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What's Easter without schaum torte?
What's Easter without schaum torte?

Easter recipe: Classic schaum torte with strawberries

Unless you're from Wisconsin, you may never have heard of schaum torte (foam cake), a favorite among German immigrant families. You may have heard of this dessert called simply "a meringue," "pavlova" or even a "bizet." Essentially all of the desserts are one in the same – meringue, filled with sweetened whipped cream, and topped with fruit.

Like pavlova, there are two schools of thought when it comes to schaum torte – one side insists that the meringue be crisp on the outside, but squoodgy (marshmallowy) in the center; the other camp insists that a good schaum torte is dried and crisp throughout.

My family staunchly swears by the first approach. In fact, I actually grew up utterly convinced that the women at church who made the crisp version were simply bad cooks who had made the mistake of baking their schaum tortes too long!

My grandmother made schaum torte every year for Easter while I was growing up. Hers was always baked in a springform pan, flavored with both vanilla and almond extract, and topped with sliced strawberries (often those she picked and froze from her own garden). And it was always topped with freshly whipped cream.

This recipe is a nod to Grandma, and a celebration of all that is good about spring.

Classic Schaum Torte with Strawberries
Serves: 12-14

9 eggs at room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1-2 tablespoons butter for greasing the pan
2 pounds strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Generously butter a 10 inch springform pan. Set aside.

Separate eggs, reserving yolks for another purpose. Place egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5-8 minutes, or until volume has tripled and whites are very stiff. With motor running, gradually add sugar in a constant stream. Once sugar is incorporated, add lemon juice, flavorings, and baking powder. Continue to beat for an a…

Roasted cauliflower with rosemary browned butter and lemon.
Roasted cauliflower with rosemary browned butter and lemon.

Easter recipe: Roasted cauliflower with rosemary browned butter and lemon

I think it's a shame that side dishes are so often overlooked at the holiday table. We spend all of our time obsessing over perfecting our roasted turkey, getting the perfect crust on our rib roast or stunning our guests with the most tender and flavorful ham. Meanwhile, we settle for the same old sides – mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and blah heat-and-serve dinner rolls.

The perception is that truly great side dishes take a wealth of time. But, the fact of the matter is, many of the most delicious dishes require only a few high-quality ingredients and just minutes of preparation time. Take, for instance, this stunning roasted cauliflower dish.

Roasting isn't usually the first cooking method you'd think of for cauliflower, but the delicious results make it worth remembering. There is something magical that happens when cauliflower is tossed with oil and roasted in high dry heat. Its sugars caramelize and a deep browning occurs that results in a deliciously nutty flavor.

Paired with the woodsy aroma of fresh rosemary, the nuttiness of browned butter, and the pleasing acidity of fresh lemon juice, this simple side dish will be the star of your Easter table.

Roasted Cauliflower with Rosemary Browned Butter and Lemon
Serves 6-8

2 medium heads cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide florets (8 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
Juice and zest of one lemon
Salt, to taste

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with oil. Spread in one layer in a large shallow baking pan and roast, stirring and turning over occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.

As the cauliflower finishes roasting, melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. When foam subsides, watch closely and stir often. When the white milk solids have turned brown and the butter smells toasty, turn off heat, add chopped rosemary, …

Baked orange dream French toast.  Mmmm.
Baked orange dream French toast. Mmmm.

Easter recipes: Baked orange dream French toast

We all dream of waking up on a sunshiney, springtime Sunday morning to the smell of coffee and breakfast baking in the oven.  But, very few of us ever seem to have that sort of experience.

Rather, we find ourselves jarred from sleep (far too early) by the alarm clock, our hungry (and impatient) children, or our demanding pets.  We stumble out of bed, bleary-eyed and disgruntled, fumble for our glasses and head down the stairs to hit the morning grindstone

But, Easter morning doesn’t have to be all work and no play.

This recipe makes it easy to have your lazy Sunday brunch and eat it too. Whether you want something you can quickly and easily pop into the oven for your family when you come home from church on Easter Sunday or a delicious springtime dish to serve to company, this delicious take on baked French toast is sure to brighten your Easter morning. 

Baked Orange Dream French Toast
Serves 6

1-2 tablespoons butter
12 slices day-old French bread
2 15-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
12 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup
powdered sugar

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Arrange bread in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with cream cheese cubes and mandarin orange slices.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy.  Add milk, salt, vanilla, and syrup and continue whisking until well combined.  Pour over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate the pan of French toast overnight.  

When you are ready to bake the French toast, place the pan into a cold oven, set to 350 degrees F.  Bake, covered for 40 minutes.  Uncover, and continue baking until lightly browned and set, about 35-40 more minutes.

Sprinkle baked French toast with powdered sugar, and serve with maple syrup.

This week, March 26-30, presents five Easter recipes in our Dining section. You'll have the opportunity, via this contest and courtesy of Roundy's, to win the in…

Spiral sliced Easter ham with pineapple rum chutney.
Spiral sliced Easter ham with pineapple rum chutney.

Easter recipe: No-fuss spiral sliced ham with pineapple rum chutney

Ham is classic Easter fare, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. This recipe is an inventive twist on the classic ham with pineapple that your guests will adore. And you'll love the ease with which it comes together.

Spiral sliced ham is a boon for anyone throwing a large Easter gathering. Not only is every slice the same thickness but, if cooked properly, the ham will be tender and juicy and require nothing more than a horizontal cut to the bone before serving.

The trouble with spiral sliced hams is that, because they're precooked, it's easy to dry them out during reheating. This recipe makes use of the slow cooker, which ensures a moist, tender ham while freeing up your oven for all those delicious Easter side dishes.

Even better, you'll impress your guests when you serve up slices of moist, hot ham topped off with a delicious sweet and sour pineapple chutney. In the chutney, which can be made two days ahead, lime juice stands in for the usual vinegar, imparting a fruity tang that's complimented by the subtle flavors of rum and allspice and the savory herbal notes of thyme.

This recipe is based on the use of a spiral sliced half ham. Be sure to buy a ham that fits in your slow cooker. An oblong 6 ½-quart model is ideal for an average sized half ham.

No Fuss Spiral Sliced Ham with Pineapple Rum Chutney

Spiral sliced half ham

Place the ham into your slow cooker. Add ½ cup or more of water to cover the bottom of the cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-8 hours, until ham is heated through. An 8-9 pound ham will take approximately 5 hours in an average slow cooker.

Serve with pineapple chutney (recipe follows)

Pineapple Chutney

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup white rum
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme