A treat from my childhood
The story you may skip but shouldn’t and even if you did, you’d still have to scroll down to get to the recipe so you might as well just go ahead and read it.
I’m a middle-of-the-summer birthday kid – consequently, my birthdays have always been during summer vacays – school, university, theatre – and all my friends were usually oot and aboot (whenever I write that phrase, there is a little Rose Tyler in my head mocking the Scottish accent in Tooth and Claw, NewWhoS2E2), travelling the world whereas I was stuck in real-life farmville. My brother’s birthday on the other hand is in November. Same day as Boris Becker, who once was less of a media person and more of a very passionate and successful tennis player and since my whole family played tennis, too (although less successful) that was a neat thing to have in common. I share my birthday with Ginger Spice but I wasn’t (allowed to be) such a big fan of the Spice Girls so definitely felt a sting of jealousy that he got a childhood hero both my parents approved of – and it was a rare thing they had the same opinion on something! And yeah, his classmates sang a tone-deaf happy birthday on his special day and if he had ever pursued a career in managing an orchestra, I bet he’d gotten a professionally played symphonic rendition of the worldwide classic, too.
I don’t wanna complain (she said after complaining for a whole paragraph) – I got grilling, camp fire and I picked my two long-time boyfriends #1 on the day after and #2 on the day after the day after my birthday. This way, we could celebrate together and I could immediately take revenge should they dare to forget about my birthday (spoiler: like my Mum did last year). Handsome, nice, smart single men out there – if your birthday is on the 9th of August, you’re the lucky one, you’re next in line XoXo :-*
However, another thing my brother had and I didn’t – we’re slowly approaching the recipe y’all waiting for – were chocolate hedgehogs, one of my Mum’s specialties. “They melt in the summer, it’s too hot, you can’t have them” she would say, and add: “But Per will share them when it’s his birthday” and of course, his birthday came and the chocolate hedgehogs looked so yummy and squeaked EATMEEATME and my brother, being a proper big brother ergo being mean to his little sister would be like “You gotta be nice to me all day, they are MINE and if you don’t do what I tell you you won’t get any.” Dear readers, just so you know, I’m making a very grumpy face writing this. It still hurts.
And here we are – many years later. My brother is living down under where – guess what – it’s too hot in November to make any ornamented chocolate desserts! HarHarHar!! Rache ist süß, and so are these tasty treats, oh sweet revenge, does it sting yet, big brother, does it?
Yes, I made them. For his birthday. And sent him a picture and told him I ate them all by myself (I shared. Alas not with him, obviously.) And, unlike many childhood treats, these are not only in memory but for real still amazing and therefore this recipe is dedicated to all little sisters who were ripped of a sweet treat simply because they were born in the wrong season….
Step 1 – Basic Stuff
Knead 160g plain flour, 60g white sugar, a pinch of salt, 100g butter to a smooth dough and chill in the fridge for minimum an hour. Roll out and cut out 12 hedgehog bases. I simply made a cardboard template, similar to a raindrop and appr. 9cm long and 7cm wide. Bake in the preheated oven (190°C) for about 10 minutes. Let them cool down on a cookie rack.
Step 2 – Filling Part I
Crumble a (storebought) sponge cake base. Heat up 50g white sugar and 3tbsp water on the stove. Add 2cl Rum and pour the liquid over the crumbs. Mix and mingle and let it soak for minimum 30 minutes.
Step 3 – Filling Part II
Whisk 3tbsp milk, 1 bag of cream pudding (not sure what exactly that is in English – the German is Sahnepudding but chocolate pudding should be fine, too. The chocolater, the better, as they say!) and 2 eggyolks. Boil 500ml milk with 150g sugar, add the pudding mixture, let it boil up again while stirring and then keep stirring till it has cooled down a little. Whisk 150g butter till frothy and add it spoon by spoon – or, as a very innocent Julia once thought was the correct verb, spoon it, which definitely means nothing else than transporting food with a spoon from A to B, A and B preferably being bowl and mouth. Pour the whole thing over the sponge cake crumb mixture, add some ground cinnamon and ginger and let it sit and cool down completely.
Step 4 – Hedgehogging
This is a literal translation from the original recipe: place the filling on the hedgehog bases and carefully mold it into hedgehog shape. That’s all it says. Like, any advice on how to? My experience is that its best to put a tablespoon of filling onto each cookie and if there is any left, distribute equally. Take a teaspoon and mold it into a smooth round shape with the back of the spoon.
Step 5 – Cover your traces and spike it up
Liquefy 350g dark bitter chocolate glazing. Have 40g almond slivers ready. Now comes the tricky part. The glazing dries up so quickly, that you have to be super fast in covering your carefully molded hedgehog filling and then stick in the almond slivers like spikes. I would cover half a hedgehog and spike it and then do the other half because that stuff dries up sooooo quickly, it could get very frustrating when your almond sliver cracks your chocolate glazing up like a very heavy person standing on a not so supportive frozen lake. Don’t forget to leave the sharp end spike free, because well, that’s what hedgehogs look like. Store them in a cool place (we would just put them outside).
Reviews from people I shared them with (not my brother, obviously): “I only wanted to have a bite but it was so tasty, I couldn’t help myself and ate it in one go” / “they are so ornate” / “they looked and tasted simply wonderful” Five Stars all around ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Happy Birthday 🎶 to my brother Down Under, a belated Happy Birthday 🎶 to me, and generally mostly Oh Happy Days 🎶 to all of us.