Editor’s note: Linda Avery returns with a look at a new book about Austrian desserts. Take a look and you might, like me, learn a couple new terms. One thing I already knew is how fabulous Quark is. You might check with your local cheese maker if you have one. Phoenix’s Crow’s Dairy makes a fine quark.
Over 400 Cakes, Pastries, Strudels, Tortes, and Candies
by Toni Mörwald and Christoph Wagner @ 2013
photography by Ulride Köb
I came across an interesting dessert book. Austrian Desserts was authored by award-winning pastry chef Toni Mörwald and restaurant critic Christoph Wagner.
It definitely has a foreign flare but it’s very approachable and the recipes are well written. I usually steer away from cookbooks that have been translated for the American audience. Sometimes a straight conversion of ingredients from metric to standard isn’t always precise (another reason to use weights instead of volume!). I’ve also found that on occasion the foreign sourced book may jump from A to C — i.e., the author assumes you know what to do in between.
The book includes cakes, tarts, schnitten (the word threw me for a bit – literally it means cut, but in this context, the author says “the little sister of a torte” – or cut cake), compotes, caramelized fruits, cookies, candies, ice cream, sorbets, sweet dumplings and pancakes. Just when I thought I was gaining weight looking at the list, I came across the “Sweet Health Food Kitchen” chapter which includes recipes like Rice Casserole with Peach Sauce and Almond Gugelhupf, AKA, a Bundt cake.
With an abundance of fruits available to us at this time of year, this book provides a plethora of fruit recipes utilizing apples, apricots, plums, pears, and all sorts of berries (including gooseberries and lingonberries).
Quark makes numerous appearances in this book. This is not the Star Trek character but instead a dairy product. Some have likened it to mascarpone but its flavor is tangier. A better substitute would be Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese but quark is available at Whole Foods. This recipe offers an excellent opportunity to try quark.
Quark Gratin with Apricots
photo by Ulride Köb
Editor’s note: the vanilla sugar required below can easily be made by putting a scraped vanilla bean into (2 cups) sugar. Bury the bean in the sugar and let sit in an airtight container for a week. Or it can be purchased at Penzeys or The Spice House.
Makes 6 servings
Bake Time: just minutes
Bake Temperature: maximum upper heat (broiler)
Garnish Recommendation: vanilla ice cream or apricot sorbet
18 ounces (500 g) quark
1/3 cup (50 g) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80 g) confectioner’s sugar
4 egg yolks
4 teaspoons (2 cl) rum
4 teaspoons (20 g) vanilla sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
4 egg whites
7 tablespoons (100 g) granulated sugar
Butter for brushing
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Mix the quark with cornstarch, confectioner’s sugar, egg yolks, rum, vanilla sugar, and lemon zest.
2. Begin beating the egg whites, add granulated sugar, and beat to stiff peaks. Fold into the quark mixture.
3. Pit the apricots and cut into slices.
4. Butter deep oven-safe dishes*, portion the quark mixture into each, and lay the apricot slices on top.
5. Put the gratin on maximum upper heat (under the broiler), for 2-5 minutes (depending on the strength of your broiler). Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve right away.
Editor’s note: *ramekins