Living in a house surrounded by apricot trees for quite some time, apricot season meant preserving lots of apricots as jam but also using plenty of apricots in cakes and of course for this Austrian classic: apricot dumplings. A dish I look forward to every year!
In German, this cake is known as Bienenstich (= bee sting). While this sounds rather unpleasant, I promise this cake does not live up to its name. This cake for dessert in comparison to getting stung by a bee is a completely opposing experience.
The name of this cake goes back to the 15th century when two young bakers protected the German city Andernach from an attack. They saw the enemy coming and dropped beehives from the city wall onto the attackers. The bees stung the enemy troops and drove them away. In celebration of the victory this honey and almond cake (filled with vanilla custard) – Bienenstich – was created.
This brioche bun is a very traditional Easter treat in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Its origin however lies in Northern Italy. In contrast to the Austrian Easter tradition though, the Italian pinza is a traditional Christmas treat.
This so called Walnut Bundt Cake is known in Austria as Kärntner Reindling – a soft and fluffy dough made with yeast and filled with raisins and in this case also walnuts. This traditional cake from Carinthia (a region in the south of Austria) is a typically made for the Easter holidays.
This type of cake is known around the world and local versions have developed in various countries over time. The name “swiss roll” might suggest otherwise, but in fact this cake has its origin in Austria. The typical Viennese version – “Biskuitroulade” in German – is simply filled with apricot jam.
Vienna is known for its pastries and cakes – some of the most popular ones like Sachertorte are quite time-consuming in their making. This roll however is an easy introduction into the art of Viennese (or Austrian) pastries and cakes – it only takes a few ingredients and little time to prepare and if sticking to some basic rules, success is guaranteed.
In Austria this dish is called “Mohnnudeln”. The straight forward translation to English is: “poppy seed noodles” – this translation however does not do the recipe justice. You probably have a completely different image in mind now.
There a no noodles in this recipe. What is called noodles here are actually small potato dumplings quite similar to Italian gnocchi. They are served sweet in this case with browned butter, sugar and poppy seeds.
Mohnnudeln are a very typical Austrian dish. They are not a dessert but a full main course. It is not uncommon in Austria to eat a sweet main course, although in case of a sweet main course, a soup is usually served as a starter.
I first came across this dish during a skiing trip in Tyrol, Austria. One of the ski huts (Hütte in German) had them on their menu. I expected something different – an ordinary pancake with a few blueberries on top – but I was pleasantly surprised when these pancakes arrived.
Since they are made of blueberries for the most part they are moist and strong in flavour. It is not at all a problem to use frozen blueberries in this versatile recipe – the pancakes make a great breakfast, lunch or even desert.
Serve them with warm apple compote made with cinnamon and cloves – ideal for a cold winter day.