Posts in Austria
Sachertorte
Sachertorte

This cake is not the usual fluffy, soft-crumbed, moist, birthday cake I am used to. It has much more complexity, density... and flavor, if we're being honest. 

In researching this cake I came across a fun (if rather dated) series by Epicurious: Around the World in 80 Dishes. Watching some of these videos definitely made me question the fashion sensibilities of the early 90s... but also made me realize that there are so many treasure troves on the internet, in my local library, on my very own bookshelf. I will never have enough time in my lifetime to try all the dishes I have thumbed through and pinned and drooled over, but I am sure going to try! 

Sachertorte slice

Sachertorte is meant to be served with a large dollop of freshly whipped unsweetened heavy cream. It really does wonders for the cake. You may not think of heavy whiping cream as something that "lightens" a dish, but the unsweetened and fluffy deliciousness perfectly pairs with the dense, chocolatey, sweet Sachertorte. 

 

Sachertorte

Adapted from Epicurious

Torte
4 1/2 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour

Apricot Glaze
1 1/4 cups apricot preserves
2 tablespoons golden rum or water
 

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Whipped Cream , for serving

 

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

2. In the top part of a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of just-boiling water, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat, and let stand, stirring often, until cool.

3. Beat the butter on medium high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until smooth, about 1 minute. Turn off, add confectioner’s sugar and mix to combine on low speed. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla.

4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft peaks. Do not overbeat.

5. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible streaks of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.

6. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. (The cake will dome in the center, but it will flatten when cooled.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.

7. Make the apricot glaze:

-Combine the preserves and rum (or water) in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook, continuing to stir often, 2 to 3 minutes.

-Strain into a small bowl. Set aside.

8. To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. If the dome has not flattened, you can also trim off the dome to make the top flat. Place one cake layer on a cooling rack. Brush the top of the cake layer with the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush again. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Keep the cake on the wire rack and place over a large piece of parchment or waxed paper. Let cool until the glaze is set.

9. Make the chocolate glaze:

-In a heavy-bottomed small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and chocolate to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234°F., about 5 minutes.

-Remove from the heat and stir to cool and thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Use immediately. Note: when pouring, do not scrape the pan.

Pour all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake, being sure that the glaze completely coats the cake. Cool until the glaze is barely set, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.

10. To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Serve with a large dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side.

 

 

2018 Austria GP: Chicken Schnitzel and Egg Noodles

My real proud moment of this weekend was having both my parents and my husband's parents under one roof, all eating chocolate cake. I love having family near enough to visit, who wish to spend time together, and who can all enjoy a little cake on a Sunday afternoon. 

Sachertorte

For Austria, I had to make the famous Sachertorte. It turned out well enough given I had never made glaze before. All I can say is that it was a tasty mess. And that the cake itself was scrumptious. See the post and recipe: Sachertorte. (coming soon!)

Chicken Schnitzel and Noodles

For our meal for Austria I kept it simple. I made my tried and true Chicken Schnitzel and a side of Egg Noodles with Mushroom Butter Sauce. This meal comes together fast and is much more than you would expect for the effort involved, especially with a nice grainy mustard to dip your chicken in. 

Egg noodles with Mushrooms

 

Egg Noodles with Mushroom Butter Sauce

Adapted from Rachel Ray, Passport to Vienna

1/2 pound wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons butter
15 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook egg noodles until al dente, drain and set aside. Add butter to a sauté pan, when hot add sliced mushrooms and shallot, cook over medium heat until tender, 3-4 minutes. Toss noodles with muchrooms, add parsley, salt and pepper. Serve hot.

 

Austrian Potato Salad

Bright, fresh, and tangy this potato salad is what potatoes dream to be made in to. Serve with Austrian Steak or anything off of a grill, or just eat it on it's own and enjoy the herby tangy goodness. 

AUSTRIAN POTATO SALAD

From Saveur

3 lb. small red or white new potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes
Kosher salt, to taste
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup pumpkin seed oil (or 1 tbsp nut oil and 2 tbsp canola oil)
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Thinly sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves

1.Put potatoes into a pot; cover with salted water by 2". Boil; reduce heat; simmer until tender, 14–15 minutes. Drain; cool slightly.

2. Mix cider vinegar, pumpkin seed oil, and 1⁄4 cup warm water. Add in shallots, and salt and pepper. Toss gently with potatoes in a large bowl; cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

3. Garnish with parsley.

Linzer Torte

Smitten Kitchen is my primary source when trying a new recipe. If I need something delicious for a dinner party, or need a weeknight dinner option, she is a my go-to. Deb of Smitten Kitchen shared a Linzer Torte recipe a few years ago, and as usual she did not disappoint. 

Linzer Torte

From Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 2 9-inch round tortes

*I halved the recipe to make 1 9-inch round, which was fun to try to put in half an egg… but it turned out great!
In case you only want to make one, I have included the half measurements at the end of each of the ingredients, just so you don’t have to do the math, but the recipe still includes the full measure so make sure to pay attention!

Base and lattice
4 1/2 cups (1 pound or 455 grams) shelled walnuts (3 ¼)
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour (1 ½)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I halved this, using only 1/4 teaspoon) (1/8)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt (Heatter says 1/4, I really prefer this with 1/2) (1/4)
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces or 285 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks (1 ¼)
1 2/3 cup (330 grams) granulated sugar (1/2 + 1/3)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk (half an egg white + 1 yolk)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1/2 a lemon)

Filling
1/4 cup (about 20 to 25 grams) fine, dry breadcrumbs (1/8)
2 cups (about 575 grams) seedless raspberry jam (1 cup)

To finish
1 egg yolk (1 is fine)
1 teaspoon water (1/2)
2/3 to 1 cup (75 to 115 grams) to slivered almonds (julienne-shaped pieces) (optional)  (I did not use these)

Make base: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round layer cake pans (preferably with removable bottoms if you plan to serve this in wedges, like a cake). Line the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter the paper.

In a food processor, process walnuts and 1/2 cup of the flour (reserve remaining 2 1/2 cups for next step) for 15 seconds, or until the nuts are finely ground but have not formed a paste.

Place remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large, wide-ish mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and walnut-flour mixture. In a small dish, beat the whole egg, yolk, and lemon rind until combined, and stir into crumb mixture. Stir the mixture in as best as you can with a spoon, then work the rest in with your hands. Knead the dough a few times inside the bowl until a cohesive mass, one that holds together, forms.

Divide dough into quarters if making two tortes, or halves if making one.

Place one portion into the bottom of each pan, and press evenly and firmly over the bottoms and then about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches up the sides with your fingers. Don’t worry about making it smooth or level on the sides; it gets filled in later.

Bake shell(s) for 15 minutes, or until it barely begins to color at the edges.

While the shell(s) bakes, roll remaining piece(s) of dough between two pieces of waxed paper, until 1/4- to 3/8-inch in thickness one inch bigger than your pan size. [I.e., for each 9-inch round torte, you’ll want a 10-inch diameter circle; for each 8-inch square torte, a 9-inch square, etc.] Transfer to freezer until the dough is well-chilled, about 20 minutes.

Remove shell(s) from oven and let cool slightly; reduce baking temperature to 350 degrees.

Make filling: If you’re using panko or another coarse dry breadcrumb, you can pulse it in a food processor until it is fine powder.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely ground breadcrumbs over each par-baked shell, or all 1/4 cup over your single large one. If jam is not already soft, stir it until it is, then spread 1 cup over each shell. Cut dough(s) into 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide strips, cutting through the bottom of the waxed paper at the same time. Lift each strip-and-waxed paper over the jam and reverse it onto the jam, then peel off waxed paper. Cut the ends of the dough by pressing them onto the sides of the pan. Arrange strips 1/2- to 3/4-inch apart, crisscrossing them on an angle to make a lattice top with diamond-shaped openings. Use leftover pieces to fill in any gaps between lattice-strips and tall sides of shells. The two doughs will blend together in the oven.

To finish: Mix egg yolk and water. Brush it all over lattice top and border. Sprinkle with almonds, if using. Bake torte(s) for 45 to 60 minutes, until crust and almonds on top are well-browned.

Remove from oven and place on racks.

 

Serve with coffee or tea, and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. 

Austrian GP - Steak & Potato Salad and Linzer Torte

I am consistently surprised and impressed with Austrian recipes and dishes. I had such a hard time choosing a recipe, there were so many amazing sounding options to choose from. 

Also, I found on my shelf a classic of American cookbooks, the TIME cookbook series: The Cooking of Vienna's Empire (!) Although there were some tempting options in there I went for something a little more contemporary... or at least updated. 

I am also tempted by the Hungarian Goulash's in this classic cookbook, but those will have to wait until the Hungarian GP!

Austrian Style Steak and Potato Salad

From Saveur

3 lb. small red or white new potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes
Kosher salt, to taste
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup pumpkin seed oil (or 1 tbsp nut oil and 2 tbsp canola oil)
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Canola oil
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. flour
1 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
1 lb. beef top round, cut into 8 equal pieces
1⁄4 cup dijon mustard
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Thinly sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves

1.Put potatoes into a pot; cover with salted water by 2". Boil; reduce heat; simmer until tender, 14–15 minutes. Drain; cool slightly.

2. Mix cider vinegar, pumpkin seed oil, and 1⁄4 cup warm water. Add in shallots, and salt and pepper. Toss gently with potatoes in a large bowl; cover and set aside.

3. Pour canola oil into a pot to a depth of 2"; heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Put 1 cup flour into a bowl. Toss a handful of onions in flour and shake off excess; fry until golden, 3–4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate; season with salt. Repeat with remaining onions.

4. Working with 1 piece of beef at a time, pound it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap with a meat mallet until 1⁄4" thick. Put 1 cup flour in a shallow dish. Season beef with salt and pepper; coat only one side of each piece with 1⁄2 tbsp. mustard. Dredge mustard side in flour; shake off excess; transfer to plates.

5. Heat 3 tbsp. canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the beef; cook, turning once, until browned, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a plate; keep warm. Clean out skillet; repeat with another 3 tbsp. canola oil and remaining beef.

6. Return skillet to medium heat; whisk in remaining flour; cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in broth; cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. To make smooth, strain sauce into a bowl. Stir in balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve steaks with sauce and onions alongside the potato salad garnished with parsley.

The Linzer Torte was inspired by every website, book, or person I talked to about Austria, so I knew I had to make it. I remembered, somewhere in the back of my mind, that Smitten Kitchen shared a Linzer Torte recipe a few years ago, and as usual she did not disappoint. 

Austrian Grand Prix - Chicken Schnitzel
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Austrian Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring in Spielberg Austria.

We didn't get a chance to make Schnitzel last year, too much summer travel to fit in all the recipes. I hadn't even planned to make it this year, thinking it would be complicated or take too long. I was wrong! So easy, so quick, so delicious.

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Such a basic recipe, yes... there are a lot of plates used, but that is the only thing that could be considered complicated.

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My favorite part of summer honestly, is the over abundance of tomatoes in my garden. Any recipe that calls for tomatoes gets them triple-fold. To accompany the schnitzel I made a fresh herb, pea, and tomato orzo (planned to make spaetzel... but if you want to talk complicated, I still haven't gotten up to gumption to make that!)

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Chicken Schnitzel

Adapted from Bon Apetit

4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8-inch thickness
Salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional - but recommended)

  1. Pound out chicken breasts with rolling pin (wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper to reduce chicken mess).
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  3. Place flour on a plate. Beat eggs and Dijon mustard to blend on a high rimmed plate or low baking dish. Place 1 cup panko in another plate or shallow baking dish, adding remaining 1 cup panko, or more, to dish as needed throughout process.
  4. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly; carefully coat with panko, pressing panko gently to adhere to chicken.
  5. Transfer chicken to final plate.
  6. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add chicken breasts (as many as fit) to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and 1 Tbsp. butter to skillet and repeat with remaining chicken breasts as needed.
  8. Transfer chicken breasts to serving plates and garnish each with parsley and a lemon wedge.

Orzo with Fresh Herbs, Peas and Tomatoes

1 cup orzo
1-2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

  1. Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. One minute before preferred doneness add frozen peas to pasta, cook to just tender. Drain peas and pasta. Rinse briefly under cold water; drain well. Transfer to medium bowl; cool slightly. Can serve warm or cool.
  2. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil in small bowl. Mix in salt and pepper. Pour dressing over orzo. Mix in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.