This German-inspired topping is the perfect complement to baked fruit-based desserts and coffeecakes. Many German immigrants arrived early in the colonies. Some were from sect that left their homeland seeking religious freedom with William Penn's new promise of tolerance. As the German Amish and Mennonites settled farmland in the new territory, the were mistakenly referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch. While the name is incorrect, it remain lovingly attached to their baking traditions today. This mixture of sugar, flour, and spices is excellent when combined with regional nuts, or the favorite of the cook. Pecans lend a sweet note to the dessert, while walnuts add crunch, and macadamia nuts impart a rich flavor. America's founding cooks would have used what they had in the cupboard or what was being harvested near them. Any combination of nuts works well.


  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsaked butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, mix the butter, sugars, and salt until only pea-sized bits of butter remain.

2. Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats and mix a few turns.

3. Add the nuts and continue mixing on low speed until the flour is absorbed; it should be crumbly looking.

Chef's note:
This topping freezes very well. To freeze, spread on a sheet pan or cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, keep in a bag in the freezer.

Makes approximately 4 cups

Print this recipe

Submitted 11/25/13.
Source: A Sweet Taste of History: More than 100 Elegant Dessert Recipes from America's Earliest Days by Walter Staib
Submitted By: b smith

Oat and Nut Streusel