Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Austrian Vanillekipferl at Christmas

Pic of 6 horseshoe-shaped Austrian Vanillekipferl

The light pastry melted in my mouth. I tasted my first ever Vanillekipferl at a Christmas event on 9th December. 

How I could have missed out on this delicate pastry for so long?

Moreish is the word. 

You simply cannot stop at one.

The Austrian Cultural Forum hosted the event in London. They invited pastry chef Johanna Zimmerer to prepare the classic Austrian recipe. The dough is surprisingly simple. A light touch is an essential ingredient for success.

A classic recipe
The Austrians present reminisced over warm mulled wine. They described the Vanillekipferl that their grandmothers used to make. The crescent or horseshoe shape is an essential part of the classic Austrian recipe. Grandmother would not approve otherwise.

Other nationalities lay claim to the recipe. Vienna stakes its claim as the true city of origin for Austria.

According to legend, Viennese bakers made the first Vanillekipferl to celebrate victory over the Turks in 1683. The crescent shape is based on the Turkish flag. It is said that French pâtissiers copied the shape later for croissants.

I have discovered a number of recipes online since that Wednesday evening. The nuts used seem to vary. Alternatives to almonds are walnuts and hazelnuts. The Austrian National Tourist Office shows the following ingredients in its recipe: 

180 g butter
70 g of shelled and ground almonds
50 g sugar
2 eggs yolks
210 g plain flour

Another recipe showing the preparation stages can be found on Austrian Helene Dsouza’s Masalaherb website. She also offers a recipe for homemade vanilla sugar.

There are also some glutenfree recipes available online.

I am now tempted to bake some Vanillekipferl this Christmas. I hope your mouth is watering at the prospect too.

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