In our house Nachtisch was almost as important (at least for kids) as Abendessen (Dinner) and warmes Mittagsessen (warm Midday Meal in Germany). What is Nachtisch? Nachtisch means “after table”, so Nachtisch, is dessert! (Not to be confused with Nachttisch… the bedside table). Our world seems so focused on reducing calories or doing away with treats, so it might seem odd to think about serving dessert every day. But, it was seldom an elaborate treat. We aren’t talking about a layer cake. My mother would make a simple fruit compote, fruit salad, applesauce, or a pudding. Our dinner just wasn’t done until the plates had been cleared away and the Schälchen (little bowls) had been brought to the table. It satisfied the sweet tooth, and made us less likely to snack later.
What is Nachtisch? It’s Dessert!
My Oma always served Nachtisch after the Mittagsessen plates were cleared (remember, that’s the bigger warm meal in Germany). My cousins and I would crowd back onto the Eckbank excited to see what was coming through the sliding door to the kitchen. Oma would bring 2 or 3 big glass serving bowls to the table, and we would help ourselves by scooping it in to the leaf patterned Glasschälchen. Well, except for my oldest cousin… Oma always made him his very own serving bowl full, because he had a big appetite. He was also a slow eater, so we’d all glare at him for having so much all to himself AND taking forever to eat it. (To this day, he’s still a slow eater who savors his food, and he’s thin as a rail….Maybe he’s on to something). Chocolate Pudding with a pitcher of Vanilla Soße, Quark with Cherry Sauce on top, Apfelmuss made from the apples off her trees. Something sweet and not too heavy to round off the meal.
All of these memories flooded back to me last night when I made up a packet of Dr Oetker’s Happiness Bourbon-Vanilla Pudding. I put the little bowls on the table, and got the strangest looks from my family. And I realized… it has been a while since I served my family Nachtisch immediately following the meal. I’ve been searching my brain to figure out why? Was it a diet? Was it a question of cultural differences with my guy? Somewhere along the way, I stopped setting out the little bowls… Nachtisch sort of went away or became something we would grab from the Kitchen when we were hungry later in the evening, and although I still made Fruit Salad or Compote (and left it for all to enjoy)… generally it ended up being Ice Cream or a Cookie. Not a very healthy way to eat right before bed.
I resolved to bring back Nachtisch!
My family is already excited to see what arrives on tonight’s table. (It will be Rhubarb Compote with Vanilla Pudding). My plan is to hit the Farmer’s Market for more fruit, and I will also be ordering more packets of pudding mix (the German versions have much less sugar). Later this week, Rote Grütze!
Arc International 40380 Luminarc Canterbury serving bowl6 small bowlsVintage clear glass bowls dishes – set of 4 – ribbed optical glass and rose motif – perfect for puddingsWalther Glass Bowl Set, ON THE ROCKS Walther Glass Dessert or Salad Bowls
For some GREAT Nachtisch Ideas
Where to Buy German Pudding Mixes
Is there a better way to satisfy my sweet tooth than by recreating Oma’s big bowls of Schokoladenpudding mit Vanille Soße? (and although I’m tempted, there won’t be a special big bowl on the table unless my cousin comes to visit). What I love about German Pudding mixes is that they don’t have as much sugar. They have delicious flavor, but aren’t overly sweet. Most of these packets come as 3 packs, and each pack serves 2 to 4 people (or one sweet-toothed cousin).
Dr Oetker Happiness
Was there EVER a more inviting name? This pudding comes together in 3 minutes… just add milk, and whisk it up in a mixer.
Super Easy to WHIP UP
Dr Oetker Gala Pudding
Made from the highest quality ingredients, Gala pudding contains actual chocolate or nut pieces. This pudding needs cooking… and you can adjust the sugar!
Vanilla Soße! Vanilla Dessert Sauce
THIS simple sauce is what elevates simple pudding to perfection.
Rote Grütze is a sort of fruit based pudding. It’s not compote… it’s thicker (and is lovely with whipped cream)
Dr Oetker Chocolateria
Creamy smooth, and quick to prepare. Just add milk, cook and pour into bowls.
Just add milk and sugar, then cook and let cool before serving (if you can wait).
Dr Oetker MOUSSE!
Mousse is just fancy pudding… and these are so easy to whip up why not serve it on a Tuesday?
Dr. Oetker Milk Chocolate Mousse Light, 1.3 Ounce (Pack of 12)Dr. Oetker Strawberry Mousse, 2.4-Ounce (Pack of 6)Dr. Oetker Double Chocolate Supreme Mousse (12×4.2 OZ)Dr Oetker French Vanilla Mousse, 2.7-Ounce (Pack of 6)