Soup is a Dutch treat but dessert is Greek to me


May 04, 1994|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff Writer

Spanning the continental foodways here are two Dutch pea soup recipes and a Greek baklava to whisk you up, up and away on a taste trip.

Joanne Barber of Forest Hill asked for the soup recipe. She wrote, "My husband and I visited Amsterdam this summer and discovered this local dish. The peas seemed to be pureed and there was a wonderful sausage cut up in it as well as potatoes and leeks I think."

Shirley Wright from Baltimore and Jane Ross from Columbia sent in soup recipes. Ms. Wright wrote, "I agree with Mrs. Barber, the pea soup I had in Amsterdam was the best I had ever tasted. I bought a Dutch cookbook and have been making the recipe for 8 years. When I serve it to a friend of mine, he says it reminds him of ice-skating on the Dutch canals and the vendors who would sell it steaming hot to the skaters."

Wright's Erwtensoep (Pea soup)

2 cups split peas, in 3 cups water

8 cups additional water

2 pounds ham hocks

1 large onion, cut up

4 leeks, cut up

3 celery stalks, cup up

1 (12-ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 to 6 potatoes, diced

4 carrots, cut in 1-inch chunks

Soak peas in 3 cups water overnight or for 3 to 4 hours then drain.

In a heavy pot, combine drained peas, 8 cups water and ham hocks and simmer covered for 2 hours.

Remove meat from bones and return meat to pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer an hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Ms. Ross wrote that she had been making the soup for 20 years "and it remains my favorite. It cooks down to a puree," she notes.

Ross' Erwtensoep

1 pound quick-cooking split green peas

3 quarts water

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon powdered allspice

1/4 teaspoon powdered marjoram

1 beef bouillon cube

2 pounds spareribs, cut into 2-rib pieces

2 medium-thick leeks

1 medium onion, cut in thin slices

1 cup celery in 1/2 -inch thick slices

1 pound smoked sausage

1/4 cup butter or margarine

3 to 4 slices white bread cut in small cubes

snipped parsley

In a large kettle, let the peas come to a boil in the water and simmer for 1 1/4 hours. Add salt, pepper, allspice, marjoram, bouillon cube and spareribs which have been trimmed of excess fat. Stir well and bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 45 minutes.

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise then wash and cut into slices 1-inch thick. Add leeks, onion, celery and sausage to soup. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 30 minutes or until spareribs are tender.

Meanwhile heat the butter or margarine in skillet and toast bread in it until brown and crisp. Put aside.

Serve the soup in one of two ways. Remove spareribs and sausage from soup and keep warm. Serve soup as a first course sprinkled with parsley and bread cubes. And serve spareribs and sausage as a main course with potatoes and a vegetable.

Or remove the meat from the spareribs, cut up the sausage and serve in the soup as a main course with the bread croutons and a tossed salad. Follow with dessert.

A request for a recipe for baklava, came from Shirley Hoskins of Savannah, Mo., who wrote that she has heard of the Greek dessert but has never eaten it.

Chef Gilles Syglowski chose a recipe from Pam Fisher of Randallstown, which he says "is exactly the way baklava should be made."

Fisher's Greek baklava

1 pound butter

1 pound (frozen) phyllo pastry sheets


1 pound granulated white sugar

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice


1 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

3/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup sugar

Early in the day or the night before, make the sugar syrup by combining sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and heating to 220 degrees over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, cool and refrigerate.

Thaw phyllo according to package. Make filling by stirring together nuts, spices and sugar in small bowl.

To clarify butter, melt completely and pour into a 2-cup glass measure. Let stand until it has separated. Skim off and discard foam layer. Carefully pour clear yellow layer into a clean container and reserve. Discard any remaining sediment.

To assemble the pastry, heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the phyllo and cut in half, crosswise with a sharp knife. Separate about 2/3 of a half of the phyllo and lay in bottom of 13-inch-by-9-inch pan. Trim as needed. Cover the remaining phyllo to prevent drying.

Spread 1/2 of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo and top with 2/3 of the other half of the phyllo package. Spread remaining filling over this and top with the remaining parts of the phyllo.

With a sharp knife cut into 1-inch squares. Be sure to cut through all layers. Pour clarified butter over assembled pastry, coating entire surface. Use all the butter. Bake in oven for 13 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours until the top is golden.

Remove pan from oven and quickly pour the cold sugar syrup over the hot baklava. Let cool slightly before trying a piece.

Store in an airtight container once it has cooled completely. It freezes well and can be layered between wax paper in a flat rectangular container.

Recipe requests

* Gladys Amos of Central City, Ky., wants a burnt-sugar pie recipe like the one her mother made when she was growing up and which has been lost.

* Pam Hopp of Huntley, Ill., is searching for a recipe to make chicken, shrimp or beef kow. Can anyone help?

* Daniel Magee of Hunt Valley wants a recipe for General Tso's chicken which is different from that served in local restaurants which are all similar, he says.

Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, selected and tested these recipes.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Print each response or request clearly on a separate sheet of paper with name, address and phone number. Send to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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