Posts Tagged ‘Hanneke Bauer Mysteries’

Kuchen

April 12, 2022

In the first chapter of Lies of Omission, protagonist Hanneke Bauer parts company with a traveling companion when their ship docks in Milwaukee. Her friend says, You must promise to accompany your husband if he brings crops to sell in the city. We’ll have coffee and kuchen while you tell me all about the farm.

Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) is a German tradition of long standing. The term suggests not just tasty food, but conversation and camaraderie as well.

There are, of course, many kinds of German cake. The first kuchen I learned to make called for a slightly-sweet yeasted dough with fresh fruit on top, formed in a skillet and baked in an antique cookstove.

Chopping rhubarb for kuchen at the Schottler house, Old World Wisconsin, 1981.

I recently baked a kuchen in Hanneke’s honor, using peaches and raspberries I had in the freezer.

I don’t have a copy of the recipe I used way back when, so I turned to the cookbook pictured below, compiled by the Pommerscher Verein Friestadt of Mequon, WI. (The Pomeranian Society of Friestadt is dedicated to preserving Pomeranian culture and history.)

Happily, I’m able to share the recipe with you!

Apple or Raspberry Kuchen

1/2 c. shortening
1-1/4 c. flour
1 T. sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
2 T. milk
3-4 cups of apples or raspberries
For Streusel: 1 c. sugar, 2 T. flour, 1 T butter, a little cinnamon (omit if using raspberries)
1/4 c. cream or evaporated milk

Mix the first five ingredients like pie crust, then add the beaten egg and milk. Pat in pan. Spread apples or raspberries over crust and spread streusel over the fruit.

Bake 375 for 30 to 45 minutes or until crust is light brown. About 10 minutes before it is done, pour the cream or evaporated milk over the top.

(Note: I omitted the cream and went very easy on the streusel.)

In Lies of Omission, Hanneke is offered a piece of kuchen at a very low moment:

Hanneke accepted it gratefully. Kuchen. She broke off a chunk, careful to catch the crumbs, and popped it into her mouth. The pastry was light with wheat flour, topped with crunchy crystals of sugar that perfectly complemented the tart goodness of diced rhubarb. She was poised to gobble the slice whole, but at the last moment she paused, broke what was left in two, and handed half back. “Why don’t we share.”

If you bake and perhaps share a kuchen, I hope the experience is equally satisfying!

Happy November

November 6, 2021

My newsletter is out! Click HERE to get the latest updates.

The top item is about the virtual launch party for the first book in my Hanneke Bauer mystery series. You can also go directly to the pre-registration page. Hope to see you there!

Mr. Ernst and I wish you and yours a peaceful Thanksgiving.

My New Mystery Series!

August 14, 2020

I am excited to announce my new historical series, The Hanneke Bauer Mysteries! I have signed a three-book contract with Level Best Books.

This project has been in the works for a long time.

Twelve years ago, I completed the manuscript of the first Chloe Ellefson Mystery, Old World Murder. While my agent shopped for a publisher, I began writing a historical mystery.

I was halfway through that manuscript when Old World Murder sold. For the next decade I kept busy writing the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries, children’s books for American Girl, and one nonfiction book for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

When my former publisher announced they were closing, and I had time to catch my breath, I decided to finish the half-written historical. In June, I submitted the complete manuscript to Level Best Books. The editor who read my submission made an offer—and asked for two more books featuring the same main character.

The press is owned and operated by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Verena Rose, and Harriette Sackler. These three dynamos have aided the mystery community in many ways, including serving on the board of Malice Domestic, an annual fan convention that celebrates the traditional mystery. I’ve attended Malice many times, and seen these women in action.

Equally appealing, Level Best Books’ Historia imprint is devoted entirely to historical mysteries! I’m thrilled to be working with an editor who loves history as much as I do.

The first Hanneke Bauer book, which is set in Wisconsin, will be published in November, 2021. The book’s time period and theme intrigue me, and I think they may intrigue you as well! I’ll share more insights a little later.  

Photo by Kay Klubertanz

I want to assure readers that launching the Hanneke Bauer Mysteries does not mean I’m ending the Chloe Ellefson series. In fact, I’ve already chosen a location for the Chloe 12.

So, settle in! There are all kinds of reading adventures on the horizon.