on a monthly basis. Everyone enjoyed this little taste of home. And then one day I went in and the Maultaschen were no more: the manufacturer was no longer producing them . . . period. I called everywhere to see if I could find someone that makes the Maultaschen but to no avail.
A year later and Family Day weekend was upon us. What to do? As a family we decided to make these simple raviolis with a few key ingredients that are so easy to find and used a recipe from lecker.de : Schwaebische Maultaschen selber machen.
So here it goes. It is super easy although it does take time.
You will need the following:
250g (2 1/4 cups) flour, 3 eggs + 1 egg white (Gr. M), 1 onion, 1 tbsp butter, 100g (3/4 cup) frozen spinach, 1/2 bundle parsley, 100g (4 oz.) ground pork, 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs, salt, pepper (to taste), nutmeg (to taste), 3/4L (3 1/4 cups) bouillon (I love ‘Better than Bouillon’), and flour to work with.
Step 1: Mix together flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 3-4 tbsp cold water. Mix with the dough hooks on a hand mixer OR mix by hand with a Danish dough whisk.
Step 2: Knead the dough with your hands until smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 1/2 hour.
Step 3: Dice onion and sauté in butter for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add spinach, letting it thaw in the pan. When thawed, drain excess water from mixture.
Step 4: Chop parsley, adding half to the spinach and saving the other half for later. Now mix together the onion, spinach, and parsley mixture to the ground pork along with the bread crumbs, 1 egg, a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place to the side.
Step 5: Remove the dough from the plastic wrap, flour the surface (wood board or marble countertop both work equally well). Roll out the dough as thin as possible in a square (approximately 40cm or 15 inches square).
Step 6: Use a knife to make 25 squares that are 4cm x 4cm (1 1/2 inches square) OR use a cookie cutter to cut out different shapes that would be good for these little ravioli. We used a heart and a star and both worked nicely.
Step 7: On half of the squares’ (or other shape) dough, place a teaspoon of the spinach and meat filling. Once the meat has been placed onto the dough, brush egg white onto the edges of each ravioli piece. You can fold the pieces over OR place another dough piece on it. This is up to you and the size of the Maultaschen you would like to have.
Step 8: Press the edges of the ravioli together. Remember the ravioli needs to keep the meat inside while it is boiling.
Step 9: Bring to a boil 2 to 3 litres of water, and add in either salt or bouillon to your liking. When the water is boiling, slowly add in the Maultaschen. As with other ravioli and gnocchi, it will take about 10 to 15 minutes for them to cook through. I use the rule of thumb that if they are floating for about 3 minutes, then they are ready to be taken out. Place the Maultaschen on a serving plate and keep warm. We covered them in foil and placed in the oven on low as we made a double batch.
Step 10: In a separate pot, bring to a boil 3/4 litre of water adding some bouillon. Once boiled, transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls and add in the Maultaschen along with the remainder of the parsley.
Step 11: Guten Appetit!
Now if you choose to the double recipe, one way to enjoy the Maultaschen is to freeze them and use another Sunday afternoon (or during the week…whenever). You can also use them the next day after slicing them into thin strips and and frying them with some onions and eggs. And we did have some of the filling (spinach and pork) leftover and made some fantastic mini-meatballs that we served with some Acorn Squash and Parmesan. Sorry, but there are no photos…the kids gobbled it up too fast.
A note about pork. Of course, pork is traditionally used in many German recipes. You can use another meat if you prefer not to eat pork. You can also add spices as you like…make it your own and try things out. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself!