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Easter recipe: Swiss Mini Osterfladen

Easter begins on Friday and for many of us it’s set to be a most unusual Easter.

Easter recipe: Swiss Mini Osterfladen
Photo: Helvetic Kitchen

For anyone who wants to use the lockdown time for something tasty and constructive, here’s a great recipe for a traditional Swiss Easter treat.  

Mini Osterfladen have been made in Switzerland since the 19th century. 

There are several different varieties, but the recipe for the one we’ve gone with comes from our friend Andie at Helvetic Kitchen, a great source for Swiss recipes of all varieties. 

The recipes are all in English and cover everything from traditional cakes to the world-famous Rösti – meaning anyone can emerge from this coronavirus lockdown as a master of Swiss cuisine. 

The link to the recipe can be found here along with several pictures of how the process should look. 

Photo: Helvetic Kitchen

Ingredients 

Dough

200g flour

2 tbsp sugar

pinch salt 

zest of half a lemon 

80g butter

125ml water

Filling

400 ml milk 

1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract 

pinch salt 

80g short grain (risotto) rice 

zest of half a lemon 

3 tbsp sugar 

1 tbsp butter 

100g raisins, plumped in tea or spirits 

2 eggs apricot jam

icing sugar

Pastry

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. 

Add the cold butter in pieces and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until you have small flakes. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the water. Mix this gently until a dough forms. Try not to overwork the dough or it will become tough.

Press the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic, and let cool in the fridge for about an hour. Roll out your dough and line a muffin tin. Keep the tin in the freezer until you have the filling ready.

Photo: Helvetic Kitchen

Filling

In a medium sized pot, bring the milk, vanilla, and salt to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time until the mixture thickens and the rice is soft. 

It’s best to taste the rice to make sure it’s cooked through. If the mixture is starting to look a little dry but the rice isn’t fully cooked yet, just add a splash of milk. 

Once the rice is cooked, take it off the heat and stir in the lemon zest, butter, sugar, and raisins. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas mark 4. Using a separate bowl and an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until they are stiff. 

Once the rice mixture has cooled, mix in the yolks, then gently fold in the whites. 

Fill each tart with about a tbsp of apricot jam, then add the filling. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and the bottoms are baked through. Dust with icing sugar.

Bunnies (as told by Andie)

Photo: Helvetic Kitchen

I rolled out some extra dough and cut out the ears freehand. 

I baked them for about 8 minutes (until they were slightly golden), then once the tarts were out of the oven I stuck them in. 

I used melted chocolate to make their bunny faces.

 

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OPINION & ANALYSIS

Will Switzerland be able to feed itself in the future?

Amid a worsening climate crisis and an increasingly unstable world food system, Clare O’Dea looks at what Switzerland and its population need to do to ensure there is enough food on the table in the years to come.

Will Switzerland be able to feed itself in the future?

Faced with a growing global population, the climate crisis and increasingly degraded agricultural land, the challenge of how to feed the world in the near future is one of the burning issues of the day. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a multitude of additional food security problems, contributing to already rising global food prices and rising input costs for agriculture, such as energy and fertilisers. 

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s food self-sufficiency rate is relatively low for Europe at around 50 per cent. The government’s new agriculture strategy for 2050 has set the seemingly modest goal of maintaining that level.

The 79-page strategy document, like most such publications, does not look beyond 2050. But this is just the point when climate change and increasing demand for food are expected to intensify.

Should we be alarmed?

One thing the Covid-19 pandemic showed was that not all countries are equally affected by a global crisis. Money is usually the main protection against disaster, but leadership, preparedness, and the ability and willingness to respond quickly are also important. 

For domestic food production over the next two to three decades, hope still rests on two main pillars – boosting productivity in a sustainable way, and changing consumer behaviour. There’s not much else that can be done. 

EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland’s inflation has rate stayed low compared to elsewhere?

The bad news is that the Swiss population is not eating a well-balanced diet and the average intake of calories is too high.

People are not eating enough dairy products, pulses, fruit and vegetables and consuming too much meat, sweet things and alcohol. 

We all know this.

But did you know how harmful this love affair with our stomachs is? The strategy document spells it out: “The environmental impact of consumption could be halved if people adopted a healthy diet, based on the nutritional recommendations.”

With a different portfolio of food grown in Switzerland corresponding to a healthier diet, the self-sufficiency rate would increase too. Consumer behaviour is changing but not radically or quickly enough. It’s hard to see the harm being reduced without enforced measures of some kind. 

READ MORE: Seven products that are becoming more expensive in Switzerland

Another crying shame of our food system and lifestyle is that a third of the food produced by farmers ends up being wasted between field and fork. All that energy, money and ecological impact for nothing. 

Although food self-sufficiency carries its own risks – vulnerability to local shocks, extra pressure on the environment – being too reliant on imports is not ideal. Overall, the EU is a net food exporter. But the Swiss government has made it clear that Switzerland will continue to rely significantly on imports for the foreseeable future. 

One simple reason is the limited availability of agricultural land. Currently 36 per cent of Switzerland’s land surface is given over to agricultural production and pasture. Farmers have to compete with growing urbanisation and, of course, the non-negotiable presence of the mountains that cover 60 per cent of the land’s surface.

During the Covid-19 pandemic we saw that money can, up to a point, buy you health. Switzerland nabbed so many of the globally available vaccines that it has had to donate or destroy surplus. Money can also buy you food, and this, along with proximity to supply, puts Switzerland is a rather secure position. 

In fact, Switzerland came fifth out of 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index which considers the issues of food affordability, availability and quality, as well as natural resource and resilience. By which we could conclude that everything is under control. 

The victims of this year’s global food crisis – the 323 million people who will become acutely food insecure, according to the UN – live in the countries that routinely appear at the bottom of such indexes. 

Nevertheless, according to the Swiss agricultural research body Agroscope, we should not feel a false sense of security. Apart from dependence on foreign countries and climate change, power supply is one of the key threats to Swiss food supply. 

In its latest annual assessment of threats to food supply, Agroscope wrote that the probability of and the potential damage from a serious power shortage are particularly high compared to other risks. “Supplies of vital foodstuffs would be massively affected, the effects would be manifold, and would not be overcome quickly.”

If the worst comes to the worst, Switzerland stockpiles compulsory stocks of essential goods for bridging in case of crisis and shortages. Mandatory storage facilities around the country hold three to four months’ worth of basic foodstuffs like sugar, rice, cooking oils, cereals and animal feed. 

Coffee, opiates and nuclear fuel: What are Switzerland’s ‘strategic stockpiles’?

Is that reassuring? Three months doesn’t feel like a lot.

These stocks are only released when the economy itself is no longer able to satisfy demand. In any case, Agroscope says “household emergency stocks are of great importance”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m off to the supermarket.

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