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Salzburger Nockerl is a sweet dish typical of Austrian cuisine that is especially popular in Salzburg, as its name implies.
For me, eating is not just a necessary daily routine but a very sensual activity and a feast for the senses. When eating, all senses are activated at once: Your nose is exposed to the delicious smell; your fingers may feel the form and the texture of the food; your eyes cherish the arrangement and the colors of the various ingredients; your ears catch the sound of your biting into the food; and most importantly, your tongue experiences the main part – the taste. But such a culinary delight demands extraordinary recipes, fresh ingredients, and a talented and motivated cook. Unfortunately, I am definitely not a gifted cook, and I never will be, but when it comes to preparing Salzburger Nockerl I know what I am doing.
Salzburger Nockerl is a sweet dish typical of Austrian cuisine that is especially popular in Salzburg, as its name implies. I like this dish because of its subtle sweet taste; it is not too sugary but still delights my taste buds whenever I eat it. You can serve it as a main course, as a dessert, or even with coffee and tea. There are hardly any people who do not like it. Until last year I believed that it was not very difficult to prepare and did not call for extraordinary talents in cooking.
I grew up eating Salzburger Nockerl. My mother prepared them almost every Sunday when I was a child. I even think that this dish was my first real dessert after the "joyful" experience of eating pureed food as a baby. As a teenager I was not very interested in cooking and preferred pinching different ingredients from whatever my mother was cooking whenever she turned her back to me. The only dish I was really interested in was Salzburger Nockerl. At the age of about thirteen my mother taught me how to prepare it. Since then I have practiced hundreds of times and I would probably be able to make it blindfolded. So far I have only ever ruined it once - unfortunately, it was probably the most important time.
Known for my extraordinarily delicate Salzburger Nockerl, I wanted to impress my boyfriend’s parents when they visited my family for the first time. I planned everything a week in advance, because after telling them about my talent in great detail (What a mistake!) I wanted everything to be perfect. I bought the best ingredients I could get and I even read up on the most suitable wine to go with this dish. Self-confident as always, I prepared my special dish. My boyfriend’s family was very excited and curious about my cooking. Everything worked out as I had planned. When I took the baking pan out of the oven I was very proud of the result. The dough had risen perfectly and looked like little mountains. I was completely satisfied with my work just, but that was before everything went awry. Without any plausible reason the Salzburger Nockerl collapsed leaving an ugly mass of dough. Everybody in the dining room was hungry, having waited impatiently for my masterpiece, which was neither delicious nor a treat to the eyes. Full of shame, I presented my disaster. As everybody started laughing, my cheeks turned as red as the cranberry jam I wanted to serve with the dish.
I still have no idea what went wrong and it has never happened to me again. Pride goeth before a fall! But the good thing is that I have never had to cook for anybody since, and whenever I make Salzburger Nockerl now, I have them all to myself.
- 7 egg whites
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- zest of half a lemon
- jam or custard sauce (as base or to serve with)
- pre-heat oven to 200°C/~400°F
- beat the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar, until they are very stiff
- quickly beat in the two yolks, zest, and vanilla sugar without beating too hard
- fold in the flour carefully
- butter two oven-proof dishes (you may now line the bottom of the dish with jam or custard)
- heap three large dollops of the egg mass into the dish, sitting alongside each other, slightly offset
- "mount" them to resemble three little mountains
- bake in the oven for 10 minutes until your “Nockerl” have become slightly brown on top