The cosmopolitan city of sweet pastries
Whether or not Vienna is a world metropolis is a matter of some disagreement. One thing is certain however: Vienna is the world’s sweet pastry capital. The most popular of the Viennese Mehlspeisen (pastries) is simple, and has been baked with passion since the days of the monarchy: delicate pieces of apple, wrapped in light layers of pastry, and served with a dollop of whipped cream. The favourite of Emperor Franz Joseph I still arrives on the table the same way today: the Wiener Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel), only genuine if the pastry has been stretched by hand! Originally popular as marching provisions due to the fact that it was easily preserved, it still ranks at the very top of the Viennese popularity scale.
Take: 4 eggs, 30g icing sugar, salt, 100ml of milk, lemon zest, vanilla sugar, 80g flour, 40g raisins, 70g butter, sugar to sprinkle Ingredients for two nice portions of authentic Viennese “Kaiserschmarren”.
The only competitor that can come close to the Apfelstrudel is the Kaiserschmarrn
(literally “the emperor’s nonsense” – fluffy cut-up sweet pancakes)Lighter and airier than the original version eaten by manual laborers, the Kaiserschmarrn with Zwetschkenröster (plum compote) is also a perennial favourite. With beaten egg-whites and baked to a golden brown in butter the emperor among Viennese desserts turns out particularly fluffy, and then if it’s sprinkled with raisins and icing sugar… Mmmm!
The third star in the Viennese dessert-heaven is – you guessed it – the Sachertorte. Since it was invented in 1823 it’s been the undisputed bestseller, although “undisputed” is perhaps not the right word. The Hotel Sacher and the Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel fought a decades-long court battle over the right to use the name. The verdict? The Hotel Sacher bakes the “Original Sachertorte”, Demel the “Demels Sachertorte”. Both of the cakes with the sweet chocolate icing are supposedly prepared using the same secret recipe. The only difference is the fruity apricot jam filling in the middle. Which one tastes better? They both taste great!
Text: Verena Brandtner, Fotos: Christine Wurnig