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Oma's Maccaroni-Auflauf (German Mac & Cheese)
serves 6

500g macaroni
1 liter milk
7 eggs
6 thick slices smoked ham, diced
6 thick slices cooked ham, diced
1 garlic clove
approx. 120 gr. Swiss Emmentaler
approx. 120 gr. Appenzeller
approx. 120 gr. Gruyere

Boil Macaroni until still chewy, may even seem a bit raw, still
(they will get cooked in the oven). Put in sieve and rinse with
cold water until lukewarm. Drain, and set aside. Mix milk and the
seven eggs until one liquid (don't beat). Add the squashed
(squashed?) garlic clove, stir again. Add the paprika (amount
according to hotness. Don't use much if hot; it's meant for the
coloring, really, not the spiciness). Add the salt

Take a glass casserole (or any casserole, just, glass casseroles
make it look good and you can control the browning. All this aside:
Preheat oven to approx. 1900 Centigrade. Make an oilfilm on inside
of casserole. Put a layer of macaroni in casserole, put a layer of
ham (smoked and cooked) on top of that, then a layer of cheese.
Repeat until you have about 3-4 layers of macaroni., ham & cheese.
The top layer should be mostly macaroni. Now, carefully pour the
milk/egg-liquid into the casserole. Take your time, it's like
filling up a car tank: bubbles will come out of the empty spaces
(Hohlraeume) of the macaroni, and the level of filling will reduce
a bit with time, so stop pouring now and then. Put the rest of the
cheese (I hope you _do_ have some left, else you should run and
get more cheese) on the top layer, covering it closely.

The liquid should now come to the top of the top layer of macaroni,
the top layer of cheese should not or barely be immersed in liquid.
This is where I have my biggest problems: I usually have a bit of
liquid left (which makes me make a quick Pfannekuchen [German
pancake], just add a bit of flour and cook in pan); if I have no
liquid left, I make some more with the milk I usually don't have
in reserve and the missing eighth egg, of course ;)

You should now proceed to place the casserole into the preheated
oven. It will take about 1.5 to 2 hours until the milk/egg mixture
has become set The cheese should have a nice, mostly darkbrown
state of carbonization.

If you use a glass casserole, you can see if the degree of browning
on top is correlating evenly to the browning of the stuff (I mean
the food connected to the sides of the casserole). If you are
using a non-translucent casserole, well, you'll find out if it was
too short when you want to eat. The milk/egg mix is then still too
liquid. In that case, back to the oven for another 15 min at 150
Centigrade. If the browning relation changes in favor of the top
(top brown, sides pale) you can put an aluminum foil on top of the
whole casserole to slow browning on top. This, of course, only if
you have a glass casserole so you can see the relation; or, if you
want to eat and find out it is not ready yet, to prevent the top
layer from carbonizing further.


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