Thursday, January 12, 2012

Date Night-Vienna Style

Brian and I have been thinking of a good date night to have before we both go back to our schools.  We had such a wonderful time on our vacation in Austria that we decided to celebrate that wonderful week and make a dinner inspired by it.  The dinner has to be vegetarian and in terms of Viennese cooking, this seriously limits our options.  However, Vienna is famous for it's noodles: spaetzle.  We decided on a spaezle dish with grilled veggies and of course for dessert: sachertorte.  This cake is easily one of the best things I have ever had and so we were both very excited to see if we could do it justice.  Also, the spaetzle recipe does not seem too daunting and it will be my first try at making my own noodles.  Overall, this meal sounds amazing and is also fairly simple to make.  If you want a taste of Vienna, this is the meal for you!

Spaetzle with Gruyere and Caramelized Onions (adapted from Food & Wine)

1 3/4 cups skim milk
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3 cups white whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

1. In a small bowl, whisk milk, egg yolks, and egg.  In a separate, large bowl, combine flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Using a wooden spoon, stir egg/milk mixture into the flour mixture.  Dough will be a little lumpy.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Prepare another large bowl of ice water.  Hold a colander with large holes over the boiling water and carefully press about 1/2 cup of the spaetzle dough through the holes and into the pot.  Continue until all the dough is used up and cook for another 2 minutes.  Drain the spaetzle and immediately transfer it to the ice water.  Stir the dough until all the ice is melted and then drain.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in 1 tbsp of the oil.  Season with salt and pepper and toss it all up until evenly coated.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Oil a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Spread the spaetzle in the dish and dot with the pieces of butter.  Sprinkle the cheese over the spaetzle and bake for about 20 minutes. Spaetzle should be hot and cheese should be melted.
4. While spaetzle is in the oven, cook the onions in the remaining olive oil over high heat until they are softened, about 1 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes until the onions are nicely browned.  Serve over the baked spaetzle.
Enjoy :)

Sauteed Veggies

2 red peppers, cut into thin slices
1 bunch of asparagus
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
Grapeseed oil

1. In a saute pan, place peppers and asparagus and desired amount of oil.  Cook until veggies are softened.  In a medium pot, bring carrots and water to a boil.  Cook covered until carrots are softened. This makes a lot of veggies, but that's okay because they're good for you :)  Mix all veggies together and serve.

Sachertorte (adapted from epicurious)

  • 4 1/2 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon gently into cup and level top)

  • 1 cup Apricot Glaze (recipe below)
  • Small Batch Chocolate Glaze (recipe below)
  • Unsweetened Whipped Cream (for serving) (recipe below)

1. To make the torte: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
2. Place chocolate in a microwavable safe bowl and microwave on half power until chocolate is melted,  stirring every 30 seconds or so.
3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the confectioners' sugar. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.
4. Beat the egg whites and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible wisps of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.
5. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (The cake will dome in the center.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.
6. To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, trim the top of the cake to make it level. Cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place one cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round. Brush the top of the cake layer with the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush again. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Transfer the cake to a wire rack placed over a jelly-roll pan lined with waxed paper. Let cool until the glaze is set.
7. Make the chocolate glaze (it must be freshly made and warm). Pour all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake. Using a metal offset spatula, gently smooth the glaze over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides, being sure that the glaze completely coats the cake (patch any bare spots with the spatula and the icing that has dripped). Cool until the glaze is barely set, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.
8. To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Serve with a large dollop of whipped cream on the side.

Apricot Glaze:
1 1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp golden rum

1. In a medium saucepan, heat preserves and rum over medium heat, stirring often for about 2-3 minutes or until mixture is very sticky.  Pour over a colander with small holes into a bowl pressing mixture into the colander.  Use warm.
Apricot Glaze

Chocolate Glaze:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar

1. In a small sauce pan over high heat bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat and stir to thicken for about a minute.  Use immediately for cake assembly.

Unsweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Beat ingredients in a chilled bowl until it reaches the desired consistency.  

Enjoy :)

A couple notes: We didn't bother with the whipped cream because we are not huge fans, but unsweetened is definately the way to go.  Plus, it is how it is served in Austria.  Also, this was the ugliest cake I have ever made seeing as how when I went to cut it, it fell apart.  Next time, if there is a next time, I'll probably chill the cake before slicing it so that it is more firm.  Overall though, the cake tasted great and the spaetzle dish was absolutely fantastic :)

Supposed to look like:

Source: Original Sachertorte 

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