Osterchueche mit Weggli
There are many versions of this popular Swiss Easter cake (also called Osterfladen) filled with everything from rice to millet.
This version is filled with bread.
According to the Kulinarisches Erbe, it's possible that some form of Easter cake existed as far back as 962, but it's hard to know how close that cake is to the one eaten today. The first published recipes come from the 16th century—at this time a cake similar to Osterfladen was described, but not linked to Easter, and Easter cakes were mentioned, but not their exact ingredients.
Different fillings abound historically and contemporarily, so the crust could be laden with bread or buns, semolina, millet or rice, with raisins and ground nuts thrown in for good measure.
Flavourings are in the cinnamon/nutmeg realm of spices, with some recipes, like the version from the Bernerisches Koch-Büchlein from 1749, using rosewater and wine to flavour the cake.
Today the cake is found in the weeks before Easter in most Swiss bakeries, and the filling tends toward rice or semolina (my recipe for a semolina version here).
However, the idea of a bread pudding-like filling, plus the added bonus of using up leftover bread, made me keen to try this version that uses Weggli (petits pains au lait/panini al latte/little Swiss milk buns), as its innards.
For the pastry:
200 g flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
the zest of half a lemon
100 g cold butter
For the filling:
4 Weggli, (or about 250 g soft white bread)
2 tbsp butter
250 ml milk
the zest and juice of half a lemon
100 g sugar
100 g ground almonds
100 ml sour cream
100 g raisins
icing sugar, to decorate
First make the pastry.
Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and lemon zest, then add the cold butter and rub it into the flour carefully with your hands.
Whisk the egg, then add it to the flour and butter mixture, mixing gently until it all comes together. Gather the dough into a mass, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas mark 4.
Roll out your dough and line a 26 cm (10 inch) round tart pan. Poke the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Keep the tart shell cold, preferably in the freezer, until you have the filling ready.
Now, make the filling.
Cut the bread in to small cubes.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter and when it is bubbling add the bread and fry it for a couple of minutes, until the bread has turned slightly golden. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot, warm the milk until boiling. Pour this over the bread then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, ground almonds, sour cream, and raisins, and mix well. Leave this to cool for about 10 minutes.
Separate the eggs. Whisk together the yolks and set aside. Using a separate, clean bowl and whisk or mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
Once the bread mixture has cooled, mix in the yolks, then gently fold in the whites.
Gently spread this filling over the pastry base.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the bottom is baked through.
Let the tart cool and then decorate with icing sugar. You can dust the whole top, or make a template out of wax or parchment paper.
Pre-soak your raisins in booze or tea for maximum flavour.
One way to make a template is to trace cookie cutters.