Sturmzeit!

I’ve previously written about wine production in Vienna (view that post here) and mentioned Sturm, a partially fermented wine that is available late summer/early fall. The Gelbmanns Gaststube at the Rathaus film fest was selling Sturm last week, and a stand at the Neustifter Kirtag was also selling Sturm. I guess this means it’s almost Sturmzeit for the city, which means Sturm in every café and Sturm stands downtown.

White and red sturm for sale

White and red sturm for sale

You can see in the picture that the bottles are topped with foil rather than capped or stopped. What you can’t see is that the liquid in the bottle is bubbling like crazy because it’s still actively fermenting. We bought a bottle of the white Sturm (it’s also available in red), and it tasted better than I remember it tasting. We also discovered that Sturm comes in non-grape varieties:

Bottles of raspberry and apricot sturm

Bottles of raspberry and apricot sturm

We did not try the non-grape ones because we were running out of arms to carry things, but if we come across these varieties again we might try them. I’ve never seen this in the States before and so I don’t know whether we’ll still be able to enjoy these once we’re home. This an argument for drinking as much of it as we can, while we can.

Poppyseed Cake

My dog and I met a friend at a café for second breakfast today (how very Viennese/Hobbit-like of us!), and I swore to myself that I would eat well. A roll with jam, perhaps a boiled egg — healthy(ish) and not too heavy. But then the waiter mentioned they had chocolate poppyseed cake and… well…

Schokolade-mohn kuche

Schokolade-mohn kuche

The cake was in layers, and in between each layer was a thin spread of apricot jam. The cake was covered with a rich chocolate ganache and decorated with sugared violets and whole coffee beans. I love poppyseed everything and would like to re-create this cake at home but, alas, my husband is not a fan of either poppyseed or Austrian cakes. I will have to settle for looking at this photograph and drooling.

Marillenzeit!

Another reason that I like the Austrians so much is that they seem to get as excited about food as I do. There are signs proclaiming “It’s (insert name of seasonal produce here) time!” in the grocery store windows, with nice displays of whatever produce item(s) is/are in season inside the store. Whatever is in season is made into all manner of soups, pastas, cakes, etc., and incorporated into mains in sometimes very creative ways. There are roadside stands everywhere, usually with large, colorful signs pointing the way.

Right now it’s Marillenzeit! (apricot time), and apparently no one is more excited about it than the people who live in the Wachau Valley. We drove through the valley this past weekend with our visiting friends and saw not only apricot stands all along the main road, but also an apricot festival in progress. We stopped for lunch at a riverside restaurant in Spitz an der Donau and spotted a sign for the village’s apricot kirtag next weekend.

We could not pass up the apricot wonderfulness, so we bought a three kilo basket of apricots to bring home with us. I turned two of the three kilos into a stew for dessert (see the recipe for the stew here), and my husband halved most of the remaining ones and let them soak in amaretto for a boozy and delicious dessert. Thank goodness for apricots.

A few of the gazillion apricot trees that we saw in the Wachau valley.

A few of the gazillion apricot trees that we saw in the Wachau valley.

Recipe: Marillenröster

I canned some of the stew, so this jar is not the full yield.

This jar is not the full yield as I canned some stew as well.

Marillenröster is an apricot stew that is served as dessert. It can be served with topfenknoedel, kaiserschmarren, or on its own with cream. This recipe makes two 500 gram (18 oz) glasses:

1 kilogram (36 oz) apricots, quartered and pitted
300 grams (11 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla pod (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
juice from half a lemon

Simmer all the ingredients in a pot until the fruit has broken down. If you used a vanilla bean, remove it when the stew is finished simmering. Serve warm.

Recipe: Linzer Augen

This recipe for Linzer Augen calls for red currant marmalade, which is what is normally used in Linzer Torte. All of the Linzer Augen cookies that I’ve seen here have had apricot jam in the middle, so that is how I made mine.

Linzer Augen

Linzer Augen

100 grams (3.5 oz) butter
100 grams (3.5 oz) honey
1 egg yolk
3-4 Tbsp whipping cream
a lemon peel, grated
260 grams (9.2 oz) flour
8 grams (.3 oz) baking powder
red currant marmalade
confectioner’s sugar

1. Knead all the ingredients (except the marmalade) into a dough. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator 2 hours.

2. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 2-3 mm (1/8″) on a floured surface. Use a round shape to cut circles out of the dough.

3. Place the circles on a cooking sheet lined with baking paper, and cut three small holes in half of the cookies (I used a straw to cut the holes in mine).

4. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, at 200 C (392F) until they are golden yellow, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

5. Take a cookie without holes, flip upside down, and spread marmalade across the top. Place a cookie with holes on top and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Repeat with remaining cookies.