Today was the first time we had snow this winter – not a lot, but enough to make my son’s school send out text messages to all parents advising them that the school was open as normal… To celebrate, I thought I’d give the famous Salzburger Nockerln a go, a dessert that imitates the three snow-capped mountains that surround the Austrian city of Salzburg.
There are no snow-capped mountains around where we live, so, unsurprisingly, I did not bother to stick to the traditional three blobs of soufflée which resulted in a somewhat less alpine soufflée formation:
The Nockerln are incredibly easy to prepare and make an impressive dessert: light and airy, not too sweet, they can be made on a bed of caramel fudge or simply on some fresh or frozen raspberries, lightly sugared. I saw the caramel fudge version this week on one of my favourite German-speaking blogs, Johannes Guggenberger’s Stuttgartcooking. In his day job, Johannes cooks at one of the most well-known high-security prisons in Germany, Stammheim. In his spare time Johannes runs his blog Stuttgartcooking, where he plays around with the traditional dishes of the region, as well as introducing us to the food of his own Austrian background. Making the Nockerln on a bed of fudge sounded just perfect – you can prepare the fudge beforehand and make the actual dish once the main course is finished: it only takes around 25 minutes to prepare and you’ll have to serve it straightaway before it collapses.
If you don’t want to bother with the fudge, simply place a bag of frozen raspberries. fresh strawberries or thinly sliced apples on the bottom of the greased serving dish and sprinkle some icing sugar on top of it before adding the meringue. Or simply grease your dish and have the Nockerl ‘au naturel’!
Nockerln are often served with raspberry sauce: simply melt some sugar in a pan, add some rum and flambée it (the French term for lighting it, preferably without setting your eyebrows on fire), then add a bag of frozen raspberries and leave over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until fully defrosted.
Salzburger Nockerln (serves 4)
For the fudge (optional):
- 3 tbs caster sugar
- 180 ml single cream
For the Nockerln:
- 5 egg whites
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tbs caster sugar
- 1 tbs vanilla sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tbs plain flour
Preheat your oven to 200C (don’t use the fan!).
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks a little until smooth. In a bigger and very clean bowl, using a very clean whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt until white and foamy, then keep beating while you add the sugar. Beat until the mix starts forming shiny soft peaks – don’t be tempted to over beat it as it will make it too dry.
Sieve the flour over the mix and fold it in.
Spoon the mix into your dish, on top of the fudge or fruit, forming three (or more) separate ‘peaks’ with your spatula. I made smaller hills, so learn from my mistakes and go for fewer and bigger blobs.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly browned. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.