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Swiss Apple Pasta

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Extraordinary apple spätzle from Thurgau, the apple orchard of Switzerland on the beautiful Bodensee lake between Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

You'll find spàtzli [shpatetslee] all over German-speaking Europe, but apple spätzli for dessert is a rather unique contribution from the Swiss canton of Thurgau, right on the German border just across from where they built the Zeppelin. Apple are such a religion that the canton is sometimes called 'Mostindien' - Ciderland.

Apfelspötzli (also spätzle)
300gr flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of cinammon
3 eggs
1 apple
1 glass apple juice
50gr butter
More sugar and cinammon

Sift the flour and make a well. Add the eggs. Here I used a large Moroccan gsâ bowl in cherry wood. Please excuse the funny colors, I made this and the following three pictures with a tilt-shift lens and 3 shots HDR, a bit of fancy digital trickery with modest results.

Mix in the apple juice, sugar, salt and cinammon. Break the yolks and mix the liquid.

Combine everything with a wooden spoon. You can also do this in a mixer.

Add enough flour or enough liquid to obtain a smooth dough liquid enough to go through pea-sized holes (see below). You can always add a little liquid later if too hard.

We will now mix an apple with the spätzli dough.

Peel the apple and grate it finely ...

... be quick and don't let it turn brown.

As soon as you have finished grating the apple, add it to the spätzli ...

... and mix it in. Don't let the apple turn brown.

Plan your workspace with a pot of salted boiling water in the center, a dish inside another filled with hot water to keep the spatzle hot and the spätzli dough on the side. Add a plate to put your tools down, a strainer and kitchen gloves. Ready to go!

As a Swiss lover of world cuisine, I go to great lengths to acquire fancy pots, pans and all sorts of ethnic cookware. I'm glad to say that at last there was one cooking implement I could buy locally. This stainless steel spaetzle scraper is a metal board with holes with a circular shape to fit nicely on a pot of boiling water.

When the water is boiling, take a ladleful of dough and drop it on the spätzli scraper.

Use a plastic scraper to force it through the holes.

Continue until all the dough has gone through. Here is what it looks like from below.

Boil until the spätzli are hard. Make several batches and remove cooked spätzli to the hot bowl on the side. Add some butter and move them a little to prevent sticking.

Remove with a sieve.

This dish is flavored with breadcrumbs. If you don't have any breadcrumbs on hand or just don't like industrial breadcrumbs, do as follows. Place thin bread slices in an oven heated to 60-80C° and let them dry for 30 minutes or as long as it takes for them to be totally dry and crumbly.

Place the dried bread slices in a mixer.

Close and mix vigorously until you reach the consistency you want.


Melt the butter in a large pan with a thick bottom.

Use a large spoon to delicately place the boiled spätzli into the frying pan and butter.

Move the spätzli around so that they are evenly coated with butter and gradually add the rest.

Swiss and German cooks rarely sauté spätzli but Alsatian chefs do. The sautéeing browns them and adds some crispiness and taste. I warmly recommend this although in Thurgau I don't think anybody does it. Move constantly to prevent any sticking.

When your spätzli start turning nicely brown on the ridges, add the breadcrumbs...


... and mix thoroughly.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon, toss and call your guests to the table.

Serve warm...

... with vanilla ice cream for instance. Really delicious!

Since I published this article many people have asked me about my spaetzle scraper. I went back to the shop but they no longer stock it, and there is no marks of any kind on the utensil. Finally I found the exact same spaetzle scraper on Amazon.com for only $18! 



This dish reminds me of Michel Richard's apple risotto. But his "risotto" is made of apples only, plus sugar,butter,cinnamon etc. I don't have a  spätzle grate, so..for now, I have to dream about it.. Thanks!!
The spatzli are beautiful -- I can only imagine how good they taste.  I've got to try this!It reminds me of an austrian dish my friend's grandmother made for me once when I visited.  It used a pancake-like batter instead of spatzli.  The batter is more or less stir-fried with minced apples and cinnamon sugar added, and fried until tender.  
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
This apple risotto sounds quite intriguing! Definitely lighter than my Apfelspatzli - I'll look into it.
  • #4
  • Answered by fx
Allen, you are right, this is quite close to Kaiserschmarren, crepe batter cooked like scrambled eggs. I love it too!
  • #5
  • Comment by acediac
FX, I must say that your site is one of my favorite food sites that I've found recently. I'm in culinary school right now and your posts are really inspiring. It's nice to find others that are as obsessed with food as I am.. I need to go buy some apples! I haven't had spätzle in a long time.Cheese_puff, I too, do not have a spatzle grate, but instead try using a colander. I've had about the same results! I'm not particularly fond of uni-tasking equipment because I can't always find places to store it.
cheese_puffIf you don't have a  spätzle grate, push the batter through a pasta colander (drainer). This is how my mom used to make it.
  • #7
  • Comment by mk
Great article, BEAUTIFUL photography. I love your Moroccan gsâ bowl, I haven't been able to find anything like it trolling the kitchen websites. Could you tell me where you found yours so I know where to start looking? Thanks!
  • #8
  • Comment by Dave
If you just add a little acid, such as lime or vinegar to the apple (depending on taste) it will prevent it from oxidizing (turning brown) you can really add very little lime/lemon and it will hardly affect the taste. although i might say the taste would probably be slightly more interesting with it.
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Acediac thanks for visiting, I am most pleased to hear that a future chef can find inspiration in my blog! You are quite right that single-function cookware is often a waste of space. The spätzli grate is a mild case of this - it is so flat it will fit in any kitchen!
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
William, the colander trick to make spaetzle looks like a mighty fine idea!
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
MK, outside Morocco I have seen such large, flat bowls only in Japan in shops specializing in soba noodles equipment. I realize this is hardly any help  - perhaps you could use a large flat ceramic bowl in the meanwhile? This specific gsâa was made from one large piece of walnut tree trunk and didn't cost very much - about $50. A nice reason to visit Marrakesh!
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
Dave, you are quite right, a pinch of lemon will prevent the apple from turning brown and might improve the taste!
  • #13
  • Comment by annie
Just today I claimed I had too many recipes and would no longer print any from the internet. your article was so tempting that I have broken that vow already! I have a dear friend who is Austrian and I would like to try this apple spatzle for her. thanks so very much.
  • #14
  • Comment by PJ
I have a spatzle machine that my mother bought in Germany before I was born. ( I was born in Germany!) Growing up we had spatzle about every month. When my mother passed away, I inherited the machine. It is the one you place the grate across the pot of boiling water and then fill the hopper and start passing the dough across the grates. It takes arm power! I am wondering where I can get a spatzle maker like the one you are using in the pics above. It looks alot easier and safer! I can't wait to make these apple spatzles!  They look wonderful!  Anything fried in butter is delicious! My husband loves when I make spatzle and stands over the frying pan when they are frying!! He said they'll make you "pretty"!Thanks for the recipe!
Now that looks really yummy! I'll have to give that a go and see how it turns out! I'll have to use my potato ricer though as I don't have one of those marvellous flat screens to use to push the batter through!Mmm I wonder what it'll be like with carrots and courgettes grated up instead of the apple (And maybe not served with icecream but a little cheese sauce...)Thanks for the inspirational photos!
  • #16
  • Comment by Mary Neitzel
My son sent your apple spaetzle recipe to me in hopes that I will make it when he visits.  My family loves when I prepare regular spaetzle and this recipe would be the best finish to a meal.  I will try it soon.
  • #17
  • Comment by day
I liked this way of preparing a dish, quite new to me , it inspired me, one can make it with potato grates ,and add cheese instead of bread crumbs or with eggplants, and add garlic powder to the bread crumbs, with zucchinis too it will be good. Thanks for the article!
  • #18
  • Comment by John Kessell
God! The Swiss Apple Pasta!  Marvellous! And the photography! Good stuff!
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
Annie you don't really need to print out my recipe - just bookmark it. Good luck with the apple spaetzli!
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
PJ you can make spaetzle using a colander for instance, but to buy the utensil I used in my article you need to come to Switzerland or Germany!
  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Diane thanks for your nice comment! I think you should be able to make nice spaetzle with your potato ricer, but am not sure that zuchini would add much to the spaetzle.
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
Mary what better praise for my humble article could I receive than a son sending it to his mother? I hope you'll manage to try it - it is delicious and makes for a nice departure from traditional spaetzle.
  • #23
  • Answered by fx
John, thanks for your visit and hope you'll be back on my blog soon!
  • #24
  • Comment by john
Where do you get the speatzle cover with the handle? can I get a company name and address? please. I have showed this article and picture of the pan thingy to a cooking supply store and they would die to order this. It is like the coolest and I want one and want to also know how much are they? in american money that is.
Great article.  Loved the pics!  I think I am going to give this a try using a potato ricer!
I really like the huge colorful photographs and I think I'll try this recipe for breakfast.  Looks good.
  • #27
  • Comment by margaret
This is a beautiful informative site.  Thanks
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
John, I bought it at Globus, a department store in Lausanne. You could get a plastic version online for about 15$ from Betty Bossi (http://www.bettybossi.ch/fr/shop/shop_prod_deta.aspx?aid=28645) but I am not sure they'll ship to the US. I'll try to find the manufacturer of mine and will list it here.
  • #29
  • Answered by fx
Thanks and good luck Christine!
  • #30
  • Answered by fx
Thanks Elizabeth, let me know how the apple spätzli work for you!
  • #31
  • Comment by SirDonko
I am not familiar with the unit gr.  From what I found it is a grain... I could be wrong and I do not know how to use this measurement for cooking.  I googled some converters and came up with nothing of use and I do not have a scale. I am used to using cups and tbsp can someone help me out in converting please?
  • #32
  • Answered by fx
SirDonko, 'gr' stands for Grams, a thousand of them make 1 kg. I'll try to figure out volume conversion.
  • #33
  • Comment by PJ
Can you tell me the brand name of the "spaetzle utensil" you are using? The company name that makes it? I am absolutely sure that I can find it online and buy it. German stores have "online stores".  I will send you a picture of my spaetzel machine my mom bought in Germany before I was born.  It still works like the day she bought it but it takes alot of strength to hold the colander part on top of the pot of boiling water and then the other hand has to pull the chute full of dough across the grate. I really like the one you are using because it looks like it would fit perfectly, covering my pot I use to make this mouth watering treat!Thanks for your help!
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
Couldn't find the brand name of my own spaetzle maker, but you can buy another one all in stainless steel from SwissMilk.ch, and it looks quite nice. Otherwise try with a colander. I'll report back when I can find the damn brand name of my spätzli grate, but have to back to the shop and pray they still stock it because there is no brand name on the grate itself.
  • #35
  • Comment by Stahlregen
Actually, those are not Spätzle, but rather Knöpfle ("small buttons", from german Knopf = Button). Traditionally, Spätzle are scraped from a cutting board into boiling salt water with a special scraper, resulting in an irregular, noodly shape - depending on how firm your dough is and how thin you scrape them, you either get thinner and longer spätzle, or stumpy, thick knöpfle. Most appliances (my advice would be to try searching for "Spätzlehobel" to find those) tend to produce knöpfle, mostly. The texture differences between the two variants do have an influence on the taste.If you want to scrape them, try getting a cutting board with a handle and a metal scraper, if possible (a flat knife can do the trick, too). Get a pot of boiling salt water, and put one or two spoons of dough on your cutting board. The dough should be sticky enough to only run down very slowly when you tilt one edge of the board down into the water. Wet your scraper by dipping it into the water and then use it to spread the dough to a thin layer. Now the idea is to cut off the lower edge of the spread dough and shove it down into the water, then repeat. If the dough flows too far down or your way to the water becomes too long, spread it again. Continue until the whole water surface is covered with spätzle, then let them cook for minute or so and remove them with a skimming ladle. Rinse and repeat.I wish I was as good as this as my grandma - I always end up with a mixture of spätzle and knöpfle.
I make it with my ricer. Works great.   
  • #37
  • Answered by fx
Stahlregen, you are inded a fine observer and make a very valid point. My recipe is for spätzle and I made them a bit shorter than regular spätzle, and I agree that the proper word for this would be "Knöpfle" (German for 'little bouton'). I've seen many of the spätzle graters you describe, but they make you place both hands right above the open pot of boiling water. Steamed chef hands part of the menu perhaps? Anyway, thanks for visiting and for pointing this out!
Wonderful recipe! I just got a Spätzlepresse, which immediately made a Swabian friend of mine cry bitter tears, but really: must faster than the Spatzenbrett. 'twas very tasty, my normal recipe, but yours here is definitely next on the list! & :-)
  • #39
  • Comment by Mich
Looks absolutely fabulous! I would like to make this for a family gathering, and wondered approx. how many people this recipe would serve? I thought of doubling it for 6 people? Great pictures by the way - kudos!
Beautiful images make me want to rush out and make this.
  • #41
  • Answered by fx
Mona good luck with your apple pasta, it is a great way to change the usual spaetzle which can become quite a bore after some time. Try it with some vanilla ice cream maybe!
  • #42
  • Answered by fx
Mich sorry I was out and hope my reply is not too late. As a dessert you can make this recipe twice and have generous portions!
  • #43
  • Answered by fx
Jonathan thanks for visiting!
Hi there

I just found your blog through stumbleupon and am loving the design, nice and clean and simple. The recipes are looking nice as well and can certainly see myself making some of them in the future. I am actually looking for people with excellent food photos who want to share them with the world and interact with other foodies. I started by blogging myself about a year ago and was frustrated that not enough people were seeing the quality content I had and saw huge potential for people to share their food photos and videos with a bigger audience and ultimately drive more traffic back to their own site. Check me out at www.ifoods.tv and let me know what you think and keep up the good work on the blog!
  • #45
  • Answered by fx
Niall, thanks and good luck with your business!
  • #46
  • Comment by PJ
Any luck finding the name of your spatzel grate? I have been searching the internet for one but I have had no luck. You can buy just about anything you want from anywhere in the World online but no luck finding a Spatzel Grate like yours. I am not going to stop looking though!!!!

This looks delicious! Your photos are beautiful! I highly enjoyed reading this!!
  • #48
  • Answered by fx
PJ, you can now buy the same grate on Amazon on http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/B0009Q2LI4/fxc-20
  • #49
  • Answered by fx
Shannon, thanks for visiting and for your comment!
  • #50
  • Comment by meramarina
I have been a bit obsessed with this glorious food since seeing these photos recently--whoever thought that fruit peels, boiled dough and breadcrumbs could be so beautiful?--and Apfelspätzli appears in my life at the most fortunate time, because I will be in Switzerland next week!  I'll make the real thing, with genuine Thurgau apples!  Surely, the Deity of Dessert has blessed me.

I asked my friend Guido from Andwil in the canton of St. Gallen about this.  He wrote that he calls it öpfelchnöpfli.  Here in New Jersey, we have a summer carnival treat, funnel cakes, that looks very similar, but our version is just deep-fried dough with sugar on top, and the dough is squirted from a bottle rather than scraped.  I'm sure this is superior.  I can't wait to try it!  Really, these photos should be in Swiss tourism brochures;  forget all those mountains and cows!

So, this will be my first attempt at making Swiss cuisine, and I'm lucky enough to try it in a Swiss kitchen.  I'm not all that skillful with a stove, and the village of Andwil may go up in smoke and flames, but, should you hear of a fiery incident across the country, know that one American visitor to the land of Apple Pasta has died VERY HAPPILY! (if I got to eat it first, I mean)

One question, in case of success:  Can this dish be prepared with any other fruit, such as pomegranates or pears?  Thank you!

  • #51
  • Comment by Patricia
Wow!  Amazing photos, very detailed. This is a cool website! Step by step photos like this really helps, I can't wait to try this recipe!  I'll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully it will turn out just like how it looks and I can suprise my co-workers (where all foodies) and tell them I made it myself!  Thanks!  
  • #52
  • Answered by fx
Patricia, good luck with your Swiss Apple Pasta, it's a great recipe. You can get the special grate on Amazon. Have fun!
  • #53
  • Answered by fx
Meramarina, thanks for visiting and good luck if you try this. No, I don't think you can use another fruit for this but who knows? You should however make sure to find a proper spätzli grate, most of them will burn your hands above the hot water - but that won't set the kitchen on fire.
  • #54
  • Comment by meramarina
The pilgrimage was successful!  Nobody was injured, and the spätzi was as delicious as I had hoped.  My Swiss friend's mother did a lot of the work, since she's an experienced Swiss cook, and she had the proper sort of back-and-forth sliding scraper in her kitchen.  I searched for one to purchase, but I was told this implement is old-fashioned and mostly no longer in use.  

This nice Swiss lady used your recipe--it makes A LOT!  And, thanks very much for posting the German translation;  She doesn't speak much English and it was a great help.  The only difficulty we had was getting the grated apple into the dough.  The pieces would not easily go through the holes in the grate.

We also made a plain version without the apples, sugar and cinnamon--also wonderful!  
Thank you for helping to make my visit to Switzerland extra-special with this recipe!  
  • #55
  • Answered by fx
Mera Marina, thanks for keeping us posted on this great Swiss expedition of yours - apparently it was a resounding success. Congratulations! You can gate spätzli grates off Amazon.com nowadays, try to get the one that covers the whole pot so you'll get to save the skin of your hands from burning!
  • #56
  • Comment by don siranni
Fx: before I try this-what's HDR? I can guess,but can't think of actually what could be,and I thought I knew intimately all these products..
  • FX's answer→ Don, I regret to inform you that HDR is not edible but rather a digital photography technique where several pictures of the same thing are stitched together to provide more details in the shadows and highlights. You take a very dark picture, a normal one and a very light picture, and by combining them you get to show more than the camera can normally see without clipping to black or white because there is just too much or too little light.

  • #58
  • Comment by Karen Bonfantini
So glad I stumbled upon your website.  I have never had spaetzle, but after seeing your recipe, I requested a spaetzle maker for Christmas.  Made it yesterday and it was wonderful.      
  • FX's answer→ Karen I hope that Christmas brought the requested spaetzle maker!

  • #60
  • Comment by Kim
I have just discovered spaetzle in general.  

This looks so yummy.

Wonderful article with great pictures.

I'm off in search of the spaetzle tool you used.

Thanks for sharing.
  • FX's answer→ Kim, in fact you can order the spaetzle grid from Amazon, I put a link in the article. Have fun!

  • #62
  • Comment by Claudio Czapski
Hi François
I was just looking for spätzle scrapers and I found one almos identical to yours, made by Fissler in Germany. Available in several stores (such as Galeria Kaufhof) for about 30 euros.
  • FX's answer→ Well done Claudio, good luck with your first batch of apple spaetzli!

  • #64
  • Comment by nameShirley Freed
This appears to be a recipe I should like to try.  Why am I unable to download the last half (?) of the recipe's instruction?
  • #65
  • Comment by Susan Kline
I love your recipe and will be sure to try it.  I grew up eating spaetzle (our family's way of spelling it) and forgot how much I enjoyed it.  My grandmother and her sisters made it and it was delicious. Their heritage is Swiss and a grandmother from Alsace Lorraine which I'm told varied between French and German.  We never had a dessert version and I want to use yours.  It sounds and looks so very good.  The dishes I remember where the spaetzles were added were sauerbraten and pork with sauerkraut.  Delicious!.  Thanks so much for sharing and giving me a trip down memory lane!  And I love your pictures.  I think they add a great deal to the recipe.  Regards, Susan
  • #66
  • Comment by Matthew
I tried your recipe, but it didn't turn out very well.  I think I may have used too much apple juice in the dough.  How much liquid is one glass supposed to be in imperial measurements?  I tried one cup, but the dough seemed a little too runny.

I'll try it again soon though, hopefully with better results.
DRIED MANGO IS HEAVENLY!! YAY for a hanubsd approved meal I am SURE my hanubsd would approve of that meal too, it looks incredible!  I think apples and chicken sound amazing together!
  • FX's answer→ Good idea thanks

Text-only version printed from http://FXcuisine.com/default.asp?Display=146 - visit the online version to see many gorgeous pictures of this recipe!
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