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Salzburger Nockerl: a dessert that pays tribute to the snow-covered mountains surrounding Salzburg.

3 min read

In general, Austrian food mixes Central European textures and flavours and most of these influences date back to more than six centuries of Habsburg Empire. While savoury food focuses on meat, poultry, root vegetables, and dairy, desserts uses chocolate, soft cheese, yeast, compotes and jams.
The Salzburger nockerl is a soufflé dessert that rises up from its dish like the snowy mountains surrounding its origin city of Salzburg.

Salzburg was an archiepiscopate for many years. It is a very beautiful city with a lot of sights. The Fortress Hohensalzburg belongs to the most famous ones, and you can see it from almost every corner of the city.
A true fortress has to have a prison, and the best-known prisoner was the archbishop, Wolf Dietrich from Raitenau, himself.
He was put into jail after his relationship with a citizens‘ beautiful daughter Salome Alt, with whom he fathered 15 children, came to light.
He officially confessed to his love and spent the rest of his life behind bars. This archbishop went down in history of Salzburg because he had built the palace Altenau for his mistress on the right bank of the river Salzach. The palace was later renamed as Mirabell by the next archbishop and today it belongs to the most visited places in Salzburg, especially thanks to its beautiful gardens.

History apart, the dessert should be “Süß wie die Liebe und zart wie ein Kuss”, as sweet as love and as tender as a kiss. This is how the Austrian composer Fred Raymond (1900–1954) praised the dessert in his operetta called Saison in Salzburg – Salzburger Nockerln (Season in Salzburg – Salzburger Nockerln) composed in 1938.
The sweet soufflé is made from egg yolk, flour, sugar, and vanilla (or vanilla sugar), mixed into a dough. Next, egg white and granulated sugar are whisked into a meringue until soft peaks form and then mixed into the dough with spatula. The treat must be freshly prepared and served warm so that the whipped eggs will not lose their aeration and collapse.
Once cooked, the delicacy gets a dusting of powdered sugar, giving the peaks a snow-capped crown, usually with raspberry sauce or any other fruit spread layered on the bottom of the soufflé.

In any case, Salzburger Nockerl, has become an icon of Austrian cuisine. According to the legend, it was invented by Salome Alt (1568–1633), the concubine of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau in the early 17th century.
The dessert represent Salzburg’s Baroque atmosphere left by the territorial prince, whose life of dissipation came to an end when his archbishopric was challenged by the Bavarian neighbours, and they are supposed to represent the the three mountains surrounding the city centre covered with snow: Gaisberg, Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg.

Images from web – Google Research