Almost every bakery in Germany sells these pastries in one variation or the other: made of yeast dough or puff pastry, round or in form of a pretzel, plain with only custard or topped with fruit.
The easiest and quickest way to make these at home is with Quark-Öl-Teig, a very versatile and low-fat dough made with Quark (Greek yogurt works great as a substitute here) and oil.
I am a purist who loves to make things from scratch whenever possible but if you want to take a shortcut for the custard, you can use packaged vanilla pudding mix for cooked pudding. Make sure to reduce the amount of milk given in the package recipe by half because you need a firm custard for this recipe.
These pastries are not very sweet; add more sugar to the custard if you like.
My photographer insisted they look like eggs sunny side up, and on his is own special setup:
Custard Pastries with Apricots (Puddingteilchen)
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup (240 ml) milk (reduced-fat or whole)
Seeds of ½ vanilla bean
2 cups (10 ounces/280 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 ounces (150 g) Quark or 0% Greek yogurt
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (reduced-fat or whole), as needed
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons canola oil
8 apricot halves, canned and drained or fresh/frozen and skinned
Melted butter for brushing
1. For the custard stir the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Bring the milk with the vanilla to a boil. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in in the egg mixture. Return to the heat and simmer over low heat until the custard thickens, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. For the dough combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon, then knead using your hands or the dough hook of an electric mixer. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth and pliable but not moist and tacky.
4. Shape the dough into an even log and divide into 8 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface roll out each piece to a 7-inch (18 cm) circle. It does not have to be perfectly round, as you can perfect the shape later. Roll up the edges and pinch them together to form a rim. Place four pieces on each baking sheet, leaving ample space between them.
5. Pinch the edges some more and adjust the shape of each piece. Divide the cooled custard among the pieces and evenly spread it with a knife.
6. Place an apricot half in the center of each piece.
7. Brush the edges of each piece with melted butter. Bake each baking sheet in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately transfer the pastries to a cake rack to cool. They taste best the same day.
Makes 8 pieces