Starting in September there are local Oktoberfest celebrations that you will find all over. Some town events have already taken place by the time you read this, but there are still many around for you to enjoy. Harvard Square Oktoberfest celebration is in early October and is usually a huge event, Cape Cod Beer puts on a big celebration in Hyannis in a few weeks, and I have heard that Newburyport has a fun event planned. Most Oktoberfest celebrations include authentic German food, music, games such as eating contests, and races.
Nothing, however, can compete with the original Oktoberfest, celebrated from late September through early October when close to 6 million revelers crowd Munich and surrounding towns, to celebrate Bavarian culture. Touted as the largest beer celebration in the world, it is accompanied by a huge feast of German food such hot soft pretzels, many kinds of sausages, homemade sauerkraut made the original way in crocks, and many desserts that have their origin in the old cities of Bavaria, such as strudels, beautiful tortes, rum balls, and much more.
I discovered that coffee cakes were one of the first “sweets” to be served at breakfast, with muffins coming in a close second. The coffee cake below is an old German recipe that blends plenty of spices, nuts, and dates with beer. If you want to use a German beer, look for Lowenbraugh brand, Ayinger, or Beck’s.
Prettily baked in a tube or Bundt pan and generously sprinkled with powdered sugar, you will enjoy a small “piece” of Bavarian culture in your own home.
German Beer Coffee Cake
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups beer
Combine brown sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Cream until smooth and well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, flour, baking soda, and salt together. Dust walnuts and dates with a small amount of this mixture.
Add remaining flour mixture alternately with beer to creamed mixture, blending well after each addition. Stir in walnuts and dates. Spoon batter into large, well-buttered and floured tube or Bundt pan.
Bake in preheated 350-degree F. oven for one hour and 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes, invert onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and place on a serving plate.
Good to hear from you
Hi Pat: I just made the Zucchini Brownies recipe. I really liked them. They are very moist and the frosting was so simple. It’s a great way to get my husband to eat more veggies.
Diane, Methuen, MA
Dear Patricia: I would love to have the recipe mentioned in your newspaper article for a red bean dip from Arthur’s Town House restaurant, which used to be in Lawrence many years ago. I loved reading the story about it. Thank you,
Patricia in Methuen
Patricia: I love red bean dip and was hoping by the end of the article you would list it.
Please forward me a copy of Arthur’s Town House Bean Dip.
I love reading your column.
Dear Readers: For many of you who have asked for a copy of Arthur’s red bean dip, I believe that he never had a written recipe, plus it was 43 years ago. Arthur does remember how he came to make it, which was when someone gave him large #10 cans of kidney beans and he needed to find a way to use them. He drained and rinsed the beans, and mixed them with mayo, a red relish and a green relish for color, horseradish, pinch of basil, vinegar, onion, and celery salt or chopped celery. I believe he added ingredients to taste. I would probably coarsely mash the beans, but some might like everything pureed. See what you come up with and I hope it is close to what you are looking for.
Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a self-stamped, self-addressed envelope when writing, care of Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.
Did you know 220,000: The number of stolen beer mugs recovered by security during a recent year's Oktoberfest celebration in Munich.