One of my all-time favorite desserts is from the city of Salzburg, Austria! So much so, that if my family ever visited Austria and if we went to eat in a restaurant I wouldn't have to think for even one moment about what I would order. Salzburger Nockerln. For Dinner! I guess I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a country where eating a huge dessert for dinner is just fine. Germans actually eat sweet dishes for lunch or dinner regularly. And those Nockerln were pure heaven! A seven egg soufflé which is actually quite easy to make and therefore I make it on a regular basis. If you have never made a soufflé before, this would be a great one to start with.  

The three Nockerln (peaks) represent the three mountains surrounding Salzburg: the Mönchsberg, the Kapuzinerberg and the Gaisberg. The dessert was allegedly invented by Salome Alt in the early 17th century. Salome Alt was the mistress of the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau - he had the Mirabell Palace built for her, which is a very impressive monument, but no Salzburger Nockerl! They are sweet as love and tender as a kiss from the 1938 operetta Season in Salzburg - Salzburger Nockerln composed by Fred Raymond. 

  • 7 eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 scant cup milk (200 ml)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter (50 grams)
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (70 grams)
  • zest of half a lemon 
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • salt
  • powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 480°F (no convection) and adjust your oven rack to one setting below the middle. Pour the milk into a shallow baking dish (preferably oval with a maximum diameter of 11"). Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and gently scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the entire vanilla bean and the butter to the milk and place the baking dish into the oven.

Carefully separate the eggs. Combine the egg whites, salt and half of the sugar in a bowl. With your electric mixer, whip into a creamy froth on medium setting. Add the rest of the sugar and continue to whip until very stiff. Switch to the highest setting and beat for 10 seconds to really make the mixture very airy and fluffy. 


Combine the egg yolks and lemon zest in a separate bowl and whip until light yellow. Combine the flour and the cornstarch in yet another bowl. Pour the egg yolk mixtures on the egg whites and using a fine mesh sieve or strainer, sieve the flour mixture overtop of the egg mixture. Use a wooden spoon that has a hole or some other large spatula to combine the the mixture with as few strokes as possible - just until combined. 

Take the baking dish with the vanilla bean and butter/milk mixture out of the oven. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk. Use a large dough scraper or serving spoon to form 3 “Nockerln” – tall, large, mounds – of the egg and flour mixture into the milk. The egg mixture should cover the milk entirely. 

Place the “Nockerln” into the oven for 8-10 minutes. They are supposed to be golden brown with a creamy center when finished. Resist the temptation to open the oven before they are done as they will deflate entirely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately. Serve with a fruit sauce or compote. 

If you want to make a simple strawberry, raspberry or blackberry sauce you can combine 4 ounces of fruit with a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice and puree. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to catch the seeds. Add more sugar to taste. 


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