Austrian Desserts: More Than 400 Recipes for Cakes, Pastries, Strudels, Tortes, and Candies, written by Toni Mörwald and Christoph Wagner, features some of Austria’s most well-loved traditional pastries along with newer creations and variations for the health-conscious. Highlights include Berry Lasagna with Strudel Dough Leaves, Vanilla Palatschinken, Raspberry Yogurt Torte, Fasching Doughnuts, Salzburg Gnocchi, Black Forest Cherry Truffles, Plum Dumplings, Capuchin Torte, Tiramisu Schnitten, and Banana Terrine with Pineapple Punch.
Toni Mörwald is an award-winning chef and restaurant proprietor in Austria. He also gives cooking seminars, has been featured on TV and radio, and is the author of several cookbooks.
Christoph Wagner was a restaurant critic, cookbook author, crime novelist, and weekly columnist for Gourmet News. He lived from 1954 to 2010 and was awarded the Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2001.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own.
Chapters are divided based on category: Basics of the Sweet Austrian Kitchen (Basic Doughs, Batters, and Glazes); Invitation to a Viennese Coffee Break (Sweet Seductions of Danish Pastry, Puff Pastry, and Pàte à Choux); Baking Like the Pros (Cakes, Tarts, Schnitten, and Strudel); Fruit Pleasures of the World (Fine Desserts of Fruit and Berries); The Sweet Pantry (Compote; Marmalades, Sweet Sauces, Hand Crafted Juices, and Caramelized Fruits); Snacking Doesn’t Have to Be a Sin (The Sweet Health Food Kitchen); Dining à la Crème (Creams, Mousses, and Foams); Airy, Light, Sweet & Fluffy (Soufflés, Casseroles, Schmarren, and Pudding); Greetings from Flour Heaven (Dumplings, Noodles, Pastry Pockets, Gnocchi, Pancakes, Buchteln, Dalken, and Doughnuts); The Home Ice Cream Parlor (Ice Cream, Sorbet, Granita, and Parfaits); The Microcosm of Sweets (Cookies and Candies); Mörwald’s Sweet Greetings (The Best of Toni M. Pàtisserie); and The Sweet ABC (Principles of the Sweet Kitchen from A to Z).
While this book is no-frills and packed with recipes, there are an assortment of facts and tips scattered among the pages. You will learn about the best tips for making tortes such as preparing the pan, the best type of butter, mixing, filling, storing, and slicing; the invention of puff pastry; how to make desserts lighter; the history of ice cream and how it came to Vienna; and more. The book ends with a list of helpful baking terms.
The photography is provided by Ulrike Köb. A few of the recipes include full-page photos of the finished dish. Some include step-by-step photos to show the process. The measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric.
This book is a great pick for those interested in pastries and desserts. There is a large assortment to choose from between the soufflés, tortes, dumplings, ice creams, palatschinken, cakes, and more. It may be best for those with pastry experience as some of the recipes are more advanced with instructions that are not always the most clear or assume the reader has a certain level of skill. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American supermarket. Some difficult to find ingredients include Rowan berries, vanilla sugar (can easily be made), marzipan, truffle shells, quark, plum jam, lavender, sour cherry juice, buckwheat flour, and a variety of liqueurs.
Last week, I shared a recipe for homemade chocolates that use a special mold. Well, these Amaretto Triangles are easy to make with no special equipment required.
A ganache filling made with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, cream, butter, and Amaretto liqueur is the base. After melting until smooth, it is spread into a rectangle and chilled until firm. The prepared ganache is sliced into triangles and covered in melted milk chocolate. For a decorative touch, the triangles are drizzled with melted dark chocolate.
Amaretto is a sweet almond-flavored liqueur from Saronno, Italy. Some brands may include almonds, but most are actually traditionally made using apricot kernels. It is now available in most liquor stores, but you can also make your own (I have not tried yet).
Note: This recipe uses alcohol that is not cooked off. It is intended only for those over the age of 21 (in the United States). Please drink responsibly.
I also made Sachertorte, Cream Schmarren, Vanilla Saffron Ice Cream, and Linzer Eyes.
Sachertorte is one of Austria’s most famous tortes. It was originally created by Franz Sacher in 1832 while a cooking student in the house of Prince Metternich. This chocolate torte has an apricot marmalade filling between two layers and is covered with a rich chocolate ganache.
Cream Schmarren was one of the easier recipes to make. Beaten egg whites are folded into a sour cream and quark-based batter. It is seasoned with rum and vanilla and cooked in a skillet until set. It is then torn into pieces and served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. This was one of my favorites. The recommended pairings are lukewarm burgundy cherries and vanilla foam.
The Vanilla Saffron Ice Cream was quite rich with 6 egg yolks and 4 additional eggs. The custard mixture is spiced with 3 vanilla beans and saffron. The result is an extremely creamy and flavorful ice cream. Other ice cream flavors include white chocolate, beer, lavender, coconut, and cinnamon.
The Linzer Eyes were the perfect addition to our holiday cookie platter. A cinnamon hazelnut dough is cut into circles and rings, then baked until set. The circles are covered with apricot marmalade, topped with a ring so the marmalade shows through, and dusted with powdered sugar before serving.
Adapted from Austrian Desserts
5.5 ounces (150 grams) milk couverture chocolate
5.5 ounces (150 grams) dark couverture chocolate
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons (10 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (8 cl) Amaretto
About 5.5 ounces (150 grams) milk coverture chocolate
Some dark couverture chocolate for drizzling
To make the Amaretto ganache: In a bain-marie, double boiler, melt the milk and dark chocolates until smooth. Add the cream and butter, then mix until smooth. Add the amaretto and homogenize with an immersion blender. Allow to cool slightly.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the amaretto ganache over the top in about a 3 1/2 x 8 inch rectangle. Refrigerate overnight.
Cut the chilled ganache into even triangles. Melt the milk chocolate in a bain-marie and coat the triangles thoroughly using a fork. Allow the excess to drip off and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining triangles.
Melt the dark chocolate and transfer to a piping bag with a fine tip or a parchment paper cone to drizzle thin lines across the milk chocolate covered triangles.
Allow to set before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.