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…
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.
Yesterday we found ourselves in the unfortunate situation of being out of yogurt and beer. Unfortunate in that it was an Austrian national holiday, and all the stores are closed on holidays and Sundays. The tiny groceries found at the gas stations and train stations are open, as is the large Billa at the airport, but this is no fun when there is a better alternative: driving to Slovakia!
We spent the day at the Carnuntum archeological park, walking around Roman ruins and reconstructed Roman villas. This park is very close to the Slovak border, so once we were Roman-ed out we crossed the border and headed to the closest Tesco. I am glad that we did because we were treated to delights such as this:
Self-serve bakery cart
How can one resist such a sight, especially when everything in the cart was less than 1 Euro a piece? We came home with these:
Orechovnik and Makovnik Kolacky
These are kolacky or kolache, a sweet bread filled with fruit or nuts. The ones I chose were made with a lightly sweetened yeast bread, as opposed to pastry, and were filled with poppyseed (makovnik; top) and walnut (orechovnik; bottom). I thought they were great, but my husband thought they were so-so and my kids would not touch them, so I am not going to be making these.
We got a couple more gems, in addition to the yogurt and beer that led to the visit in the first place:
Am I the only one who thinks “Cowboy sausage” just doesn’t sound right?
Dancing Goat Beer! (That’s how I will always think of it at any rate.)
My friends and I did a day trip to Bratislava, and we spent a majority of our time there either eating or buying Slovakian food to bring home and eat later. One could say that was my bad influence…
Our explorations led us to Obchod v múzeu. We were initially attracted to the shop because its sign claimed it was the oldest shop in the city. The shop, however, is better described as one third Slovak handicrafts and one third Slovak pastries and wine for sale, and one third museum. The museum portion exhibited a large number of old school cash registers and commercial products, and looked like this:
A blast from the past
The owners must have sensed our true nature because on our way out the door, one of them held up a crescent shaped pastry and asked if we’ve ever heard of Bratislavské rožky. He said it is a very traditional and popular Slovak pastry that can be filled with either walnuts or poppyseed. You don’t have to tell me twice to try a new type of pastry, so I dutifully bought a bag of the poppyseed ones to try at home.
I am glad that we did as they were utterly delicious. I thought that they were almost exactly like the Waldviertler mohnzelten that I made for my friends’ visit (see the recipe for those here), but alas they are not. The recipe for the Slovak version uses buttermilk in the dough, and not potatoes. The rest of the recipe looked somewhat similar. I might try to make these one day in the future, though they’re not high on my “to try” list.
500 grams (18 oz) flour
300 grams (11 oz) potatoes
250 grams (8.8 oz) butter
3 tablespoons cream
1 pinch of baking powder
200 grams (7.1 oz) poppyseeds
150 grams (5.3 oz) sugar
100 grams (3.5 oz) butter
½ packet (ca. 3/4t) vanilla sugar
1. Boil the potatoes with their skins on. Once cooked, remove the skins from the potatoes and allow them to cool for 15 minutes.
2. While the potatoes are cooling, make the filling: Melt the butter with the poppy seeds, then add the remaining ingredients (do not boil). Take the pot off the stove and stir well.
3. Grate the potatoes on the smallest hole on a box grater or pass through a ricer. Combine the potatoes, flour, butter, eggs, cream, salt, and baking powder, and knead into a firm dough.
4. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, flatten slightly, and add about 1/4 cup poppyseed filling to each. Close the dough around the filling, place on a greased sheet. Flatten the dumplings and prick with a fork several times.
5. Bake about 30 minutes at 200 ° C (392 F).
I spent yesterday morning making pretzels with my children, with fantastic results.
I need to work on my pretzel formation technique.
We used the Joy of Cooking recipe for our basic pretzels. I checked the Joy of Cooking website and the recipe is not available online, and I am not sure about the legalities of sharing recipes from a copyrighted cookbook. So, I encourage you to pick up a copy of the book to find the recipe, and also because it is a very useful book to have in general. I’ve not had a bad recipe from that book yet.
For the poppyseed variation I followed the Joy of Cooking recipe through the step where you roll the dough into 12″ ropes. I then melted an ounce of butter, and brushed the melted butter over both sides of the rope. I sprinkled on a cinnamon and sugar mix (1 T sugar and 1 t cinnamon) and poppyseeds, then twisted the rope. I formed the pretzels and skipped the boiling step, putting them directly into the oven for 15 minutes. The result: buttery sugary deliciousness.