In the culinary arts very many dishes incorporate place names. Those names ase frequently random inventions (cf French Fries) or an attempt to differentiate a foodstuff from local traditions. (A Vienna sausage doesn’t come from Vienna). Rarely do they indicate a place where the dish is actually from and has a clear connection to a locale.
One of those is the inimitable a Salzburger nockerl, invented there and representing the mountains around the city.
Salzburger nockerl are light and delicate vanilla-flavored dumplings which are, due to the method of preparation, often labeled as a soufflé. As the name implies, the dish was invented in Salzburg in the 17th century, and as an ode to its place of origin, when preparing these sweet treats, the airy mass is arranged on a baking tray in three mounds, representing the three hills that surround the city.
The dish is always served warm, either as a dessert or a main dish, and it is traditionally dusted with powdered sugar and paired with various fruit sauces.
Heat the milk with the cut-open vanilla pod and lemon juice. Remove from the stove and leave to sit. Remove the pod. Smear an oval-shaped, ovenproof form with butter and pour in enough vanilla milk to cover the bottom.
With a hand mixer, mix the cooled egg whites with a pinch of salt and a third of the sugar until very stiff. Slowly add the rest of the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Preheat the oven to 220°C / 428°F. Add the egg yolks, lemon rind, vanilla sugar, flour, and cornstarch to the egg white mixture and fold three or four times with a whisk (the mass mustn’t become homogenous). Make 4 pyramid-shaped nockerl, placing them next to each other in the baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown..
Dust with icing sugar and serve quickly so that the Nockerl don’t collapse.
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