Kasnocken are small dumplings combined with melted cheese. In Germany, "Nocken" are called "Spaetzle". They have their origins in Schwaben, a region in Southern Germany, and are served as a side dish to roasts. People from Austria and from the Allgaeu, a district of Bavaria next to the Austrian border, refined the original Spaetzle and made up their own variety. They added cheese instead of meat and thus created a main dish. In Germany, this dish is called "Kaesspaetzle", whereas in Austria it is called "Kasnocken". Today, the Pinzgauer Kasnocken are probably the most famous type of cheese dumplings in Austria, and they are popular among both locals and tourists.
The district of Pinzgau is the largest of five districts in Salzburg. It is located in the mountains of the Upper Tauern and is a very important tourist area. The region offers many outdoor activities like skiing, backcountry skiing, and cross-country skiing in winter and hiking, climbing, cycling, and swimming in summer. The uniqueness of the landscape makes this region very attractive for tourists.
The mountains not only attract tourists but are also the main supplier of drinking water. Furthermore, they have also played an essential part in the regional history. For a long time, the mountains and the unspoilt purity of nature have been the basis to earn livelihood for mountain farmers. The surroundings enable them to raise cattle and sheep and to produce a wide range of primary agricultural products such as wool, fruit, meat, and dairy products. The cattle supply milk for the production of milk, curd, and cheese, while the fields yield the crop.
Today, people benefit from nature more than ever. More and more people discover nature as something which is worth to protect; it is a place for recreation, and the demand for organic food increases constantly.
One famous product from the Pinzgau region is the "Pinzgauer Bierkäse". This type of cheese, made of pasteurized milk and marinated in beer (which gives the cheese its name), is characterized by its spicy and aromatic flavor. The various types of herbs and grass, the cattle find in the meadows, give the Bierkäse its unique aroma. It has a fat content of only 15 % and it goes well with bread, salt and pepper; it is also the basic product of some regional meals such as the "Pinzgauer Kaspressknödel" and "Kasnocken".
In Salzburg, Kasnocken are traditionally made with the Bierkäse produced in the region of Pinzgau. However, it is also possible to use other sorts of cheese. In order to gain the best possible taste, connoisseurs recommend to prepare and serve the dish in a cast-iron pan. This is usually done in ski lodges and restaurants in the Pinzgau region. The final result, however, mainly depends on one's individual taste; the type of cheese, the amount of onions, and the spices will define the final flavor of the dish. However it is prepared, those who like cheese, will love Kasnocken. And perhaps even those who usually do not like cheese, will relish this traditional Austrian dish.
|Servings||3 - 4|
- 1/4 l water
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (300 g) flour
- 1/4 cup (70 g) butter
- 120 g fat cheese and 120 g low-fat cheese OR 250 g Pinzgauer Bierkäse
- salt and pepper
- 1 big onion, cut into rings
- 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
- Mix flour, eggs, water, and salt carefully to get a dough (it should not be whisked; the dough should neither be stiff nor too soft).
- Pass the dough through a special sieve for dumplings into boiling, salted water.
- Boil the small dumplings for about 3 minutes and then strain and quench them with cold water.
- Melt the butter in a pan, add the dumplings, and season them with salt and pepper.
- Gradually add the grated cheese and stir vigorously.
- When all of the cheese has melted, heat butter in another pan, add the onion rings, and fry them until they become golden brown.
- Finally, coat the dumplings with the roasted onion rings and chives.
Kasnocken are usually served with lettuce and a glass of milk. Since this fare is rather hard to digest, especially for people not used to such opulent meals, the meal may be rounded off with a schnaps.