Book Cover Dutch Treats

DUTCH TREATS: Heirloom Recipes from Farmhouse Kitchens

William Woys Weaver

St. Lynn's Press
September 15, 2016
$20/Trade paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1943366040

Sample Recipe
Request a Copy


William Woys Weaver is the author of sixteen books and hundreds of articles on foods and foodways. His most recent book, As American As Shoofly Pie, is an analysis of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Weaver is founding president of the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley and the director of the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism, a non-profit academic research institute, where he teaches courses on regional American cuisine.  Dr. Weaver received his doctorate in food studies at University College Dublin, Ireland, the first doctorate awarded by the University in that field of study.

Dr. Weaver is a contributing editor to Mother Earth News and a regular contributor to The Heirloom Gardener – and, until it stopped publication, was a contributing editor to Gourmet. He has been the subject of articles in Americana, Food & Wine, Food Arts, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and Country Living.

Dr. Weaver is a board member of GMO Free Pennsylvania and the Experimental Farm Network, a grass-roots organization devoted to alternative methods of seed production. He maintains the Roughwood Seed Collection of over 4,000 heirloom food plants and lives in the 1805 Lamb Tavern, a National Register property in Devon, Pennsylvania.

Internationally known food historian William Woys Weaver presents a richly photographed gastronomical journey into the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch food traditions, with more than 100 heritage recipes and the colorful stories behind them – including Shoofly Cake, New Year’s Pretzels and the original Snickerdoodles. DUTCH TREATS shines a much-anticipated light on the vast diversity of authentic baked goods, festive breads and pastries that we call Pennsylvania Dutch (named for the German-speaking immigrants who settled there starting in the late 1600s).

Bigler Cake

(Bigler Kuche)

Yield: Serves 8 to 10


  • 3 cups (375g) cake flour
  • 1 cup (250g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups (375ml) buttermilk
  • Coarse sugar or lemon crumbs as topping

Grease the pie pans or cake mold and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, then add the lemon zest. Make a valley in the center of the dry ingredients. Melt the butter and pour it into the valley.

Beat the eggs until lemon colored and frothy, then combine with the buttermilk. Add this to the melted butter and stir the ingredients to form stiff, sticky batter. Pour this into the prepared pie pans or a cake mold that has been greased and dusted with bread or cake crumbs. If using pie pans, sprinkle crumbs over the tops; if using a mold, ice the cake once it is cool.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until fully puffed and set in the middle. If baking in a Bundt mold, bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

New Year’s Pretzel


Yield: Approximately two 14-inch (35cm) pretzels


  • ½ ounce (15g) dry active yeast
  • 1 cup (250ml) lukewarm potato water (98F/37C)
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (170g) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sea salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 cup (200g) mashed potatoes
  • 7 cups (875g) bread flour

Glaze for Each Pretzel:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) superfine sugar

Proof the yeast in the lukewarm potato water. In a deep work bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat the eggs until light and frothy, dissolve the salt in the milk, and add this to the eggs. Add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar, stir well, then stir in the mashed potatoes. Sift in 3 cups (375g) of flour to create a soft sponge. Cover and proof overnight in a warm place until double in bulk.

The next day, stir down and sift in the remaining flour, working batter into soft, pliant dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, then cover and allow the dough to proof until double in bulk. Knock down and divide the dough into two equal portions, each weighing about 2 pounds (1 kg). Trim off excess dough and reserve this for ornamenting the pretzels.

To make a pretzel, take one portion of the dough and roll it out to form a rope about 40 inches (100cm) long. The rope should be thicker in the middle than on the ends. Twist this into a pretzel shape and lay it on your baking tin. Take some of the excess dough and make braids or coils – or roll out some of it as thin as possible with a rolling pin and cut out leaves, petals for flowers, or any fanciful figures you like, and attach them to the pretzel with lightly beaten egg white. Once the design is in place, cover and let the pretzel rise for about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the warmth of the kitchen.

While the pretzel is rising, preheat the oven to 375F (190C). For each pretzel, beat together the egg yolk, cream and sugar and brush the surface with this. Then bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until fully risen and turning golden brown. Cool on a rack. Repeat this with the other portion of dough unless your oven is large enough to accommodate both pretzels at once.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from DUTCH TREATS: Heirloom Recipes from Farmhouse Kitchens by William Woys Weaver. (St. Lynn’s Press; September 15, 2016; $20/trade paperback; ISBN: 978-1943366040).


Contact: Chloe Wertz