Recipe: White asparagus with speck in orange chervil cream sauce

Even under the current conditions in Germany, you cannot ignore “White Gold” season. Germans mark Spargelzeit by making white asparagus the star of a special meal.

Recipe: White asparagus with speck in orange chervil cream sauce
Photo: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

Unlike the green variety, white asparagus must be peeled before cooking. Peel and boil the white asparagus for this recipes.

Then, pour a luscious, creamy, orange white wine sauce spiked with chervil over the cooked asparagus. Add speck or thick cut bacon pieces as well. Leave these out for a lighter, vegetarian version.

SEE ALSO: For the love of Spargel: Why Germany has eased border rules amid the coronavirus pandemic

SEE ALSO: Recipe: Easy white and green Spargel tart

White Asparagus with Speck in Orange Chervil Cream Sauce

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Servings 4


1 kilo white asparagus

1 pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon white granulated sugar

1 orange

115g speck or thick cut bacon cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 shallots

1 tablespoon orange marmalade

125 ml dry white wine

230g heavy cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil, plus more for garnish

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Photo: Lora Wiley-Lennartz


– Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the salt and the sugar.

– While the water is boiling, peel the white asparagus and cut off the woody bottom ends.

– Place the peeled asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 20 minutes.

– Drain the asparagus, reserving 125 ml cup of the asparagus water.

– Place the cooked asparagus on a warm plate, cover with aluminum foil and stow in a warm place. Set aside.

– Wash the orange and pat dry.

– If you like, for garnish, peel some thin strips of the orange and set them aside. Zest the orange. Cut the orange in half and juice both halves.

– Peel the shallots and cut into small pieces.

– Place a layer of paper towels next to the stove.

– In a medium-sized skillet heat the thick cut bacon pieces and cook until crispy.

-Transfer the speck or bacon pieces from the pan to the prepared layer of paper towels and blot away the excess grease. Set aside.

– Add the tablespoon of unsalted butter to the pan. when the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook until the shallots are caramelized.

– Add the orange zest to the pan and stir to combine.

– Add the 1/2 cup of the reserved asparagus water to the pan. Add the orange juice to the pan and stir to combine.

– Stir in the tablespoon of orange marmalade. Simmer for 5 minutes.

– Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.

– Add the heavy cream to the pan and stir everything together.

– Add the chervil to the sauce and mix it in thoroughly. Mix in the pre-cooked thick cut bacon.

– Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

– Cook a few more minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened or it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

– Retrieve the cooked white asparagus from its warm place. Arrange on a serving plate and pour the hot orange chervil cream sauce over the top, garnish with orange peels and chopped fresh chervil and serve.

Lora Wiley-Lennartz is an Emmy nominated television producer and a food/destination blogger who splits her time between Germany and New York City. Read her blog Diary of a Mad Hausfrau or follow her on Facebook for traditional German recipes with a twist.

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Easter recipe: How to make German ‘Kleckskuchen’

A Kleckskuchen in German translates to something like “blob cake”. A yeasted cake base with four separate topping elements added on top in blobs creates an unusual patchwork effect.

Easter recipe: How to make German 'Kleckskuchen'
Making this traditional recipe is well worth the final result. Photo courtesy of Lora Wiley

This streusel-topped cake is a specialty of Oberlausitz, or the Upper Lusatia region of Germany and Poland dating back to the 1400s.

Kleckskuchen is fun to make with kids. However, if you are concerned about the tablespoon of rum in the poppy seed filling and cherry jam, just leave it out.

Alternatively, substitute vanilla extract. Instead of cherry jam, use any variety, or a mixture of jams you have on hand. This is a great opportunity to get rid of those pesky half and quarter full jars left in your fridge.

The recipe makes a lot of cake. Consequently, it’s an ideal dessert to bring to potlucks or any sort of festivity this summer.

However, it also freezes well. Make sure you wrap each individual piece in plastic cling film and seal them in a ziplock bag before tossing into the freezer.

The final product. Photo courtesy of Lora Wiley

Kleckskuchen – Cherry Poppy Seed Streusel Cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rise time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: 20 pieces
For the cake base:
• 400g flour
• 125ml lukewarm milk
• 30g wet yeast
• 60g white granulated sugar
• 100g butter, melted
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the poppy seed filling:
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• 250ml milk
• 20g unsalted butter
• 30g semolina or spelt flour
• 100g crushed poppy seeds
• 50g white granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon rum
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the sour cream filling:
• 1 egg
• pinch of salt
• 250g quark
• 4 tablespoons milk
• 80g white granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the streusel:
• 175g flour
• 100g white granulated sugar
• 1/2 package vanilla sugar
• 100g melted butter
• 250g cherry jam
• 1 tablespoon rum

Learn how to make this tasty poppy seed filling. Photo courtesy of Lora Wiley

Make the cake base:
• Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour.
• Add  3 tablespoons of the lukewarm milk and break up the yeast into the
• When the yeast starts to bubble, add the sugar and rub the mixture
between your hands to distribute the yeast.
• Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm place for 15 minutes.
• Add the melted butter, the rest of the milk, egg and salt and knead
together into a smooth dough.
• Cover the bowl once again and let stand 15 minutes.
• Line a 25 cm x 35 cm sheet pan with baking paper. Grease the sides.
• Roll out the dough into a rectangle, transfer it to the pan and spread it out
to the edges.
• Let stand for 20 minutes.
Make the poppy seed filling:
• Mix together the lemon zest, milk, butter and semolina in a skillet and
bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. The mixture should become thick like pudding.
• Let cool and whisk in the poppy seeds, sugar, egg, rum, and cinnamon.
Make the sour cream filling:
• Separate the egg.
• Place the egg white in a mixer, add the pinch of salt.
• Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.
• Mix together the quark, milk, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla.
• Fold the egg white into the mixture.
Make the streusel:
• Whisk together the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar.
• Add the melted butter. Use your hand or a fork to mix together until
the streusel forms.

Assemble the cake:
• Mix the cherry jam together with the rum. Cover the cake layer, alternating
with tablespoon sized blobs of the poppy seed filling, sour cream filling, and the jam.
• Sprinkle the streusel over the top and let the cake stand for another 15
• Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
• Bake for 25-30 minutes.
• Remove from oven. Let cool. Cut and serve.