Viennese cuisine developed from many different sources. Italian cooking has had a strong influence since the early 17th Century. In the 18th Century, French cuisine became influential in Vienna, along with French etiquette and diplomatic language. (In fact, French terms for many things became part of the Viennese language, setting it apart from High German.)The term “Wiener Küche” (Viennese cuisine) first appeared in German language cookbooks around the end of the 18th century, and it was mistakenly treated as equivalent to Austrian cuisine. In the second half of the 19th Century, cookbooks started to include Bohemian, Hungarian (particularly with Gulaschsuppe, originally a Hungarian stew), Italian, Jewish, Polish and Southern Slavic features in Viennese cuisine. The croissant is also thought to have originated in Vienna after the defeat of the Turks in the Siege of Vienna.
The Legendary Story of How Coffee Arrived in Vienna
In 1683 300,000 Ottoman soldiers surrounded Vienna, laying the country to siege. With only 33,000 Austrian soldiers to defend the city things looked bleak. Help came in the form of a young Pole named Franz Kolschitzky who donned the uniform of one of the Ottoman soldiers and slipped behind enemy lines. The information he gathered allow the Austrians to attack. The Turks fled, leaving behind 500 sacks of green coffee beans. No one knew
Viennese Coffee Specialties
A kleiner Schwarzer is a single espresso, a grosser Schwarzer is a double. Literally it mean small black/large black. Mokka is often used instead, and a kurzer Mokka would be a mini-espresso..
A kleiner Brauner and grosser Brauner are single and double esprossos serves with a small jug of milk or cream for you to add. Braun means brown.
Verlängerter is an extended espresso, in other words with more water.
Einspänner is an espresso topped with whipped creams. The word means a carriage driving system that requires only one hand so you can hold coffee in the other. The whipped cream keeps the coffee from getting cold too fast.
Cappuccino with a Viennese twist means sometimes it has less milk or even whipped cream instead of frothed milk.
Wiener Melange – an espresso with steamed milk topped with a little foam. Not so different from a cappuccino. Sometimes a dollop of whipped cream is added to that and then it’s known as a Franziskaner
Wiener Eiskaffee – iced coffee, but here the coffee is hot and then topped with milk, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
Then there are also coffees with a touch of liquor such as a the Maria Theresia (one-time empress) with orange liqueur; the Mozart with cherry brandy; and the Biedermeier with apricot liqueur.
Viennese Food Specialties
- Apfelstrudel (an apple-filled pastry)
- Topfenstrudel (a quark cheese-filled strudel)
- Palatschinken (Viennese crêpes)
- Kaiserschmarrn (caramelized and shredded pancake)
- Buchteln (from Czech buchty): sweet rolls made of yeast dough, filled, traditionally, with Powidl, (or, in some modern variants, with apricot jam) and butter-baked.
- Powidl (from Czech povidla)
- Sachertorte (a chocolate cake)
- Wiener Schnitzel
- Tafelspitz (boiled beef, often served with apple and horseradish sauces)
- Gulasch (a hotpot similar to Hungarian pörkölt, gulyás is stew with more sauce or soup in Hungary)
- Selchfleisch (smoked meat) with Sauerkraut and dumplings.
- Rindsuppe (beef soup)
- Beuschel (a ragout containing veal lungs and heart)
- Liptauer cheese
After watching some of the videos below, please scroll down to some of my grandmother’s favorite dessert recipes.
Vienna Food Tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5V-Rif362Q
Vienna’s Culinary Delights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2sjhqr-sUQ
7 Ultimately Austrian Foods to Taste in Vienna https://www.gpsmycity.com/articles/107-7-ultimately-austrian-foods-to-taste-in-vienna.html
An Introduction to Traditional Vienna coffee houses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcLwCuhPEqs
A whirl around Vienna’s Coffee Houses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZDMPJFyaEc
Viennese Pastries and other Delicacies mit Musik https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2eUCPlbGKg
Vienna’s oldest restaurant, the Griechenbeisl, literally meaning the Greek snack bar, tough it serves Viennese food and is quite large. https://www.griechenbeisl.at
Making Apfelstrudel at the famous K.u.K.Zuckerbäcker Demel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND2m50YxFBQ
A Visit to Hotel Sacher – http://Hotel Sacher https://www.sacher.com/en/
The story of the Sachertorte Feud – who makes the real one? Who has the right to call it the original?https://www.insider.com/vienna-sachertorte-battle-cafe-demel-vs-hotel-sacher-chocolate-cake-2019-10
For readers who understand German here is a funny song about baking a cake by Cissy Kraner, one of Vienna’s most famous cabaret singers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P9QsHQWpB0
A few of my Grandmother’s Favorite Dessert Recipes
BISCUIT – (pronounced Bis Quit) a wonderful all-purpose cake that allows for delicious variations. You will need a scale.
their weight in sugar and flour
1 tsp baking powder
a little more than 1/3 stick of butter
With a handmixer, mix eggs till light and frothy, then slowly add sugar and mix until that too is light and frothy. Fold in flour and baking powder with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cut butter into thin slices into the dough and mash in with the wooden spoon. Bake in an 8″ or 9″ square greased and floured pan at 350F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Test doneness with a toothpick (if it comes out clean it’s done)
Variation 1: Add chocolate chips to batter before baking. Stir well. This is our favorite.
Variation 2: Add raisins or dried cranberries, and then drizzle on a glaze made of lemon juice and granulated sugar and let harden. You can also omit raisins and just have the glaze.
Variation 3: When Italian prune plums or apricots are in season. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9×13″ glass pan. Batter will be thinner than in the square pan. To with pitted plum or apricot halves (cut side up). Sprinkle sugar on the fruit. Bake until cake is golden. When cool, sprinkle with sugar.
SPECIAL OCCASION SOUR CREAM TORTE
Torte: ½ lb butter
2 cups flour
½ lb confectioner’s sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
pinch of salt
Combine by hand and divide into three parts. Bake each part separately, making each into a thin layer ina round baking tin. Bake at 300F until golden brown.
Filling: to be put in between the three layers and also on top
1 pint sour cream
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
Refrigerate and serve the next day. It’s rich so serve small slices.
2 cups flour sifted several times
½ cup sugar
grated lemon rind
¼ lb grated almonds
4 hard boiled eggs pressed through a sieve
¼ lb butter, softened
apricot or raspberry jam
Combine all the ingredients except the jam. Spread ½ to 2/3 of dough out into baking pan/pie dish with your hands. Fill with jam and spread evenly. Out of the remaining dough make a thin roll of dough to put around the perimeter and press down with fingers to make a scalloped edge, and 4 to 6 thin narrow stlips that are crossed over the top to create a lattice effect. (Use egg white to help stick the dough pieces together).
Brush all the dough with egg white. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and ground almonds and bake at 350F till golden.
CREAM CHEESE TORTE
Torte: ½ lb butter
2-4 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Combine and roll out with rolling pin three times. Bake in pan that as been buttered and dusted with breadcrumbs for 30 mins at 350F.
Filling: container of cottage cheese, ricotta or cream cheese
confectioner’s sugar to taste
3 beaten egg whites
Mix together and fill pastry.
SCHOKOLADENWURST (CHOCOLATE ROLL) – a treat we always made for Christmas
½ grated semi sweet chocolate
½ lb ground walnuts or hazelnuts
¼ lb sugar (1/2 cup)
dash of rum
a few chopped maraschino cherries
Melt chocolate in double boiler, add other ingredients. Let cool enough to handle. Make rolls the thickness of a frankfurter on sugared board. Let cool. Wrap in tin foil and store at least a week before eating. Cut into little slices.
MARILLENWURST (APRICOT ROLL) – Also served at Christmas, this one takes a bit of muscle power.
1 pkg dried apricots
2 cups sugar
Boil apricots in enough water to cover for 5 mins. Drain. Add sugar and heat, constantly stirring and mashing until it looks like jam. Let cool. Make rolls the thickness of a frankfurter on sugared board. When completely cool, wrap in tin foil and store for a few days before eating. Cut into thin slices.
PALATSCHINKEN (VIENNESE CRÊPES)
soda water )optional)
clarified butter or canola oil
Filling (see below for various options)
The quantity of eggs, flour and milk (and soda, if used) depend on how many Palatschinken you are making. The resulting batter should be the consistency of cream or buttermilk.
Combine and mix the milk, eggs and flour. If you want a lighter crêpe, substitute soda water for 1/3 of the milk.
Heat the butter or canola oil in a medium-sized frying pan or crêpe pan til hot, then add a ladleful of batter and tilt the pan so that it covers the bottom of the pan. Fry on medium heat until the crêpe loosens from the bottom, and then flip. Crêpe is done when golden on both sides.
FILLINGS: apricot and raspberry jam are especially good and Viennese, but other jams and marmalades are also delicious. Lightly cover the flat crêpe and roll up. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Can also be filled with chocolate or Nutella, or ricotta or cream cheese, or grated nuts and sugar, and then rolled and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Serve at once.
WEBSITE from Vienna with recipes for their many desserts and pastries https://www.wien.info/en/shopping-wining-dining/viennese-cuisine/recipes/sweets-desserts
VIENNESE DEVILED EGGS
Deviled eggs are the perfect party food as well as elegant hors d’oeuvres, and can be made with a variety of fillings. The recipes below all call for 6 eggs and are inspired by Lillian Langseth-Christensen’s “Gourmet’s Old Vienna Cookbook.”
Eggs can be cut in half vertically so that each half can sit in an egg cup;, or cut in half horizontally and placed on a deviled egg platter, if you have one, or on a bed of lettuce on a regular platter.
(HINT for peeling hardboiled eggs: place in a jar with some water. Shake. Peel comes right off and white of egg is smooth and undamaged)
RED CAVIAR EGGS #1
Mix riced egg yolks with 1-1/2 tsp minced onion, 1-1/2 tbsp red caviar, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tbsp sour cream, and salt if needed. Top with a little mound of caviar.
RED CAVIAR EGGS #2
Mix riced egg yolks with 1 tbsp grated onion, the grated rind of 1/2 lemon, 3 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tbsp red caviar, and salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
Mix riced egg yolks with 4 tbsp creamed butter, 4 tsp mayonnaise, 2 tsp minced onion, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp salt. Stand a cold shrimp curve up, in each with mixture on either side. Flank the shrimp with a few capers.
Mash together 1 small can skinless sardines, drained, with 1 tbsp brown mustard, 1 tsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp minced onion, 1 tsp grated lemon rind, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Decorate each egg with a sprig of parsley and a thin slice of lemon.
Mix riced yolks with 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tbsp brown mustard, 3 tbsp sweet pickle relish (drained), 1-1/2 tsp minced onion, 1/2 tsp dry mustard. Decorate with capers and parsley.
Like Russian eggs but decorate with a slice of almond or olive
Mix riced egg yolks with 1/4 lb of minced smoked salmon, and enough whipped cram to bind the mixture. Grate the rind of a 1/2 lemon over the mixture. Decorate with a thin slice of salmon and capers.
SMOKED SALMON EGGS WITH CAVIAR
Combine riced egg yolks with grated rind of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp horseradish, 1/2 tsp mined onion, pepper, and approx. 2 tbsp mayonnaise (enough to make a stiff paste) Fill eggs and smooth the top. Curl little squares of thinly sliced smoked salmon into cornucopias. Fill them with caviar and lay one on each egg. Garnish with lemon wedges
Mix riced egg yolks with approx. 2 tbsp anchovy butter (depending on its saltiness or mildness). Add 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tbsp creamed butter, and 1 tbsp sour cream. Sprinkle with chopped cashews or almonds, or curl and anchovy filet on each egg alongside slivers of cashews or almonds.
LIVER PATÉ EGGS
Combine riced egg yolks with 4 oz. paté, 2 tsp minced onion, 1-1/2 tbsp mayonnaise, and salt to taste. Decorate with parsley.
Combine riced egg yolks with 2 tbsp mayonnaise, grated rind of 1 lemon, salt to taste, and a pinch of dry mustard, and decorate with a small asparagus spear than has been lightly boiled and then marinated in French dressing.
Mix riced egg yolks with 1/4 cup creamed butter, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp minced chives, 1 tbsp minced parsley, 2 small garlic cloves crushed, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with minced chives.
“The Classic Art of Viennese Pastry ” by Christine Berl. https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Art-Viennese-Pastry-Sachertorte-More/dp/0471292028
“Gourmet’s Old Vienna Cookbook” by Lillian Langseth-Christensen https://www.amazon.com/Gourmets-Old-Vienna-Cookbook-Viennese/dp/0933166036/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=gourmet%27s+old+Vienna+cookbook&qid=1602270133&sr=8-1