Salzburger Nockerl

When I saw the cover of Alpine Cooking, before it came out, it quickly rose to the top of the list of books I needed to get my hands on. I was fortunate to get a preview when I was asked to write a quote for the book jacket, and was thrilled to find the inside of the book was even more compelling than the cover. While it’s hard to compete with the Matterhorn, pictures of locals contemplating a melted cheese sandwich, or a wooden châlet terrace with place settings soon to be heaped with hearty mountain fare, brought the alps right to me.

Covering Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France, author Meredith Erickson, takes us through cheese caves, ski slopes, restaurants, fondue pots, snow-caked ski boots, and villages, that are all part of the European alps. As Meredith noted in the book, in the winter, if you’re cooking in the alps, there isn’t a lot of fresh produce available in the winter. In fact, there may not be any at all. (Those who live in winter climates, who shop their local farmers market can relate to five months of squash, potatoes, and onions.) So jam fills in.

I had a fantastic Salzberger Nockerl at Bâtard in New York City last year, where Julie Elkin‘s clouds of meringue swooped and swirled marvelously over a compote of gently cooked, but still fresh-tasting, strawberries. So I am excited to find a recipe in Alpine Cooking from the Bärenwirt Tavern in Salzberg that I wanted to try.

Some recipes for Salzburger Nockerl have you make a fruit compote, then bake the meringue in a baking dish, and serve the fruit compote or sauce on a plate with some of the meringue. This recipe has you bake the meringues over jam, which I have no shortage of, but I didn’t have the cranberry jam that the recipe advised, and that I’ve seen other European recipes call for, which I assume are actually lingonberries, since cranberries ain’t easy to come by in Europe, especially in the alps. (Unless they have cranberry bogs up there!)

You want to use a strongly flavored jam, preferably one that leans toward the tangy side, made with something red; raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, etc. would be my preference, to contrast with the sweetness of the meringue. I did omit the 1/2 cup (125ml) of milk in the recipe, that gets poured over the jam before it’s topped with the meringue since I didn’t need any more liquid underneath the meringue, preferring to focus my thoughts, hopes, and snow-capped dreams, on the fruit jam peeking out underneath.

Another thing I tried was waving a blowtorch over the top after it was baked because I love burnt meringue. One of the peaks caught on fire (hey, you try holding a torch to brown a meringue while trying to snap pictures of it…) so I wasn’t as successful as I thought I’d be. But if you like extra-brown meringues, you could give that a go, or turn on the broiler during the last minute or so of cooking. And if you make this dessert (especially if you manage to be successful using a blowtorch which taking a pic), feel free to brag, and tag me at @davidlebovitz and Meredith at @mereditherickson on Instagram, so we can take a look.

Salzburger Nockerl
Print Recipe
6 servings
Adapted from Alpine Cooking; Recipes and Stories from Europe's Grand Mountaintops by Meredith Erickson There are a variety of ways to make Salzburger Nockerl. This one is from the Bärenwirt Tavern in Salzburg. If you're the kind of person that likes desserts heavy on the meringue, like Île Flottante or Floating Islands, this dessert is for you. Europeans don't traditionally use vanilla extract, as Americans do, preferring to either use vanilla beans or vanilla sugar, which is sold in little packets. I do have a little jar of sugar that I stick used (rinsed and dried) vanilla beans in, which worked fine. Meredith says you can scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean into the 1/2 cup (100G) of superfine sugar and let it infuse a few days. I tried making this with pure vanilla extract, and it worked fine. Feel free to use that, or vanilla bean paste. Superfine sugar is sometimes called "baker's sugar" (in France, it's called sucre en poudre). You can make your own by whizzing granulated sugar a few times in a food processor or mini-chopper until the granules are quite fine, which'll just take a few pulses. Lastly, I skipped adding milk (1/2 cup, 125ml), which the original recipe said to pour over the jam, before topping with the meringue prior to baking. I found it a little too liquidy. Also I baked mine longer than the 9 minutes indicated by the original recipe. I don't mind runny soufflés, but mine was cooked to my liking at around the 13 to 14-minute mark.
2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup (200g) red fruit or berry jam
6 large eggs, separated, plus 4 egg whites
big pinch kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (100g) superfine sugar (see headnote)
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup (scant, 35g) flour
powdered sugar, for garnish
1. Butter a 2-quart (2l) gratin or baking with the softened butter. Sprinkle the granulated sugar in the baking dish and tilt the dish, so the sugar coats the bottoms and sides of the dish. Spread the jam in an even layer over the bottom of the dish and place the dish on a baking sheet. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Set the oven rack near the top third of the oven.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a large bowl and a whisk, beat the egg whites on medium speed with the salt until they're foamy. Increase the speed to high and continue beating until the egg whites start to hold their shape. While the mixer is running, or while whisking, gradually whisk in the superfine sugar, continuing to whip until the meringue is smooth and glossy. Near the end of the whipping, beat in the vanilla sugar or vanilla extract or paste.
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork until liquidy. Using a whisk, gently, but thoroughly, incorporate the egg yolks into the egg whites, making sure to reach down to the bottom of the mixing bowl so everything is incorporated. Using a flexible silicone spatula, sprinkle the flour over the meringue while gradually folding it in, making sure (again) to reach down to the bottom of the bowl so everything is completely combined.
5. Using a plastic bench scraper (or a flexible spatula) lift out one-third of the egg mixture forming it into an oval shape using the rounded curve of the inside of the bowl, to help you form the oval. Place the oval on one end of the jam-covered baking dish. Make another oval mound with half of the remaining meringue and place it on the other end of the baking dish. Finally take the remaining meringue and place it in the middle of the baking dish. You should have three large, oval mounds. (Although don't worry, it doesn't need to look perfect.)
6. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, or until the souffléd meringue is browned and cooked to your liking. You can stick a paring knife between two of the mounds to take a look and see. (I found about 13 minutes was just right for me, but if you like meringue more cooked, lean toward 14 or even 15 minutes.) Remove from the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve immediately.


An Austrian soufflé baked over a layer of tangy fruit jam!

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52 comments

  • Cynthia Kulikov
    December 23, 2019 6:34pm

    Way fancier than my mom’s Baked Alaska! Thank you so much and Happy Holidays! Reply

  • December 23, 2019 6:58pm

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book! One question – apologies if this is addressed and I missed it – is it necessary for us lowlanders to adapt the recipes as we won’t be cooking at altitude. Or does the cookbook already do that and/or provide conversions? No matter the answer this beauty will soon be in my kitchen where it will go into the rotation with your amazing books! The first recipe of yours I ever made was the Lemon Verbena Ice Cream….heaven, pure heaven. Thanks for all you do to make us better in the kitchen and Happiest of Holidays! Reply

    • December 23, 2019 7:15pm
      David Lebovitz

      There aren’t adaptation for making the recipes at different altitudes. You can likely find the conversion information online but honestly, there are only a few cakes and similar recipes that would need converting; a majority of the recipes are in the savory category. Glad you liked that ice cream, and happy holidays to you too! Reply

    • December 23, 2019 10:40pm

      Hi! Meredith here! The recipes were created and tested by me when I wasn’t in the mountains/ at altitude so you’re safe! No need to adapt. Enjoy the book.
      xoMeredith Reply

    • Kenneth Salzberg
      December 25, 2019 1:23am

      It’s the Bärenwirt Tavern in SalzbUrg, not SalzbErg. Reply

  • PLester
    December 23, 2019 7:01pm

    Can this be made ahead and refrigerated? I can’t wait to try this…Thank you! Reply

    • December 23, 2019 7:16pm
      David Lebovitz

      No, it needs to be eaten right away. Some people refrigerate unbaked soufflés and cook them later, but I haven’t tried it with this dessert. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out. Reply

  • Hanna Packer
    December 23, 2019 7:21pm

    I would love to try it, but I am gluten free. What other flour could i use instead?
    Happy Holidays!
    Happy Impeachnukkah!
    Happy Impeachmas! Reply

    • Martha
      December 23, 2019 7:31pm

      Best Christmahannukwanzaakkah ever, Hanna! Reply

    • December 25, 2019 5:24am

      While I’ve never made this recipe, I’ve made many soufflés, meringues, and whipped egg white based cakes (just made a bûche de noël today), all gluten free as my partner has celiac disease. Since the flour is mostly just a stabilizer and moisture absorber in recipes like these, almost any GF flour will work, so I’d substitute a standard cup for cup mix and go for it. There is no gluten developmental in a recipe like this (you actually want to avoid it), so you wouldn’t want a higher protein Gluten Free “bread flour”. Reply

      • rita marlowe
        January 2, 2020 4:12am

        Ben
        What a complete answer for folks that don’t have a background in baking before diagnosis. Very kind. You could have just given a short n sweet type answer, but instead you took the time to instruct in an off hand enough way, which is best. Reply

  • Martha
    December 23, 2019 7:27pm

    I wager that this would be amazing with your strawberry plum confiture. During spring through September, I am enslaved making that glorious jammy deliciousness as it’s my daughter’s favorite. Everything else is a poor substitute. Reply

  • Wayne Hammond
    December 23, 2019 7:31pm

    It looks like the original recipe calls for 6 whole eggs plus four whites. Yours calls for 6 eggs plus four yolks. Is this an adaptation or a typo? Looking forward to trying this and I don’t want to flub the ratios…

    Fixed! – dl Reply

  • December 23, 2019 7:34pm

    This dessert sounds delicious and brings to mind the Queen of Puddings featured as the “technical bake” on last week’s Great American Baking Show. Meringue and berry jam all piled on top of an oven-baked custard. Yum! Reply

  • Tommy
    December 23, 2019 7:59pm

    Jean and David, I LOVE Salzberger Nockerl. I’m half Austrian, my mother was from Vienna. It’s so delicious and not as fiddly as a soufflé. My jams are all 25 to 30% sugar only, so they are all tart ish, I want to make one with my apricot. Strawberry, even Meyer lemon marmalade. I went to iBooks and bought this cookbook, can’t wait to make it! Happy Holidays! Tom Reply

  • Margaret
    December 23, 2019 8:12pm

    I checked this book out from the library — it is amazing and the photographs are gorgeous. My brother and SIL walked across Switzerland a few years ago starting on the French side and ending in Italy. They came home raving about the food — they still talk about that trip. When I saw the book I knew it was the perfect Christmas gift for them. Reply

  • Gitanjali
    December 23, 2019 8:18pm

    I have enjoyed each and every book of yours..
    Can’t wait for another one soon..
    Merry Christmas and Happy new year… Reply

  • John
    December 23, 2019 8:20pm

    Can this delicious-sounding dessert be made in individual ramekins? And if so, are there any special precautions/instructions I should be aware of when attempting to do so?

    Thanks for this – and all the others! Reply

  • -betsy Hollweck
    December 23, 2019 8:29pm

    Mr. Liebowitz,

    imagine my dismay when I saw that Global Warming has hit the Alps.

    Salzburger Nockerl is a dessert created to honor the three local alpine peaks (Mönchsberg, Kapuzinerberg und Gaisberg). The final form is three separate but standing peaks, floating in a custard. They are white, with only a tinge of brown, as are the mountains themselves. The difficulty of the dish is to achieve a lightness of texture with enough body to enable the dish to reach the table before collapsing. A consistency not unlike spun sugar candy, with the stability of melting snow.
    Indeed, the brown tinges that come from baking in the oven only serve to remind one that there is indeed earth supporting these massive monuments.

    A fruit compôte is often served to the side; a tart fruit is preferable, to offset the sweetness of the dessert itself.
    Jam has no place in this dessert. Substituting jam is like substituting whipped cream with sweetened Cool Whip.

    Your end product here in no way resembles Salzburger Nockerl, save that you use the same ingredients. Your ingredient ratios are too heavy. You need more egg whites and less flour/sugar for Nockerl; anything else, you’ll just get a sweet soufflé-type thing.

    Schöne Grüße aus München, and happy Holidays. Reply

    • John
      December 23, 2019 8:40pm

      Oh Betsy, Betsy, Betsy, what would we do without your expertise. Do you also have a website visited by, what, hundreds of thousands?, with brilliant stories, and charming anecdotes, and beautifully written recipes that actually work? Do let us all know. Reply

      • Michelle
        December 23, 2019 8:54pm

        You must be a delight at dinner parties, John. Reply

        • Guy
          December 25, 2019 10:44pm

          He can sit next to me. Reply

    • December 23, 2019 8:43pm
      David Lebovitz

      I looked at several recipes around the internet and the one on the official Austrian tourism site has 7 whites to 4 yolks (this one has 10 to 6 yolks) which seems to be to very close? (At least to me.) It also has 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of corn starch (which is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of flour) so this one does have an extra tablespoon, but I suspect it may be because it has additional egg whites. I also found a lot of recipes in German that had the meringue baked on a layer of cooked fruit and sugar (either as a compote or what appeared to be a jam-like mixture). Reply

    • Guy
      December 25, 2019 10:42pm

      As with any recipe, there are variations even in their native locale. David clearly states that this is his version. Reply

  • Vickie Harvey
    December 23, 2019 8:59pm

    This is lovely and looks delicious. Thanks for sharing such an usual recipe. Reply

  • Kameela
    December 23, 2019 10:29pm

    A lovely fluffy pillow of a pudding. Not too dissimilar to our English Queen of puddings. Reply

  • Barb Marler
    December 24, 2019 5:31am

    David, I actually had this dish at the Baerenwirt in Salzburg a few years ago while on a Christmas Markets trip. Thank you for rekindling a very fond memory! Happiest of holidays to you and yours. Reply

  • Karen R.
    December 24, 2019 2:14pm

    David, thank you so much for recommending this cookbook! I took a quick look through the sample pages and it sure brought back some wonderful memories of many ski trips to the Alps. I’ve tasted many of these recipes in the restaurants throughout the Val d’Aosta, Piemonte, Zermatt, Salzburg, and Val Gardena….all so wonderful! And now I will be able to recreate some of these dishes to enjoy at home during the cold winter. Happy Holidays to you! Reply

  • Michele
    December 24, 2019 2:39pm

    Thank you for this smashing recipe, a lovely different take on a jam souffle. As Jean points out above, it brings to mind an English traditional pudding Queen of Puddings, which has a breadcrumb custard base flavoured with lemon, spread with jam and then meringue. I will try your Salzburger Nockerl this Christmas. If anyone wants to try the Queen of puddings, go to the English Queen of baking & cooking, Delia Smith, here. Reply

    • December 24, 2019 5:28pm

      Oh Yay! Delia is awesome! Thanks for the link! I think my New Years resolution will be to try BOTH Salzberger Nockerl AND the Queen of Puddings. Because why not!?! Reply

  • Robin B.
    December 24, 2019 3:12pm

    I recently made some spiced cranberry and plum compote and haven’t used it in anything yet. I might have to made this after returning home from the Christmas Eve service. Merry Christmas. Reply

  • Sabina
    December 24, 2019 5:28pm

    This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing this with us, David. I’m making a tart cranberry and strawberry compote today. You’ve given me a new way to serve it for Christmas Eve dessert!
    Many thanks for all you do- with best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year!
    Sabina Reply

  • Susan
    December 24, 2019 11:11pm

    Oh well, just thanks a lot David!! As I am at the beginning of a “do or die” attempt at weight loss, and as one who has visited Switzerland several times and am in love with the Alps and Lauterbrunnen, here you go with this review. I must humbly admit that I have ordered the book. Dinner will soon be a bowl of steam and a lemon wedge!! Reply

    • Rachel
      January 5, 2020 1:25am

      Lol Reply

  • Rod
    December 25, 2019 3:33pm

    I’m from Austria and lived many years is Salzburg, a town that has everything available all year long (no shortage of produce for sure). I’ve eaten Salzburger Nockerl many times and they look nothing like the ones you present. I’ve never once had them served with jam either. Reply

    • December 25, 2019 6:49pm
      David Lebovitz

      My take is that the compote that’s available at grocers in Europe (if people aren’t making it themselves) isn’t available globally; I know it can be purchased in French supermarkets, in the jam aisle, but don’t believe they sell it in North America. (The author is Canadian.) But that’s just a guess.

      Yes, I know that berries – strawberries, raspberries, etc., are now available all year long; I see them in France in winter months, but I personally don’t like to use berries except when they’re in season. I haven’t been to the restaurant she adapted the recipe from, but her website is here for more info. Reply

    • jane
      December 28, 2019 6:37am

      Many people now choose to eat produce seasonally – to lessen the carbon footprint, hence: jam or other preserved fruit in winter. Produce may be “available” year round but only for people uncaring enough to support that and the environmental consequences. Reply

  • Rachel
    December 27, 2019 1:57am

    Ooh, this looks wonderful David. Here in Sydney it is VERY HOT AND SMOKY at the moment and I find the image on the cover very soothing. Thank you for your warm and generous blog – it always makes my day to see a new post in my inbox. Reply

  • Another David
    December 27, 2019 2:48am

    Wow. I wouldn’t normally wade into linguistics wars, but your comments section did make me curious: what exactly is the difference between a jam and a compote? Brette Warshaw has a breakdown on the website “Eater”: “What’s the Difference Between Jam, Jelly, Preserves, Compote, Marmalade, and Chutney?”

    The answer seems to come down to texture: jellies are made from fruit juice and sugar while compotes are made of large fruit pieces cooked low/slow with sugar to keep fruit pieces more intact (just like preserves, but intended for immediate consumption).

    In any case, I am going to give the recipe a try this weekend with something that (per Warshaw’s classification scheme) could be described as bridging the gap between jam, marmalade, and compote (though the creator, The New York Times’s Melissa Clark, in her recipe for “Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Kumquats and Cranberries”, calls it a chutney–incorrectly according to Warshaw’s scheme — it has no added vinegar/spices, though there is that hot pepper!). Shall we call it a compote or a marmalde? The recipe is basically 113 g sliced kumquats (1/2 c), 113 g (1 c) cranberries, 67 g (1/3 c) granulated sugar, and a seeded, chopped jalapeño or serrano chile cooked down in a saucepan until all the cranberries burst and give up their juice.

    Authentic? Certainly not. Tasty? Well, Clark’s cranberry “chutney” brings to mind my mom’s holiday cranberry relish (made with oranges, cranberries, a giant hand-cranking grinder machine, sugar, and .. I don’t remember…though I loved being on cranking duty). As kids, my brother and I would top the relish with whipped cream..because to our little minds, it needed it. Meringues seem like a sophisticated update of my childhood eats. Reply

  • Lily
    December 27, 2019 12:10pm

    Happy birthday David! Reply

    • Mr. X
      January 6, 2020 4:05am

      Hey sounds like something I would like to try, Thanks! Reply

  • December 28, 2019 4:44am

    Well this Nockerl just appears amazing. Delicious. Will sure have to give this a try one day. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Best regards and Happy New Year! Reply

  • julie e jordan
    December 28, 2019 4:17pm

    Happy Birthday David!! Love from Julie Jordan Reply

    • December 29, 2019 9:56am
      David Lebovitz

      Thank you – and nice to hear from you, too!!!! xxx Reply

  • Mali
    January 1, 2020 2:34pm

    Hi David- Happy New Year from Texas! I want to try ALL the things in your just received newsletter. Am thinking about getting a SAD Lamp for a friend who lives in Le Vesinét. Can I ask what model you have? She spends most of her time down in her kitchen/living room so something like the basement kitchen you mentioned. Thanks tons! I always look forward to your goings on/travel/adventures in and out of the kitchen and of course your new book Drinking French!! Cheers! Mali Reply

    • January 1, 2020 3:07pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked the January newsletter ~ I have a Beuer TL40. It’s a few years old but still works well : ) Enjoy the new book! Reply

  • Denise
    January 5, 2020 9:58pm

    Hello David, i wanted to post this question on a chocolate cake but they are closed. I recall a Better Homes & Gardens article you did and there was a chocolate cake that I am sure used heavy cream and have been wanted to try it. But finally I did a search on your site and don’t find it! Is that possible, maybe it is called something else? The chocolate sauce from that article is knockout. Reply

    • Shira
      January 9, 2020 10:14am

      Hi Denise,

      I didn’t read the BHG article but I’ve been making this cake since he posted it in his blog. Maybe this is what you mean? I just made it this week, halved the recipe and made mini muffins. It’s wonderful either way. Tastes even better after a day or two.

      ://www.davidlebovitz.com/double-chocolate-bundt-cake-chocolate-glaze-recipe/ Reply

      • Denise
        January 9, 2020 10:52pm

        Thank you Shira for your input. This is not the cake although it looks like a delicious cake. The one I would like was definitely called Flourless Chocolate Cake and used heavy cream no butter! I no longer have the magazine, assumed the cake would be on David’s site. He hasn’t answered to maybe we can call it the mystery chocolate cake. I hope he ultimately has time to respond, if not, going forward I will remember to save magazines with recipes I want to try! Reply

        • January 11, 2020 11:55am
          David Lebovitz

          That recipe is my Gâteau Victoire, a flourless chocolate cake made with heavy cream, but…yup, no butter. It’s in my book Ready for Dessert (pg 32). It’s super moist and very (very) chocolatey! : ) Reply

  • Mr. X
    January 6, 2020 3:49am

    Hello David, I found your site while researching what I could cook using absinthe as an ingredient. Well, I am still looking, but subscribed mind you, as you have provided some interesting recipes here and I would love to explore further into your repertoire. Absinthe flavoured Whipped heavy cream seems to free up the different herb flavours contained within the alcohol, kind of separates and enhances them. I have yet come up with something to serve it on or with. Maybe some hot chocolate? Sorry if I am a bore, but never hurts to ask, especially if one finds a professional in their field. I am going to have to give this one a go, and I hear that one gets more proficient with making soufflés with practice and attention to detail…Hope so…Cheers and happy new year this year mate! Reply

    • January 6, 2020 7:52am
      David Lebovitz

      There’s more information and recipes for absinthe (in addition to the few on the blog) in my book, Drinking French. Yes, it’s quite versatile and you could also swap it out for the Chartreuse in the soufflé recipe on my blog, too. Reply

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