Rick Rodgers has written *the* definitive guide to the elegant desserts and coffee drinks found in historic Austro-Hungarian cafes. The beautifully illustrated book features interior photographs of several landmark cafes in their Art Deco glory, along with mouthwatering close-ups of featured recipes such as Linzertorte, Sachertorte, strudel, and schnecken.
Recipes begin with basic doughs, such as Viennese Sweet Yeast Dough, sponge cake, and puff pastry, which form the basis for many later recipes. Various icings and glazes (fruit, chocolate, and sugar) are also included, as are flavored whip creams. The book is appropriately divided into simple cakes (apricot tart, farmer’s cheesecake, coffee cakes, gugelhupf, pound cakes, plum squares), fancy cakes (linzertorte, sachertorte, various cream and chocolate tortes), strudels (sour cherry, grape, pear, farmer’s cheese and raisin), sweet yeast breads (brioche braid, stollen, jam rolls and sweet rolls, dumplings, kolacky), cookies and doughnuts, pancakes and sweet omelets, and coffee beverages.
Rogers also includes a “personal coffee house guide” that offers a tour of some of the more famous (and memorable) cafes (given that several years have passed since the book’s publication, hours may have changed). Several e-commerce websites are included, and an in-depth bibliography is included as well. The Index thankfully includes the recipe’s German titles as well as the English, so if you’re more familiar with the German recipe titles, looking them up is a breeze.
The yeast recipes in particular are superb, particularly the brioche braid, stollen, and the cream puffs, made in Nordic Ware Danish Ebelskiver Iron.
The book’s layout deserves a special mention as well. Grounded in Art Nouveau, the numerous page numbers and inserts make use of Alphonse Mucha’s vine-and-flowers motif. Inserts feature stories behind famous recipes such as the Linzertorte and Sachertorte, or about the landmark cafes and their role in the Austro-Hungarian empire’s history. It’s beautiful to look at even in you never make a single recipe.
My Amazon Affiliate link: Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague