Yes, you read that right. The range of Austrian desserts is so wide and we love them so dearly, we do eat some of them as a full meal. Most of these dishes go back to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, so if you’ve been to one of our Slavic neighbouring countries, especially the Czech Republic, you might have come across variations of these. Now, let’s dig into seven delicious desserts Julia and other Austrians love eating as a meal.
#1 Obstknödel (Fruit Dumplings)
Dumplings are an important part of Austrian cuisine. We put them in soup, as a side and of course as a main course. Obstknödel (Fruit Dumplings) are made of flour, quark and butter or sometimes egg. The round dough balls are cooked, then rolled around in toasted breadcrumbs and sprinkled with sugar. However, the real star is on the inside. The classic filling is an entire apricot but any fruit which has a round shape can be put inside. Strawberries and plums are also popular.
#2 Germknödel (Yeast Dumpling)
A relative of the Obstknödel, this dumpling is made from a yeast dough. Rather than fresh fruit, it’s filled with Powidl (plum stew) and traditionally topped with poppy seeds and butter sauce. The Germknödel is quite gigantic, so I’m impressed by anyone who manages to eat more than one at a time.
#3 Palatschinken (Austrian crepes)
When you walk into your Grandma’s kitchen and you see her gracefully pouring the fluid dough into a pan, you know it’s a special day. Making Palatschinken and turning them in the pan without tearing them is a skill that can only be gained with practice and going through many sad looking Palatschinken.
These thin crepes are traditionally filled with apricot jam, before being rolled up. But people have their own recipes for fillings. Other jams are popular as well, so are nuts, even ice cream or about anything else you can come up with. Since the dough by itself isn’t sweetened, some people even put savoury fillings inside.
#4 Kaiserschmarren (Shredded Pancake)
The name literally translates to Emperor’s Nonsense or Mess. There are different stories of why it’s called that way but most of them end with Emperor Franz Josef enjoying a newly created dessert and I can’t fault him. Kaiserschmarren starts out as a thick, fluffy pancake which is baked in a pan. Once the bottom has caramelized, you tear it up into shreds. A controversial discussion is whether to put in raisins or not. At Wine & Rum we’re firmly Team Raisin, no matter what you may comment. To finish this masterpiece its often served with Zwetschkenröster (stewed plums) or apple sauce.
#5 Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)
The one dessert from this list you’re most likely to have heard about before. As the name suggests it’s a strudel dough, which is painstakingly stretched until it gets to the correct texture, filled with apples. In this case there’s little controversy about the raisins because they, as well as cinnamon and toasted Semmelbrösel (white bread crumbs) are essential ingredients. Although Sam had had apple strudel before, tasting the original convinced him that he’d like Austrian pastries, even if he doesn’t necessarily agree with eaten them as a full meal.
#6 Mohnnudeln (Poppy Seed Potato Noodles)
To be honest I’ve never made the potato dough from scratch myself because it’s a lot of work. But the ones from the frozen section are usually quite nice too. All you do is cook the short thick noodles until they’re tender. Then you toss them in a mix of powdered sugar and poppy seeds for added flavour. They’re perfect for a lunch because technically you’re eating potato too, so you could argue it’s still a hearty, healthy dish, kind of, maybe.
#7 Buchteln (Filled Yeast Dough Rolls)
Buchteln are little yeast dough rolls which are placed close together in a cake tin and baked in the oven. They’re traditionally filled with jam, apricot being once again a favourite – you’re probably starting to spot a pattern here. We just love apricots.
Oftentimes, Buchteln are served with vanilla sauce. I grew up eating them with Fisolen (string beans) except by string beans in this case we mean white beans, which makes it an interesting sweet and savoury mix.
Any of these desserts you want to try or did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments.