Yesterday my sisters Lindsay, Krista and I decided to try making a dessert from my Grandma’s old Mennonite cookbook. We ended up making this fruit Platz recipe and really enjoyed it.
This fruit Platz has a flaky crust, similar to a pie crust. It’s stuffed with any fruit of your choice and then topped off with a sweet topping. Its a bit like a cross between a cobbler and a pie and perfect for a quick dessert you can pull together in no time!
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Although we come from a Mennonite background, my sisters and I never actually learned how to make any mennonite baking or cooking!
My Grandma’s mom wore a cap and gown and lived a more traditional mennonite lifestyle however she did not raise my Grandma and her siblings to maintain the clothing standards and some of the other mennonite traditions but she did teach them how to bake and cook mennonite foods.
My dad grew up eating these recipes and often shares fond memories of his favourite meals and baked goods.
This prompted me the other day to ask if Grandma still had any of her old cookbooks. She is now living in an assisted living facility so she doesn’t have any use for them anymore and I didn’t think Grandpa would mind if I borrowed one to check out.
Not for the faint of heart
The thing about this recipe book is that the women who wrote down the recipes assumed you had some knowledge of mennonite cooking and terms.
Unfortunately most of the recipes are so far beyond any of our understandings or capabilities (we are more follow a recipe to a T type of chefs) but we did find this recipe that looked promising.
Fruit platz is a quick a simple Mennonite dessert. It has a deliciously tender flaky crust and can be stuffed with any fruit topping of your choice. Lastly it is topped with a sweet eggy topping and all kind of melds together in the oven.
It reminded us a lot of a cobbler crossed with a pie!
A relaxed style of baking
From what I can gather when it comes to mennonite cooking, these women relied on some foundational knowledge about baking and ingredients and then just went for it! They aren’t strict about how much flour to use per say and are relaxed about a lot of the ingredients.
Although I found this intimating at first I actually kind of love that style of cooking and baking. It helps to remember its not rocket science and to have fun with it! A little of this, a little of that and it will turn out great! Or here’s hoping anyways.
All you need to make fruit Platz is a couple ingredients and you will be on your way! I will show you step by step how to do it. This is a very simple dessert and you can get creative with the fruit combinations you make with it!
- 2 cups flour
- 2/3 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 6-8 tsp cold water
- fruit of your choice to cover the 8×8 base
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder (scant)
First you are going to mix your salt and flour together. Next add your shortening or unsalted butter if using instead. The traditional recipe calls for shortening and it does create a lighter crust. The butter adds a bit more flavour but its not as flaky. I would use shortening next time and add 1-2 tsp sugar to the dough.
Mix until the flour and butter forms clumps. Now you are going to add your cold water. Starting with 5 tsp of cold water continue to add 1 tsp at a time, working with your hands until the dough comes together.
Now you are going to pat your dough into the bottom of a greased 8×8 square baking pan.
Next you are going to layer your fruit over the pie crust in the bottom of your pan. I chose peaches today but we made one with thinly sliced apples yesterday that was also amazing. Layer your fruit and sprinkle generously with sugar.
To make the topping you first need to whisk your eggs. Then add all your other ingredients mixing until combined. Spoon over your fruit and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 min. Let cool completely before serving!
Fruit topping ideas
- thinly sliced apples with cinnamon
- peached and blackberries
- strawberries and rhubarb
- mixed berries
I served my peach fruit platz with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce drizzled over the top. I just sued store bought caramel but you could use homemade as well if your feeling adventurous.