Miniature Pyramid Easter Tree

An Early Easter Gift

Look what I found on the kitchen table when I got up this morning – an early Easter gift from my oldest daughter.  She made a miniature pyramid Easter tree, constructing the shelves and arranging/gluing all the tiny figures.  The piece stands just 9 inches tall with German metal figures about 1-1/2 inches tall.  I love the rabbit ringing the bell on the top shelf.

The middle shelf holds some more German rabbits with colored eggs in a wheelbarrow, a basket and a backpack.

On the bottom shelf is an assortment of miniature Easter figures…chicks, rabbits, a lamb, an egg…

….a unique and beautiful treasure to enjoy for years to come.

Apple Pecan Kuchen

Before I retired in 1994, I worked for 30 years for a manufacturers’ rep.  In the late 1980s, he began dealing with German firms and I took German lessons to help in translating correspondence and in writing reasonably clear German letters.  My boss’ wife jumped at the opportunity to have me translate German recipes she had collected and this is an adaptation of one of them.  It makes a thin, not-too-rich treat for breakfast.


  • 1 Tblsp. butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced tart apple (about 1-1/2 medium apples)
  • 3 Tblsp. sour cream
  • 3 Tblsp. milk
  • 3 Tblsp. vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons pecans
  • Cinnamon Topping:  1 tsp. cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Spray or oil an 8″ baking pan

In a small skillet melt the butter over medium heat and add the sliced apples.  Saute, turning occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes, until apples are softening but not browned.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream, milk, oil and sugar.  Whisk in the lemon peel, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in the flour – the batter will be thick.  Spread the batter in the prepared 8″ pan, using fingertips dampened with water to push the batter in place.  Spread the sauteed apples on top of the batter and sprinkle on the pecans.

Bake for 25 minutes @ 350 degrees F.  Remove pan from oven, sprinkle cinnamon topping on the apples and return cake to the oven to bake for 5 minutes more.

Place on a wire rack to cool slightly – best when still warm.

Enjoy a serving of American-style kuchen.

German Stuffed Mango (Green Pepper)


When I was growing up in Cincinnati’s East End, our German neighbors enjoyed something called a “Stuffed Mango”.  Most families made their own, but the Stuffed Mango was also available in the small groceries and delicatessens in the area.  I was in high school before I realized the “mango” was a green bell pepper.

In the 1980s when my husband and I lived in a spot called Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, we had a huge garden and a lot of green bell peppers.  My German husband recalled the old stuffed mango with fondness and before the days of the internet search, I tried to find a recipe.  I wound up combining several sources, including The Ball Blue Book of 1943 and a wonderful 1983 cookbook by Mary Anna DuSablon, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury*.  It wasn’t a difficult process to make the peppers but it did stretch over two days, all of the work being worthwhile when my husband tasted the mango and loved it.

I haven’t made the peppers for many years, but decided to reduce the recipe considerably and make just two which are not processed and are kept in the refrigerator.  They should be used within a week or so of their two-week curing period.  Here is the recipe for two German Stuffed Mangoes.


  • Servings: 2 stuffed peppers
  • Print

  • 2 medium/large green bell peppers
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • Cold water to cover


  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp. pickling salt
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. mustard seed


  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Slice off the stem ends of peppers, cutting down about 3/4″ from top, reserve tops.  Core and seed peppers.  In each of two one-quart containers (Cool Whip containers work well), place 1 Tblsp. salt plus about half a container of cold water, stirring to dissolve salt.  Add one pepper and its top to each container.  Pour enough cold water over the peppers and their tops to cover.  Weigh down with something like a small custard cup to be sure peppers remain submerged.  Let stand on counter overnight.


The next morning, drain and rinse the peppers and tops in cold water, then set on a rack to drain.

In a large bowl place the chopped cabbage and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of pickling salt.  Stir and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, covered with a clean, dry towel.


After 3 hours, add celery seed and mustard seed to the cabbage.  Stuff this mixture into each of the peppers, place the tops on and fasten shut by wrapping each pepper and top several times around with white cotton string.


In a medium pan bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and immediately place the peppers in the brine, using a slotted spoon.  Allow to cool until lukewarm, occasionally spooning brine over the peppers.  Then, carefully remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place in a refrigerator container.  Pour the brine over the peppers, cover and refrigerate.


Peppers should be allowed to cure in the refrigerator for two weeks.

When ready to serve, remove the pepper from the brine and cut the string.  Remove the top and slice the pepper in half.


Serve with sandwiches or as a relish/pickle with meals. 

Both the slaw and the pickled pepper itself are very tasty.  One-fourth of a large stuffed pepper is enough for me but my husband used to easily eat a whole pepper and the little bits around the top stem along with a couple of grilled bratwursts.

*This book, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury, is a great look at “The Queen City’s Culinary Heritage” which includes a lot of German recipes, but also Italian, Greek, French and other ethnic food, as well as southern dishes (Cincinnati is right across the river from Kentucky).  There are also some wonderful sketches of Cincinnati landmarks.  I haven’t seen the book in local stores lately but it occasionally shows up on eBay.

Fresh Fruit Kuchen

Before retiring, I worked for 30 years for a manufacturer’s rep and in the 1980s and 90s he started doing business with Germany.  I took German lessons so I could help with translating the letters we received and to send presentable letters back to Germany.  I also used my limited skills to translate many recipes for the boss’s wife.  One of them was for a fruit kuchen which I adapted to my own taste and what was available in the U.S.  The recipe was a good one and a plum version won a Blue Ribbon at our county fair plus a low-fat recipe contest at a Cincinnati paper.  It makes a very tasty morning coffee cake, especially with fresh peaches.  The results aren’t as good with canned fruit.


3 Tblsp. sour cream

3 Tblsp. milk

3 Tblps. vegetable oil

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp lemon peel

¼ tsp salt

1 cup + 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 lb. fresh fruit, peeled and cored, in thin slices

Cinnamon topping:  2 Tblsp. granulated sugar

and 1 tsp. cinnamon, mixed together

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, oil, sugar and lemon peel.  Mix together the salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda, and gradually stir into sour cream mixture.  Place batter in greased 8″ or 9″ pan.  The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky.  Dampen your hands with water and then press the dough into the pan.

Arrange the peach slices over the top of the cake.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle cinnamon topping over top of cake and continue baking for 5 more minutes.

Place on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Best when eaten warm from the oven.Yield: One 8″ or 9″ kuchen