Saint Martins Croissants | Martinshörnchen

Martinshörnchen (0572)

Martinshörnchen are available only once a year. From November 10th to 11th bakeries in our region, especially around Weimar and Erfurt, offer these delightful pastries to eager customers who often line up in the early hours of the day to get their hands on the freshest pastries. Saint Martin Luther, after whom the croissants are named, was born on November 10th 1483 and spent part of his life at the University of Erfurt and at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach here in Thuringia. 

Saint Martin’s Day on November 11th pays tribute to Martin of Tours the Bishop of Tours and although the people in Thuringia know that the Martinshörnchen are made in honor of Martin Luther it does not stop them from celebrating both Martins with big feasts, colorful parades and sparkly lanterns.

In Thuringia these Saint Martin’s croissants are made of a flaky laminated dough very similar to this Danish dough and filled with rich fillings like marzipan, or fruity preserve. The Polish, who also have their version of the Saint Martin’s croissant, fill their crescent shaped treats with a poppy seed filling. They however celebrate a different Saint Martin on November 11th – this one was a Roman solder.

Martinshörnchen (0574)

Whichever Martin is celebrated in these grey November days, people like me are always thrilled when the celebrations consist of food and treats. I enjoy tasting and testing my way through such specialties and having the opportunity to research their history.

I had the opportunity to do a spontaneous photo shoot for my clients the Thüringen Tourismus last week who were reporting about the Martinshörnchen on their new food blog “Herzenwärmer”. I’ve been working with them on various photo projects and reports since early this summer and am having a ball travelling the region of Thuringia in search of awesome produce, classic dishes and products. Early last month the first of my features focusing on Bratwurst and my own recipe creation featuring bratwurst in this flammkuchen recipe went online and has been a grand hit with the people of Thuringia! The recipe for the whole-wheat flammkuchen with bratwurst on caramelized cabbage and pear in English can be found on my blog too.

Last week’s photo shoot was not only on the spur of the moment but pretty unproblematic. I was given a paper bag filled with these luscious croissants and asked if I’d like to so a quick shoot. I got back to my studio fairly late in the afternoon and the light was rare mostly hiding behind November dark skies. Although I have southwest windows in the studio the room was rather dark. However, after taking a few test shots I was quite dazzled with the light … and yes without my tripod I would not have been able to take these shots.

I had to keep in mind that the client wants most of the images in a landscape format and sometimes has text around the images. Often the images are cropped to fit the header of the main page. Here are a few of the shots I took for them.

Martinshörnchen (0576)

Which one do you think was selected? Have a look at the TTG website J

I leave you this week with these Martinshörnchen. They were made by Wolfgang Süpke, a baker near Erfurt who specializes in these addictive treats and sells more than 3000 croissants in one day! The recipe is also courtesy of Wolfgang who says “I love marzipan” and generously fills his crumbly pastries with it.

Recipe: Martinshörnchen | Saint Martin’s Croissant

Recipe by Wolfgang Süpke
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Makes: 12


  • 500g flour
  • 30g fresh yeast
  • 80g sugar
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 250g milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g vanilla sugar
  • 300g marzipan or marzipan paste
  • 200g icing sugar


  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer add the flour. Make a well in the middle and break the yeast. Pour about 5 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoon sugar into the well and with a fork, lightly mix the mixture taking some of the flour from the sides. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar, egg, butter and salt to the mixture and with the dough hooks of your mixer, knead the dough until it is soft and comes off the sides of the bowl easily. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and allow to rest for another 15 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough in a rectangular form. With a sharp knife cut out about 12 to 15 acute triangles. Place a small walnut sized portion of the marzipan on each triangle, then from the long side roll each triangle towards the tip. Form into a crescent / croissant shape.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the croissants on the tray. Allow to rest for another 15 minutes then bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy. Mix a teaspoon or two of water into the icing sugar so that you get a thick paste. Then brush each croissant with the icing and leave to dry.
Instead of the croissant shape you can form the Martinshörnchen in a lattice form as shown in the images here.

Martinshörnchen (0569)

The props: plates, teas cup and bowl are all courtesy of Kahla - Porcelain for the Senses also an amazing product of Thuringia!

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2014 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. A wonderful speciality. This Hörnchen must taste divine. Here we celebrate this day by eating "Schweinereien" (menu consisting of pig-based dishes)...



    1. Interesting to hear what is eaten in Switzerland Rosa. Here there are the so called Martinsgans - a roasted goose that is often eaten. The Martins Croissant is the extra sweet treat LOL!

  2. Ooh they look great, shame I dislike marzipan. We enjoyed Reformation Day Rolls here in Leipzig recently, haven't seen what is around today :)

    1. Cate you can fill these with preserve or jelly too. But marzipan is so luscious ;)

  3. Ooo filed with marzipan... You know I'm a sucker for marzipan and this sounds and looks wonderful!!

  4. Love the light Meeta, and I am a sucker for all things pastry. Can't wait to make them, thanks for sharing the recipe :-)


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