As much as we love running the flowy alpine trails of the Alps, stopping along the way at a high mountain hut for a delicious treat is — we confess — a big part of why we love to trail run here.
All this winter, we’ll be bringing a little bit of that Alps mountain culture home to you. Our friend Heddi Nieuwsma, creator of Cuisine Helvetica and author of the best-selling new book Swiss Bread, has been exploring the regional foods of Switzerland for nearly a decade. Over the years since she and her family have moved from the US, Heddi has become a Swiss culinary expert!
From delicious tarts to cheese-laden comfort dishes, the traditional food of the Alps varies by regions — sometimes even to a specific valley.
We’ll start our series in the east of Switzerland, in the Swiss state, or canton, of Graubünden. This is the largest Swiss canton and is known for its winter sports – especially in classy St. Moritz. It’s also home to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, and the beautiful Engadine Valley where traditional whitewashed houses are decorated with a wall art form called sgraffito plasterwork. (And where Run the Alps offers a self-guided trail running trip, too!)
Run the Alps staff love this wild, quiet area of the Alps, especially the Engadine, and certainly rate the mountain huts here highly for their sweet and savory dishes. One of the best is Tatsch, a pancake dish that can be complemented with sweet or savory additions.
Want to bring a little bit the Swiss Engadine to your dining room table? Try your hand at the Tatsch recipe below. We hope you have fun creating a taste of Switzerland in your own home– and let us know how it goes! (Send a photo!)
Watch this space! Every few weeks we’ll feature a traditional recipe from the Alps, as our Alps trail running food tour gets underway! And be sure to follow Heddi on Instagram, for plenty more great Swiss dishes! Careful– you’ll quickly be drooling over your keyboard. We love her work and you will too.
Time: About 90 minutes.
Allergens: eggs, gluten, milk, wheat.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch of salt
zest of half a lemon
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
about 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Whisk them together until well-blended.
2. Add the lemon zest, milk, eggs and vanilla paste to the flour mixture in the large bowl. Whisk them together until the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for about 60 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.
4. On the stove, melt about 1 tablespoons of unsalted butter in an oven-proof skillet. Swirl it around the bottom and the sides to help make sure the batter does not stick.
5. Take the skillet off the heat and pour in the batter. Put the skillet into the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, just until the pancake has set.
6. Remove the pancake from the oven and cut the pancake into bite-size pieces. Add the second tablespoon of unsalted butter to the same pan and fry the pancake pieces over medium-high heat until it turns golden brown.
7. Dust the warm Tatsch with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, while still a little warm, with fruit preserves or applesauce.