Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sachertorte, an Austrian temptation

I always enjoy doing blog posts about food, so here's an especially yummy, sweet, chocolate-y one for you. This postcard, a special surprise sent from Austria, shows a dessert called Sachertorte, named after its creator Franz Sacher. This confection is traditionally composed of two layers of dense, mildly sweet chocolate sponge cake with a layer of apricot jam in the middle. The cake is covered on the top and sides with a dark chocolate icing and traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.

Franz Sacher concocted this recipe in 1832 for politician Klemens Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna, Austria. True Sachertorte can only be found in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, as the closely-guarded recipe was trademarked by the Hotel Sacher in 1876. The Sachertorte is considered one of Vienna's most famous culinary specialties.

Although the recipe is secret even today, many people have come close to replicating it. You can find a possible recipe below.

6 oz (175 g) dark chocolate (50-55% cocoa)
1/2 c (110 g) soft butter
1/2 c (110 g) golden caster sugar
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) vanilla
1/2 c (110 g) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the icing:
6 oz (175 g) dark chocolate (50-55% cocoa)
5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
2 teaspoons glycerine
2 teaspoons smooth apricot jam
Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C).

1. Start off by melting the chocolate for the cake. Break it up into a heatproof bowl, then place the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and leave it to melt slowly, being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water or the chocolate will overheat. While that’s happening, using an electric hand whisk, cream the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy. Now beat in the egg yolks, a little at a time, whisking well after each addition.
2. Then, when the chocolate has cooled slightly, fold it gradually into the creamed butter mixture and then add the vanilla extract. Next, sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl, then put it all back into the sieve and sift it into the mixture a little at a time, carefully folding it in with a large metal spoon. When all the flour is incorporated, wash the whisks in warm, soapy water and dry them thoroughly.
3. Next, in a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to the stiff-peak stage, which will take 3-4 minutes, and then carefully fold them into the mixture, bit by bit, still using a metal spoon. Now pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, level the top and bake it on the middle shelf of the oven for about 1 hour, or until firm and well risen. When it’s cooked, allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a cooling rack. Then leave it to get quite cold.
4. Now warm the apricot jam and brush the cake all over with it. Next, to make the icing, melt the chocolate with the cream, again in a bowl over simmering water. Then remove the bowl from the heat, and stir in the glycerine, to give a coating consistency. Pour the icing over the whole cake, making sure it covers the top and the sides completely. Then leave it to set, which will take 2-3 hours.


Ana said...

oh yessss...this is yummie yummie indeed! I dont know how its in the rest of the world but here, many cafes and restaurants offer Sacher cake on their menu...which is just some sort of a not-very-successful copy of the original, since the ingredients they use arent of the required quality....but as long as it looks like a sacher cake, and has the ingredients included (doesnt matter what quality or if the dosage is appropriate) they call it Sacher Cake. And tastes pretty lame....
But the one made according the original recipe is yum-yum-yummie!!

ok, now i have an urge for it, and i swore to myself i wont be eating any sweets/cakes/chocolate until i get back to hormal....*sigh* diets are so hard..

Marcie said...

When talking about Viennese or Austrian cuisine, I just have to put my 2 cents in...
The Original Sachertorte (that's the name of the Sachertorte from Hotel/Café Sacher) can be found in every Sacher-Café in Austria, there are several of them now, for example at the Vienna Airport. You can either eat it there or take one home with you. But you can also buy one in the online-shop. They ship worldwide.
In my opinion, the Original Torte is not the best variety as it often is on the dry side. I prefer the one my mother-in-law makes - she uses more jam and normally the whole Torte is just for me alone ;-)

Every other Sachertorte is not allowed to be called Original Sachertorte - there's a similar difference between the Real Salzburger Mozartkugel and the Original Salzburger Mozartkugel...but that's a whole different story.

By the way, the Torte on this postcard is not an Original Sachertorte, as the picture was taken in the Café Schwarzenberg in Vienna!

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