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Results tagged “Viennese desserts”

Berry Meringue Slices

Page-120-317x400.jpgIt's been over a dozen years since I first had this perfect summer dessert while researching my KAFFEEHAUS book in VIenna.  At Hans Diglas's cafe, one of the most venerable spots in the center of the city near St. Stephen's, I saw a big tray of layered cake in an old-fashioned metal baking pan, topped with red currants and meringue.  Hans shared the recipe for the book, and I adapted it for more readily available blueberries.  Is this the perfect Fourth of July dessert?  I think so!  


Continue reading Berry Meringue Slices .

 

Vanilla Crescents (Vanillen Kipferln)

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Introduction

These are the Austro-Hungarian Christmas cookie, and during the holidays, you will find mountains of the little vanilla-sugar-coated crescents in Konditerei windows. Crisp yet tender at the same time, they are at their very best when made with a vanilla bean instead of extract. Vanilla sugar is a staple European grocery item, but not so easy to find here. One way to make it is to bury a vanilla bean in confectioners' or granulated sugar (depending on its final use) for a couple of weeks, allowing the bean to slowly release its scent and flavor into the sugar. My method is for those bakers who don't always think ahead, and gives a stronger vanilla flavor.

Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) natural sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 large egg yolk, or more as needed

Vanilla Sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Directions

1. To make the cookies: Process the flour, almonds, and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (or in batches in a blender) until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder. Beat the butter in a the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle blade on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar, then return the speed to high and beat until the mixture is very light in color and texture, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, about 2 minutes. Using the tip of a small knife, scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean, reserving the pod. Add the yolk and mix. Remove the bowl from the stand. Using a spoon, stir in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough that holds together when pressed. (If the dough is crumbly, add a bit more beaten egg yolk.) Gather the dough up into a thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, make the vanilla sugar: Process the sugar, vanilla bean, and reserved vanilla pod in a blender until the bean is very finely chopped (it won't be completely pulverized) and the sugar is ground to a powder. Sift through a wire sieve into a medium bowl to remove any large pieces of vanilla. Set aside.

3. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Using about 2 teaspoons of dough for each, roll the dough between your palms to soften (it will be crumbly at first, but will come together with the heat of your hands). Roll into a 3-inch rope with tapered ends, form into a crescent, and place on the sheets.

5. Bake until the cookies are a light golden brown around the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on the sheets. Roll the warm cookies in the vanilla sugar to coat. Reserve any remaining vanilla sugar. Cool completely. If necessary before serving, give the cookies another toss in the reserved vanilla sugar.

Make-Ahead: The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, or frozen up to 1 month, thawed overnight in the refrigerator before using. The cookies can be baked up to 5 days ahead, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Thumbprint Cookies (Hussaren)

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Introduction

Looking like the bright buttons on a Hussar's uniform, these melt-in-your-mouth treats can be filled with a variety of preserves to add color to your cookie selection. Apricot, raspberry, strawberry, or even pineapple are all good choices. Most versions call for filling the cookies after baking, but the sticky preserves make the cookies difficult to store. Filling them about halfway through the baking period sets the preserves and relieves the problem.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for sifting/li>
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or toasted, peeled hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserves (see suggestions above)

Directions

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat the butter with an electric hand mixer on high speed just until smooth. On low speed, add the powdered sugar, just to combine. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

3. Process the nuts with 1/2 cup of the flour until the nuts are ground into a powder. Add the remaining 1 cup flour and the salt and pulse to combine. Add the nut flour to the butter mixture and stir to make a stiff dough.


 

Ischl Tartlets (Ischler Tortchen)

Makes 12 large cookies

Bad Ischl in Upper Austria was the favorite summer spot of Franz Josef, and therefore the entire blue-blooded population of Vienna. (One of the best bakeries in the world, Zauner, is located here--there nothing like having an Emperor as your best customer to ensure quality control.)

These large, crisp, sandwich cookies, filled with preserves and coated with a chocolate glaze, became an item that the vacationers brought back home with them, and they are now firmly ensconced in the cookie selection of surely every bakery along the Danube. Sometimes they are filled with a chocolate butter cream, but I love the contrast between the tart preserves and the sweet chocolate.

Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) natural or blanched sliced almonds
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, at cool room temperature
  • 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup raspberry or red currant preserves, stirred to loosen
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios, for garnish

Glaze

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not use a chocolate with more than 62% cocoa solids; I prefer Lindt Excellence or Tradition)
  • 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. To make the dough: Process the flour and almonds in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground, almost a flour.

2. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed just until smooth. On low speed, beat in the confectioner's sugar, just until combined. Using a spoon, stir in the nut flour to make a stiff dough. Gather into two thick disks and wrap each in plastic wrap.

3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (If the dough is chilled until firm, let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out.)

4. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one portion of dough into a 1/8-inch thick round. The dough may seem crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together with rolling. Using a 2 1/2-inch round fluted cookie cutter, cut out cookies, and place on the sheets, about 1 inch apart. Gather up the scraps and set aside. Repeat the with other half of dough. Combine the scraps and knead together until smooth. Roll out and cut out cookies to make a total of 24.

6. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, switching the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on the sheets, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.

7. Using about 1 teaspoon of preserves for each, sandwich two cookies together, smooth sides facing in. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on a wire cake rack set over a waxed paper-lined jelly-roll pan.

8. To make the glaze: Place the chocolate, coffee, and water in the top part of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the butter. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly.

9. Pour the warm glaze over the top of each cooking, using a small offset spatula to smooth it over the top and around the sides. Sprinkle a bit of chopped pistachios in the center of each glazed cookie. Refrigerate until the glaze sets, about 30 minutes.

Make-Ahead: The cookies can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.

 

 

 

Chocolate Almond Macaroons (Schockolade Busserln)

Makes about 3 dozen

Viennese macaroons are called kisses (Busserln). This chocolate-almond version is a good representation of this cookie.
 

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) sliced natural almonds
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

 

 

  • 1. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
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    2. Melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler over barely simmering water or in a microwave oven. Cool until tepid.

    3. Process the almonds and 2/3 cup of the confectioner's sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder. Beat the egg whites with hand-held electric mixer until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup sugar until stiff, shiny peaks form. Fold in the almond mixture, then the cooled chocolate. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch wide plain tip, such as Ateco Number 805.

    4. Pipe 1 1/2 inch wide mounds of the batter, about 1 inch apart, on the sheets. Bake until the edges are firm and the macaroons lift easily from the paper, about 20 minutes (see Note). Cool completely on the sheets.

    Note: Usually when baking cookies on two racks, the positions of the racks are switched halfway through baking to allow for even baking. As macaroons are created from a somewhat delicate meringue, and could fall if jostled, this isn't a good idea. If necessary, simply allow extra time for the cookies on the middle rack to finish baking (the top rack cooks more quickly because heat rises).


     

    Banana Gugelhupf (Banannengugelhupf)

    Makes 12 servings

    Banana Guglehupf is one of the newer additions to the Austro-Hungarian pastry roster. I've made countless American-style banana breads before, but this is a very special recipe, creating a beautiful fluted loaf filled with moist, banana flavor. Use fully ripened bananas freckled with brown spots with an intensely sweet aroma, and not ones that are overly ripe and blackened and smell of alcohol.
     

    • Softened butter and dried bread crumbs, for the pan
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at cool room tempera ture 1 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon

    Directions

    1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Using a pastry brush, butter the inside of a 10-inch Gugelhupf mold or fluted tube pan. Coat with crumbs and tap out the excess.

    2. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioner's sugar. Return the speed to high and beat until very light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition.

    3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the bananas, brown sugar, cream, and lemon zest until the sugar is dissolved. With the mixer on low speed, one third at a time, alternately beat in the flour and banana mixtures, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, until the batter is smooth. Pour into the pan and smooth the top.

    4. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack and cool completely.

    Make-Ahead The cake can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.


     
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