One of the sweetest people I encountered this past year was Rianne aka Ri Ri. There is a part of me that thinks her unique sweetness comes from her country and city of origin, Vienna, Austria.
Austrians are well known for their massive sweet tooths and it reflects in the cultural food scene. With daily "coffee and cake" breaks, similar to the siesta in Spain, Austrians have their social affairs in konditorei (pastry shops) offering up to 50 different varieties of mehlspeisen (desserts).
Fortunately for me, Rianne is quite the pastry mastermind, so I got to try a few of her childhood favorites. In Austria, they enjoy desserts of all types, but as you might see, Ri Ri loves to play with seasonal fruit flavors. What is amazing is the natural flavors and sweetness of the fruit are just enough to complement anything she creates.
The first one I tried, that I remember blew my mind was the Kaiserschmarren, a spongey pancake with raisins that is first slightly cooked in the oven, then carved into pieces and finished in the pot, where it caramelizes. She sprinkled it with powdered sugar and served with a delicious homemade apple sauce.
Then came the marillenknödel,an apricot or “marillen” wrapped in potato dough, boiled in simmering water and then coated in a buttery, sugary breadcrumbs mix.
And, last but not least, Vanillekipferl. the Austrian Christmas Cookie. Shaped as moons, with a vanilla flavor and sprinkle of powdered sugar. While she made them, I impressed by how fast and perfect they would come up.
Have you tried Austrian pastries or desserts?
Let me know in the comment below.