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Friday, 24 December 2021

Dominosteine

Mrs. D.’s homemade Dominosteine: an unusual thing to bake in an English kitchen.


When my mother-in-law was a teenager after the Second World War, her school organized food parcels to send to families in Dusseldorf. I imagine most of it would have been tins of meat, vegetables and condensed milk, and maybe a few perishables such as sugar, butter and cheese. Dusseldorf, like many European cities, had been bombed to ruins and the people were starving.

This, and similar schemes, were not universally supported. When the Mayor of Reading spoke about families in Dusseldorf living in dreadful conditions in bunkers and cellars, there were angry letters to the press condemning the Boche for not working to feed his children.

My mother-in-law’s family did support and contribute to the scheme. The school also encouraged children to write letters to send with the food parcels, and, as a result, there began a life-long friendship with a German girl called Ingeborg. There were visits between the families, and, during the nineteen-nineties, mother-in-law brought Ingeborg to stay with us for a few days.  

As Europe recovered from the war, the German children began to send Christmas presents to England. Ingeborg usually sent dominosteine, lebkuchen, stollen and spekulatius. You would have been hard pressed to find these delicious continental treats anywhere at all in Britain during the sixties, seventies and eighties. Later, my wife always managed to find them at Christmas, even if they had to be ordered by post from Germany. I had never tasted or heard of them before.  

Dominosteine and stollen are my favourites, but, this year, there were no dominosteine to be found anywhere except at exhorbitant prices. So, Mrs. D. made her own, baking the gingerbread, building up the layers of jelly and marzipan, cutting it into squares and covering them in soft, dark chocolate. They’re enormous. Four times the size of those you buy. And more than two tins full. Yummy!

POSTSCRIPT - coincidentally, Graham Edwards also mentioned German treats in his recent post, with a photograph of a box reminscent of what Ingeborg used to send: https://galenote.blogspot.com/2021/12/christmas-day-2021.html

47 comments:

  1. That's a cheering story for Christmas. I have eaten dominosteines in Germany. They are pretty good especially if they have marzipan but some don't.

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  2. I've learnt something from this post. I didn't know about the food parcels sent to Germany and I have never heard of Dominosteine but the look like my kind of cake, lol
    Have a lovely Christmas
    Briony
    x

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    Replies
    1. And you. Mix butter into the chocolate and they'll be soft top to bottom.

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  3. Well, off I go to have a look at recipes. The cakes look very nice, and the story is very Christmas-y. I hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!

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    1. Thank you. And you and yours. We combined two different recipes.

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  4. They look delicious, different foods and different cultures. One child has already bought some Panettone this morning, the Christmas cake is not appreciated in this household.
    A happy Christmas to you and your family, and may next year have a brighter tinge to it.

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    Replies
    1. Happy Christmas to you too. These are very light to eat. Christmas cake can be heavy.

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  5. Is your wife called Mary Berry by any chance?

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness not. I wouldn't be able to withstand all the criticism.

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    2. She is also a bit wrinkly for a young buck like yourself.

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  6. Scrumptious! Happy Christmas to you and Mrs. D.

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    1. Happy Christmas in return. They are truly scrumptious.

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  7. Interesting post. I didn't know about the food parcels. During the war we received food parcels from friends in the US. Good to be on the giving side.

    This confection looks like something I need to learn to make! I'm off to look it up. Love marzipan.

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    1. A nice thick marzipan layer. Several have said they didn't know about the food parcels. There is an interesting article on the BBC web site: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-40160310

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  8. I've had stollen before, but never any of the other delicacies. They sound delicious, as all baking does, LOL!

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    1. Stollen is wonderful too. Home baked goodies are always better than shop bought.

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  9. A very Happy Christmas to you, Tasker, all the way from Georgia USA.

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    1. Thank you Bob. And to you all the way from Yorkshire, Yorkshire.

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  10. What a wonderful Christmas treat your wife has made! I've never eaten them but they look wonderful. May you and your loved ones have a peaceful and happy Christmas!

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    1. Thank you. Same to you. I'm only aloud one per day.

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  11. Dominosteine certainly looks delicious. It is low fat and low sugar?

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    1. Oh no. Most certainly not. Lots of both, especially the sugar.

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    2. The kind thing to do would have been to tell the teensiest little lie right here...

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  12. Replies
    1. They are utterly delicious. You're too far away to pop one round.

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  13. With Briony we didn't know about food parcels sent to Germany and admire your MIL for supporting it. We are off to find a recipe for those cakes (F could live on marzipan) but Mr T suspects they won't look as good as those Mrs D has produced. She's some baker! Enjoy your Christmas.

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    1. Enjoy yours too. See answer to Boud about a food parcel article. The cakes really did turn out much better than anticipated. It's a bit fiddly to get the chocolate all over, including underneath. Tigger shouldn't have them at all, not good for cats. Phoebe prefers fishy cakes.

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  14. I'm not sure I've ever had any of those German treats, but they look yummy. Hope you're having a great Christmas!

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  15. Of course I am very familiar with all these special Christmas time foods, having grown up with them. And while I am not at all keen on marzipan, I actually like Dominosteine. Lebkuchen I have to be in the mood for, and Stollen must not have too much candied orange and lemon in it. Do you happen to know Heidesand? They are my favourite Christmas cookies.

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    1. I agree about Lebkuchen (spelling now corrected) which I find a bit too gingery. We don't know Heidesand but they appear to be quite similar to Scottish shortbread. Is that correct?

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    2. Yes, but sweeter and sandier.

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  16. Lidl is usually the place to find this stuff, but this year it is in short supply because of the perfect storm.

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  17. Replies
    1. Thank you. They are indeed. I've just had one. Thanks for visiting.

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  18. Glad to find you. For some reason, when I have tried to access you blog, I was getting an error message.

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    1. It was an http/https issue which I think I've maaged to fix. http://www.taskerdunham.com was getting through, but https://www.taskerdunham.com was not. Most will be using an https link which was giving an unsecured site error. Seems to have happened at some point yesterday because the web stats show only 7 visits today so far. Even Ratana hasn't been able to get in.

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  19. Replies
    1. A big ask because I don't know either. What I do know is that Mrs D combined two recipes from the internet and adapted them - e.g. extra brandy in the marzipan. I'll see what I can find out.

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  20. They look excellent - just my sort of thing, Stollen too - fantastic and much nicer than iced Christmas cake.
    More broadly, after an unexpectedly difficultly December - as much logistical as anything - I was tonight finally catching up on some of my blog list to wish their authors a happy new year and say thanks for reading and commenting on mine. I do so hope next year brings us better times as well as inspiration for more words and pictures.
    Thank you again
    Mark

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    1. We are well into the second tin now - made around 40 which is 10 each as the kids are here! We've kept them well out of the sight of visitors! Thanks for catching up and reading.

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