East is probably the most charming area with its corners of forgotten history and sleepy buildings. The Ampelmann (literally "traffic light man") gives you the ok to cross the busy roads and grab your Berliner wurst or the traditional but southern Pretzerl that appear at every corner lurking passers-by.
Even though I was excited about the look of the varieties of breads, I was even more excited when I discovered the Berlin favourite - Mohnstrietzel.
This cake is made of two heavenly layers: quark and poppy seeds. Quark is a bit like cottage cheese bit slightly more sour - the name itself makes me smile a bit as it makes me think of a science programme we used to have in Italy when I was a child.
Poppy seeds have a distinctive taste, which I might recognize, not everyone likes - R. thinks they taste of mold....I assure you they don't! The only warning is to check your teeth in the mirror before going out again as they might stick in between them! You can find poppy seeds for baking practically in any supermarket or bakery - I've seen a few black dotted rolls in England too.
With a cup of coffee it is a real treat you won't resist!
250g poppy seeds
100g melted butter
6 tsp baking powder
100g law fat quark (that you can replace with either firm yogurt or cottage cheese)
6 tbsp milk
25g ground almond
Mix poppy seeds, butter, 100g sugar, eggs, and ground almond in a bowl. Stir well until blended.
Separately mix the flour with the baking powder. Add the half of the quark, milk, 20g sugar and a pinch of salt. You can also add a few drops of vanilla essence if you wish. Work the ingredients into a dough for about a minute (but no longer as it will become sticky and chewy otherwise).
Roll out on a floured surface into a rectangle of 35x45 cm adding a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky. Spread the poppy seeds mixture and the rest of the quark. Roll up on the longer side and brush with a bit of milk; if you are using a narrower dish just leave it as it is and simply sprinkle the 20g sugar on top.
Place on a greased baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 35 minutes.
We had a lazy afternoon walking along the river (I hadn't even realized Berlin had a river!) ending up in the Ku'Damm, the shopping district in the West side where we ended up in an oasis of calm, Cafe Kultur, which hosts a book shop, a gallery, and a lovely cafe/restaurant in conservatory.