In Disney's "Tangled" (2010) it's revealed that Rapunzel's favorite soup is hazelnut with parsnips. That's a very interesting detail to include, especially as there's never even a scene with the soup in it, only the mention of it.
"I brought back parsnips. I'm going to make hazelnut soup for dinner–you're favorite. Surprise!"–Mother Gothel, "Tangled"
I'm impressed that parsnips are included because they are an allusion to the parsnip-like roots of the rampion plant. Rapunzel is the German word for rampion, the German Brothers Grimm version of tale being the most well-known (the 1857 version of it anyway). As for hazelnuts, they are a common ingredient in German cooking.
Just FYI, in the original Rapunzel tales she is not a princess. She is the daughter of a common couple. In the Italian version of the story, Petrosinella, which predates the Grimm Brothers' publication, there isn't even a father, only a pregnant woman wanting parsley denoting that she may have been wanting to abort the child and the "ogress" neighbor was someone who wanted to adopt the child. Parsley in high concentrations was used as an aid in abortion (and is still used that way today) and honestly, it makes more sense. I mean, why would a couple give up their baby for lettuce? This is one of those fairy tales that has seen a lot of change through the years, as well as change through cultures. Also, in the 1812 version of the story collected by the Grimms, Rapunzel becomes pregnant and gives birth to twins before she and the oft-visiting prince are married (they're not married until seven years later). This is one reason why Frau Gothel (as named in the Grimm versions) wanted to keep her from the world and away from men. At least the prince took responsibility (and we assume he loved her) and searched for Rapunzel at the end and married her. It is a sad tale if you look into it, but its fantastical elements of a beautiful girl with such long hair who becomes a princess is very memorable. In "Tangled", Disney has lent its voice, as it has many times before, to the tradition of shaping fairy and folk tales into something acceptable/appropriate (and fun!) for the culture of the time.
If you'd like to learn a little more about the fairytales of the brothers Grimm, take a listen to this episode of the Fiction Kitchen Podcast. Carrie and I talk about several fairy tales, overarching themes, and of course, the foods.
Note: You end up with a goodly portion of hazelnut meal (fine bits) while making the soup below (more specifically, making the hazelnut milk for the soup), so further down you'll find a recipe for hazelnut crackers that will use most of it up. In a couple of the photos in this post you might notice that there are two types of crackers. I contemplated putting both recipes up, but decided on the one below because it's a good pairing with this soup as it is hardier with a very nutty flavor, and also because, as I already mentioned, it uses up the hazelnut bits created in the making the soup.
Rapunzel's Hazelnut & Parsnip Soup
2 Cups Hazelnuts, roasted & skinned (I bought mine on Amazon)
4 Cups Water
Pinch of Salt
3 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 Cup Leeks, diced (only the white part)
1 Cup Parsnips, peeled & diced (use small parsnips, large ones tend to be more bitter)
2 Cups Hazelnut Milk (see above)
1 Cup Vegetable or Chicken Stock
Salt & White Pepper, to taste
Chopped Hazelnuts (garnish)
Italian/Flat Leaf Parsley (garnish, an allusion to the Petrosinella version of the Rapunzel tale)
Hazelnut Oil (optional garnish)
Immersion Blender or Standing Blender or Food Processor
Cheese Cloth or Flour Sack Cloth
1. Hazelnut Milk: In a large bowl, soak the hazelnuts with 2 cups of water & a pinch of salt. Let sit on the counter, covered, overnight. Drain the water form the nuts & place the nuts in a blender or food processor. Add in 2 cups of fresh water & blend until the hazelnuts are in tiny pieces & the liguid is cloudy like milk. Strain the liquid through the cheese cloth into a large cup (I used my glass 2 cup measure), twisting it around the nut bits to get out as much liquid as you can. Dump the nut bits in a bowl & set aside.
2. Soup: In a large pot on medium-low heat, melt the butter with the chopped leaks, stirring occasionally until tender, not letting the butter or the leaks brown. Add in the parsnips & cover with the hazelnut milk & broth. Let simmer until the parsnips are very tender, about 15-20 mins. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a standing blender. Add salt & white pepper to taste & then pour into serving dishes. Garnish with a flourish of hazelnut oil (optional), a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts, and a sprig of Italian parsley.
(Adapted from a recipe on "culinate", from the book Crackers & Dips by Ivy Manning.)
3 Tbsp Butter
Hazelnut Meal from the recipe above (about 2 cups worth)
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Flour
Sea Salt & Pepper (optional)
Stand Mixer or Food Processor
Pizza Cutter or Pastry Cutter
Small Circle Cookie Cutter
Small Triangle Cutter (the one I used is from a clay cutter set from Michaels)
Large Sun Cookie Cutter (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter & let it cook until it becomes light brown in color (keep your eye on it as this happens fast after it's melted!). Pour the browned butter into a small bowl & let cool.
2. In another small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp of the browned butter (without any brown bits) & the eggs. In a food processor or stand mixer on low speed, combine the hazelnut meal, sugar, salt, & flour until incorporated. Continue to mix & gradually pour in the egg mixture until everything comes together into a manageable dough (you may not need all of the egg mixture).
3. Separate the dough in half & roll one half into a 1/16" thick rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper that fits your baking pan (placing another sheet of parchment on top can make the rolling out a little easier). Use the pizza cutter or pastry cutter to slice the dough into squares between 1 1/2-2" (depending on the size of your little circle & triangle cutters). You can also cut some suns if you have that shape cutter, adding a circle impressions to the centers. Remove any extra dough & stick it into the remaining portion of dough in the bowl to be made into crackers after the first batch is done. Using the small circle cutter, make an imprint in the center of each square, making sure not to go all the way through. Use the small triangle cutter in the same way to create sun rays around the circle. Sprinkle with salt & pepper (optional). Pick up the parchment paper by 2 opposing corners & transfer it to your baking tray. Bake on the middle oven rack for about 12-15 minutes or until the crackers are firm & the edges are a bit browned (the outer ones may be done before the center ones so you can remove them & then put the tray back in the oven to finish the rest). Repeat this process with the remaining portion of dough. Let cool & store in an airtight container. Serve with soup!
Click here for my Parsley & Hazelnut Pesto-tossed Salad!