While I love a good cup of tea, sometimes I am in the mood for something a little…stronger. There are many places all over the world famous for their coffee but one notable place is Vienna, Austria. And if you want to get coffee in Vienna, there is one place to do it (well, obviously there are MANY places, but one that is particularly special), and that’s the Hotel Sacher. And of course, if you’re going to the Hotel Sacher to have coffee, you’re going to have to get something else too, and that’s the Sacher Torte. Sacher Torte is the most famous Austrian dessert (except maybe for strudel, if you want to count that as Austrian), and it can only truly be had at the Hotel Sacher. I am lucky enough to have been to this magical place and eaten this special confection. Granted, my friend Jennn and I were relegated to the “ugly people” corner of the very fancy cafe, away from windows and public traffic (we were dressed in street-clothes and so not as presentable as others – plus we’re ugly [just kidding, Jennn!]), and the waiter was snooty about the pronounciation of the drink we ordered – a melange – apparently pronounced MEH-lange, whatever, but all these quirks served to make the experience all the more memorable. Let me also say, I can’t claim that the Sacher Torte was the most incredible thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was good, and it was a fun experience.
For my husband’s birthday this year, we decided to try and make something out of the Austrian cookbook he brought back from one of his trips to Vienna. The book is called Oesterreichische Kuche by Krenn Publishers, Vienna, 2006. As you can see, it’s all in German.
This isn’t too bad because my husband speaks conversational German, and I know a little myself, so the translation wasn’t going to be too tough. More challenging was deciphering all the idiomatic phrases (Beat egg whites to snow? Use smooth flour? Isn’t all flour smooth?) and figuring out a few unique ingredients (vanillezucker?). With the help of the all-knowing internet, we were able to piece together the recipe. Since one of our initial goals for this blog was to present tea-related recipes, and coffee is PRACTICALLY the same thing (right?), I am presenting the recipe here in German along with our translated version with one or two subs for more commonly available ingredients.
Later this week, Part II, The Baking! Spoiler alert: It didn’t go so well.
Ingredients, converted to useful American quantities
6 tbsp Butter
1/2c + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
6 1/3 oz baking chocolate
1/2c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2c – 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
8 eggs, separated
Small Jar Apricot Jam
1 1/2c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Just under 12oz good chocolate
Stir softened butter with powdered sugar and vanilla until frothy. Then stir in the egg yolks and melted (and cooled) baking chocolate. Beat egg whites with granulated sugar to soft peaks. Fold into the butter mixture and carefully stir in the flour.
Butter and flour a 9″ cake or torte pan (I recommend a springform pan if you have one), and pour the mixture into the pan. Bake at 340 degrees for 60 minutes.
For the icing, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring until smooth and let cook for 5 minutes. Vigorously stir during cooling until “lip warm”. Lightly dust the finished baked torte with flour and turn over onto paper. Cut horizontally two times through the cooked torte and lightly fill with warm apricot jam and lightly spread out. Stack torte, cover with the chocolate icing, and let harden before serving.