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Austrian Recipes

by Elisabeth Castleman

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Liptauer (paprika cheese spread) -- Appetizer
serves 4-6

Every classic collection of Austrian recipes includes at least one version of "Liptauer." All recipes call for three very important ingredients: a creamy type of ricotta known as "Topfen" (also called "Quark"), paprika, and chives. Liptauer is very much a question of taste; some Austrians mix into it a lot of paprika, butter, sour cream; others add chopped anchovies instead of anchovy paste, and even beer. This recipe retains the flavor of the Austrian specialty and is made with an American type of Topfen, called Quark, and has no butter.

2 cups (16 oz.) Topfen, also called Quark
1/2 small onion (about 1-2 oz.), trimmed, peeled, minced
15 medium-large sized pickled capers, drained, minced
1 medium size pickle, minced (optional)
1 bunch fresh chives, rinced, snipped finely (about 4 Tablespoons OR about 1 oz.)
1 teaspoon mild (Edelsuess type) paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/2-1 teaspoon anchovy paste (1 large squirt)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon beer (optional)
salt (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

In a food processor, mince onion, capers, and pickle. Snip fresh chives with kitchen scissors finely (do not chop with a food processor). In a medium size bowl combine and mix well "Quark," paprika, caraway, minced onion caper mixture, anchovy paste, mustard, salt (optional), pepper, and finely snipped chives. When the mixture is smooth, refrigerate, let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving over rye or whole wheat bread. Serve sprinkled with more fresh snipped chives with either beer or new wine (Heuriger Wein).

Tafelspitz (Viennese boiled beef) -- Main Course
serves 4-6

Cooked according to classic preparation rules, Tafelspitz (literally translated: the point of the table) is known to have been Austrian Hungarian Emperor Francis Joseph I's favorite meal. Viennese "Tafelspitz" for Austrians is not only a way to boil beef, but is a whole special culinary science prepared with a special cut of beef. It is not a pot roast. The authentic Tafelspitz requires a custom cut fresh piece of the hind part of beef (comparable to the American tri tip, also called silver tip); on the North American market a substitute can be fresh beef chuck brisket (not corned brisket).

The secrets of a juicy Tafelspitz are: heating the water to a rolling boil before the piece of meat is put in the water; the sudden sealing of the meat's juices as soon as the the meat's pores close when the Tafelspitz touches the boiling water; not too much salt, but enough to enhance the meat's flavor; a few pieces of vegetables (sometimes also sections of bones with marrow), the right cooking time, and the gentle rolling of the boiling water which will cook but not break the meat's fiber. This recipe is a simplified version of this very Austrian dish.

2 1/2 pounds fresh beef brisket
enough water for your suitable Dutch oven pot (about 5 Qt. pot capacity with about 4 Qts. of water) + salt (about 1/2 Tablespoon for every Qt. of water)
3 whole cloves garlic, slightly crushed, peeled
3 whole green (freeze dried) or white pepper corns
2 juniper berries (you may substitute with 1 bay leaf)
3 whole medium size carrots, peeled, trimmed (about 4 oz.)
1 small-medium onion, trimmed, unpeeled, halved (about 2 oz.)
3 sprigs fresh parsley OR
3 sprigs fresh lovage

In a suitable covered Dutch oven, bring water to a rolling boil over medium heat. When the water boils, add meat, garlic, pepper corns, juniper berries, and cover. Bring the water to a boil again and add carrots, onion, and parsley. Cover and let everything simmer for 60 minutes. Turn the meat over, add salt, and let everything cook, covered, for 90 additional minutes. Switch off the heat and let the meat steep for 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the broth and cut meat across the grain when you serve it. Serve Tafelspitz with "Apfelkren" and your choice of raw and cooked vegetables.

Note: Keep the broth for soups. Cut cold meat leftovers in thin strips and use like a meat salad mixed with raw sliced onions dressed with a simple oil, vinegar, salt and pepper vinaigrette.

How to make "Apfelkren" (apple horseradish sauce) for Tafelspitz: Combine and blend 1 pound Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled, grated and cooked until very mushy with 1 Tablespoon wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish.

B'soffene Brataepfel (Tirolean baked "drunken" apples) -- Dessert
serves 4

For this southwestern Austrian specialty absolutely do not use any of the flavored or green Peppermint Schnapps that are available on the American market. If you must, you may substitute the Austrian Schnaps with Italian "Grappa." The alcohol will evaporate during the cooking and the flavor will be superb.

4 whole Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled
1/4 cup "Schnaps" (preferably made from apple or pear)
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 cup white wine
enough oil to brush a pie pan (use any suitable unflavored vegetable oil)
enough aluminum foil to cover the pie pan

Place one oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the pie pan with oil. Place apples in the oil-brushed pan so that they are not touching each other. Drizzle the apples with the lemon juice to prevent apples from turning brown. Soak raisins in Schnaps.

In a small sauce pan, on medium heat, heat the wine, the cinnamon, and the sugar, stirring until everything is syrupy and the mixture boils (about 10 minutes). Divide soaked and drained raisins into four portions (keep the Schnaps juice) and stuff them into the apples.

Spoon half of the wine sugar syrup and the leftover Schnaps juice over the apples. Cover everything with aluminum foil and bake covered for about 30 minutes or until the apples are soft. 10 minutes before removing from oven pour over the apples remaining wine juice. Serve everything warm, not too hot, topped with sweetened whipped cream.

Wiener Phariseer Kaffee (Viennese rum liqueur spiked coffee)
serves 4

This recipe is an adaptation of the same Viennese coffee specialty served at Vienna's Cafe' Landtmann, located just across from the prominent "Volksoper" Theater-Opera house along the Dr. Karl Lueger Ring. There are many legends on why this coffee has its name. One that makes sense tells of a hypocritical priest who especially loved liqueur and wanted to hide it from his congregation. To brew this coffee use about 1 Tablespoon of freshly ground coffee per cup + 1/2 Tablespoon for the pot.

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups freshly brewed Mocha type coffee (either Viennese Mocha, Mocha Java, or light French roast)
4 teaspoons sugar
4 Tablespoons either dark rum, Austrian red cherry liqueur, or Rum Topf juice enough sweetened whipped cream to top all coffees enough powdered cinnamon to dust the whipped cream

Place, in each of four coffee cups, 1/8 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 Tablespoon liqueur. Fill each cup with coffee and stir. Top each coffee with a portion of whipped cream and sprinkle with powdered cinnamon.

more on Austrian Cuisine...
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