When we Americans think of pre-Lenten free-for-all known as carnival, we tend to think of ear-splitting samba beats in the streets of
You may be surprised to learn, however, that every year the Swiss city of
Baslers have been doing Fasnacht since the Middle Ages, but with a twist: After the Reformation, Protestant Basel moved its carnival to the Monday after
Fastnacht gets underway at Morgestraich ("morning strike"), a thrilling moment to witness. People start milling around the city center's market square around
Then the faint sound of drums and piccolos wafts into the square as the fife, drum, and lantern-toting cliques, the official carnival societies, begin to converge from all sides. The pre-dawn darkness is illuminated only by the lanterns atop the drummers' and piccolo players' masks, though each clique also sports a single 5-foot high rectangular lantern depicting its yearly theme in words and pictures.
As the day begins to dawn, the lights come back on and many head to a favorite restaurant or Kaeller (the cliques' private headquarters, open to the public during Fasnacht) for a fortifying meal. Delicacies include Maehlsuppe (brown flour soup), an unappetizing name for a really delicious onion soup; Kaeswaie or cheese tart (see recipe below); and Ziebelewaie or onion tart, first cousins of the quiche, only better.
All that salty food needs to be washed down with plenty of beer, which flows more generously during Fasnacht than the Rhine, the storied river that divides
Later that day after everyone has had a fortifying nap, followed by much parading by cliques, their members decked out in fantastic get-up. Tuesday is Kinderfasnacht or children's carnival during the day, with fanciful costumes and lots of Kiechli. Tuesday evening, the cathedral square is the scene of the reading of the lanterns. Each clique writes satirical, sarcastic or critical verses on its main lantern. They may be about events in
Wednesday afternoon is another parade as on Monday, though throughout Fasnacht portions of cliques march around the city 24 hours a day, keeping the upbeat mood from flagging. Wednesday evening, as Fasnacht begins to draw to a close, there is the famous brass concert in the Barfuesserplatz. One player carries the melody and all the others play out of tune sending most observers for something a little stronger than Maehlsuppe! Fasnacht officially ends at daylight on Thursday, when the normally staid and formal Baslers return to work and their regimented daily lives.
After eating my way through
Makes one 10-inch tart, about 8 servings.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 or 10 pieces
4 tablespoons cold water
2 cups (about 4 ounces) coarsely grated Swiss Gruyere
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half and half, or 1 cup each milk and heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch each of salt and freshly grated nutmeg
One 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom
1. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
2. For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in 1/4-inch pieces. Add the water and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Invert the dough to a floured work surface, carefully remove the blade, and form it into a thick disk.
3. Flour the dough and roll it to a 12-inch disk. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well into the bottom and side of the pan. Use a bench scraper or the back of a knife to sever the excess dough at the rim of the pan.
4. Toss the cheese with the flour and evenly distribute it on the pastry crust. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the cheese.
5. Bake the tart until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and well colored, about 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Cool the tart briefly on a rack and unmold it to a platter; serve immediately or later at room temperature.
Serving: Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature as a first course or as the main course of a light meal with a mixed salad.
Storage: Keep the tart at room temperature on the day it is baked. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and bring to room temperature or heat briefly at 350 degrees before serving again.
Nick Malgieri is the award-winning author of "Perfect Cakes ," Harper Collins, 2002; "A Baker's Tour: Nick Malgieri's Favorite Baking Recipes from Around the World ," Harper Collins, 2005; and "Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs, All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving " Morrow, 2006.
- Beef Stroganoff, a Culinary Classic for Valentine's Day Recipe
- Stir-Fried Garlic Lamb in Lettuce Cups Recipe
- Chocolate Caramel Mousse with Candied Peanuts Recipe
- Caesar Salad with Roasted Capers
- Figgy Winter Delights: Fig Recipes
- Warm Spinach Salad With Goat Cheese And Sweet Onions
- Endive Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese
- Winter Salad of Smoked Salmon Red Grapefruit and Fennel
- Spanish Chicken and Potato Stew
- Recipes for Health: Can What You Eat Stave Off the Flu?
Basler Kaeswaie: Cheese-filled Tart Recipe for Swiss-Style Carnival - Nick Malgieri Recipes
(c) 2010 Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri Recipes
- Clam & Mussel Soup
- Potato & Pea Samosas
- Bourbon Fudge Cake
- Beef Filets in Puff Pastry Recipe
- Bay Scallops with Sauteed Apples Recipe
- Rice Souffle Pears & Raspberries Dessert Recipe
- Good-Carb Pizzas with Whole-Wheat Dough
- Italian-Style Poached Halibut in Broth
- Torta Regina Recipe
- Rack of Pork with Prunes & Dates Recipe
- Pecan & Walnut Tart with Chocolate Icing
- Let the Holiday Baking Begin Gugelhupf
- Roast Beef Panini
- Creamy Vanilla Sweet Potatoes
- Thanksgiving Turkey Oyster Dressing Stuffing
- Braised Beef Short Ribs Tomatoes & Red Wine
- Marbled Pound Cake with Chocolate Glaze Recipe
- Deep-Dish Pumpkin Pie with Cranberry Marmalade
- Sauteed Pork Tenderloin Strips
- Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon
- Grandma's Italian Ravioli Austrian Style
- Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Roast Chicken Breasts with Raisins & Couscous
- Eggplant, Zucchini & Tomato Gratin
- Saffron Risotto with Shrimp
- Smoked Gouda & Prosciutto Panini
- Grilled Lobster & Summer Vegetables
- Sake-Marinated Tataki Beef Salad Recipe
- Sauteed Halibut with Sweet Corn and Clam Ragout
- Summer Cantaloupe Salad with Prosciutto
- Grilled Tandoori Lamb Chops
- Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
- Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad
- Grilled Tuna with Tomato-Mint Vinaigrette
- Asian Coleslaw and Smashed Red-Skinned Potato Salad
- Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberries
- Stuffed Zucchini Flowers Tempura
- Fresh Cherries Jubilee
- Chicken Kabobs with Lemon & Thyme
- Mediterranean Shrimp & Pasta Salad
- Grilled Salmon Sandwich
- Lamb Chops with Shallot Cream Sauce
- Vanilla Pound Cake with Raspberry Compote
- Three-Cheese Quesadillas and Classic Guacamole
- Carrot and Ginger Soup
- Crustless Caramel Flan Cheesecake
- Pork Loin with Thai Sauce and Papaya Salad
- Greek Salad with Shrimp
- New York Steak with Wasabe Sauce
- Pizza for Easter Brunch
- Making a Humble Soup Special
- Authentic Austrian Pasta
- Pan-Roasted Chicken
- Chunky Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Fettuccine with Clams
The world-renowned chef with an extraordinary passion for food now shares that passion in Wolfgang Puck's Kitchen. Wolfgang Puck makes great cooking easier than you ever imagined. Each feature includes both an expert tip and an easy recipe - exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable.
More Nick Malgieri Recipes