By Franz Scheurer
Every Christmas I go through the old Swiss cookbooks and the notes my grandmother left me, to find a Christmas cake or sweet, to post for the subscribers of the Australian Gourmet Pages. This year’s recipe, ‘Zimtfladen’ (lit: cinnamon flat) is very old and rarely made these days. Thought to originate from the Emmenthal you can still find it around Christmas in some of the more remote villages from Burgdorf to the Truebschache.
To make the dough:
250g stone-ground flour
125g unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
1/8 lt water
100g raw sugar
2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon (use a mortar and pestle or a spice mill)
50g unsalted butter
Pre-heat oven to 180C (fan-forced) 220C (standard)
To make the dough:
Sift flour onto a cool work surface. Top with the butter cut into tiny pieces. Using your hands, rub mixture to a fine and crumbly dough. Dissolve the salt in the water and add to the flour mixture and combine quickly into a dough, working the mixture from the outside towards the centre. Do not knead or the dough will be tough. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in a cool place for 3 hours.
For the Fladen:
Butter a 26cm diameter springform or cake form using the extra butter. Roll out the dough, about 3mm thick, place on springform and prick liberally with the tines of a fork. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the dough. Bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, remove and top with the flaked butter then finish baking your Fladen for about another 20 minutes. Remove, cool to room temperature and enjoy!
For a more modern version of this dish add 50g of freshly ground, roasted hazelnuts to the cinnamon/sugar mixture, roll out the dough, cut into small triangles, cover each one with some of the sugar, cinnamon, hazelnut and butter mix, roll into ‘Gipfeli’ (croissant like shapes) and bake for about 30 minutes. You can use ready-made puff pastry for this version, too.