Thursday, August 8, 2013

Austrian Desserts - Toni Moerwald and Christoph Wagner

Summary: For Austrians, dessert is the culmination of any meal -- the crowning achievement that can transform a culinary experience from dull to extravagant.  In this beautifully photographed cookbook, Austrian pastry master Toni Moerwald and award-winning restaurant critic Christoph Wagner share the secrets to crafting over five hundred perfect Austrian desserts. From Old World traditional dishes such as linzer torte and apfelstrudel, to contemporary and diet-conscious recipes, Austrian Desserts has it all.

Sprinkled between these delicious recipes are tips and tricks from a sweet kitchen connoisseur, suggestions for health-conscious substitutions, and notes on the traditional origins of numerous Austrian dishes. Book given free for review. Summary from book, image from Skyhorse Publishing.

My Review: After spending over a year in Austria as a representative for the LDS Church (as did Elizabeth!), Austria, and all things Austrian are dear to my heart. When I was asked to review this book, I almost fell out of my chair. Those little pastry shops on every corner in Vienna made me a very happy, albeit larger, girl.

The photos in this book are beautiful, and I was impressed at the variety of recipes and baking tips. There are over 500 recipes in this book. There better be variety.

Surprisingly, I had a hard time finding something to whip up as I searched through this book. Many of the recipes either had ingredients I can't get in the US, lots of booze (which I don't use), or required a lot of time. I'm a busy mom of three, and I can't spend hours in the kitchen making desserts. Or anything, really. I did find a simple recipe for Strawberry Pudding Soufflés that seemed manageable.

I had never made soufflés before, and the lack of details in the recipe didn't help any. I had no idea what the texture of the batter should be like, the size of ramekins to bake them in, or visual cues to tell when they're baked through. It was slightly annoying, and if it hadn't been for Google, it may have been really annoying. Luckily they turned out to be sweet, strawberry-flavored clouds, and we all loved them. You can find the recipe over on my recipe blog if you like: Strawberry Pudding Soufflés.

I think this book appeals to me because of nostalgia. I may return to this book if I'm feeling adventurous or need a unique dinner party dessert, but it's not a "my kid needs a birthday cake" or "I should take cookies to my neighbors" kind of cookbook.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Sum it up: Traditional and modern Austrian dessert recipes for the adventurous baker or nostalgic Austrophile.

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