Doris Holzheu's Spätzle


I still remember the first time I had Spätzle (also spelled Spaetzle.)  I was with my family at the Swiss Centre in London.  I vividly remember those lovely little bite size dumplings that were so delicious.  I was intrigued then and tried a number of dried versions in boxes when I got home but never had anything that was quite like that first childhood memory until now.

One of the greatest gifts in catering is that I get to ask my clients lots of questions about food and every single time I learn something new.  When I was working on Elizabeth and Wes's wedding, I asked Elizabeth Holzheu's about her favorite foods and she went on and on about her grandmother, Doris Holzheu's, spätzle.

My grandmother, Jean Darling, was actually in a bridge club with Doris Holzheu and spoke with reverence about Doris and what an extraordinary cook she was.  This is a big statement since my grandmother was also an extraordinary cook.  It is odd that even though Doris was my grandmother's friend and I've lived in this small town almost my entire life, yet I wouldn't have known who Doris was if she walked by me on the street.  I first met Helmut and Doris Holzheu when they sponsored the Mother's Day breakfast when Katherine was Youth Recreation Queen.  But I just took their picture that day and didn't really get to visit with them or get to know them.  So it wasn't until after Elizabeth's wedding that I invited me over to learn how to make spätzle.

We were not really planning to film this but I was so glad that Rob brought his new camera to take pictures and videos.  I'm extremely grateful that he recorded this day because I think it is significant to show that the batter must be lumpy.  And that it must fall off the spoon.  And that is is soft batter not a stiff batter.  This recipe is all technique.  You must put the eggs in one at at time and you must put the water in after the eggs.  At one part of the video I asked if I could hold the spoon to feel the dough.  I was surprised at how soft it was.  This happens when you gradually add eggs and water to flour.  (Similar to the way you would with pasta.  You don't add it all at once or you have a tough dough.)

Here is the video followed by the recipe.  The day that Doris made it she served it with Gruyère Cheese, butter and crispy onions.  Which makes the title Kase (Cheese) Spatzle (Dumplings.)  Emmentaler can also be used or any cheese that you love.  Since then I've made it plain and with cheese and used it as the way you would make any pasta served as a side dish.  I've made it with pork chops, chicken, steak and fish.  When we ate at her house we had smoked pork chops that were wonderful and a tomato salad.  The pictures are below.


4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3 teaspoon kosher salt

4 eggs, added one at at time

1 1/3 cup water

3/4 pound gruyère or emmantaler Swiss cheese, grated 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Crispy Onions, made separately (She said to soak them in milk, dip them in flour and then sauté them in olive oil and butter until they are crispy.)

Put a large pot of water in the stove to boil.  Add salt.  While you are waiting for the water to boil make the batter.
In a large bowl put four cups of flour.  Add three teaspoons of kosher salt.  Mix well to distribute the salt evenly. 

Add the eggs one at a time, only slowly incorporating the flour just around the egg.  Do you mix in all the flour.  Just add the flour in little by little with the addition of each egg.  

Add a cup of water and stir the entire batter.  It should be lumpy.  Add another 1/3 cup water if necessary so that it falls off the spoon.  (See video.)  Stir to make the batter.
Use a spätzle maker on top of your pot of water.  Place batter in the top and run back and forth to make the dough drop.  If you do not have a spätzle maker you can use a cheese grater and push the batter through the large holes of a cheese grater with a knife.  Or scrape pieces from a board into the boiling water.
When they float to the top, let them cook for about a minute and then removed the cooked dumplings to a bowl.  Alternate grated cheese in-between each batch of spätzle dumplings.  Put a the butter in the middle of all the spätzle.  Top with the crispy onions and serve warm.
The Spätzle can be made with or without the cheese and served as a side to almost anything.

Smoke Pork Chops with Kase Spätzle, tomato salad and beer of course.

After our fruit and ice cream for dessert we had Goldschlager.


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