Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Viennese Gnocchi Baked in Pumpkin Cream, Plus my Very First Giveaway (and it's a good one!)

Regular readers of this blog may recall that last year I promised to share the recipe for the luscious Viennese gnocchi baked in pumpkin cream that I got from Chef Mike of Weinhof Wieninger, an upscale heuriger located in Stammersdorf.  I also promised to share with you his secret to a perfectly pillow-y potato gnochhi. And so, prompted by Poppa Trix's birthday, for which I cooked up a recreation of our heuriger feast, I am now finally making good on my promise.

But first, as a way of saying "thank you" to everyone who has been so supportive and kind and thoughtful and genuinely wonderful as Poppa Trix and I have gone through this difficult period after losing our dog Pete, I want to give you something. Yes - me, doing a giveaway! There's a first time for everything, right?

In keeping with the pumpkin theme, I'm giving away a bottle of this gourmet Austrian pumpkin seed oil:
As far as I know you can't get this stuff anywhere else - definitely not in North America - and I have Mother-in-Law Trix to thank for mine. You see, she recently asked if I'd like a friend of hers to bring me back back anything from Vienna. Among other goodies, I asked for some pumpkin seed oil, an Austrian specialty. Well, it seems her friend had me confused with the Von Trapp family, because I got a boatload of the stuff. It's fabulous drizzled on soups, in salads, in beans with pumpkin seed cream, and other things I'm sure I haven't thought of yet  - but I am only one woman.  So lucky you!

Okay, the rules:
1. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Here's the catch: If you leave a comment that shows you actually read the post - not just the giveaway part, but the actual recipe/food part - then you get an extra chance!
2. You don't have to follow the blog, but if you do, you'll get an extra chance. (If you already follow me, just remind me in the comments and you'll get an extra chance, same as new followers.)
3. If you tweet the giveaway, you get an extra chance. Just let me know in the comment.

That's it - pretty simple, eh? Four chances to win, and it's open to anyone no matter where you live (I'm awesome like that). The deadline is 6 pm EST December 26th. I'll use Random.org, and I'll announce the winner on December 27th. That way, even if you don't like any of your holiday presents,  you know at least you'll have one thing coming that you really want.

On to the recipe.  I had to reconstruct it  from Chef Mike's cryptic writing, but I'm confident that I did an accurate job, as the flavor took me straight back to that wine-soaked and food-filled evening at Weinhof Wieninger. Now, Chef Mike says that these gnocchi are done "in the Italian style," and that may be true, but the result is 100% Austrian.

His secret? While most recipes call for the potatoes to be baked, here they're boiled, put through a ricer or fine mesh seive, and left overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator in order to dry out. This, he says,  is what makes them so fluffy. Indeed, these gnocchi are airy and light, yet simultaneously just on the correct side of chewy, and they retain a very strong potato-y flavor. I think the high number of egg yolks - 5 for 500 grams of potato - has something to do with this as well, though I haven't figured out the technicalities. I also used "griffig" flour from Austria, which is a bit more coarse than American AP flour, but I'm sure you'd be okay with that. I've left the measurements in grams for accuracy.

Chef Mike's Viennese Gnocchi Baked in Pumpkin Cream

For the gnocchi:
500 g Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled, and put through a ricer or fine mesh seive
5 small egg yolks (note: I was lucky enough to have small eggs from a family farm; if all you can find are large eggs, you may want to start with 4. But don't buy jumbo eggs - it's painful for the chicken to lay them.)
25-plus grams griffig or other coarse flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
Bread flour for dusting

For the pumpkin cream:
1 small baking pumpkin, about 4 pounds, enough so that you end up with about 500 grams of roasted pumpkin:
It was too cute to resist
25 grams butter
250 ml heavy cream 
50 grams creme fraiche
2 grams fresh dill, chopped
salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and cayenne to taste 
Sharp grated provolone, for topping

The day before you plan to make the dish, peel and boil the Russet potatoes until tender. When cool, run them through a ricer or seive and store, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. You'll want to end up with 500 g, so make more than you think you should.

Make the sauce before you make the gnocchi. Cut the pumpkin in half, removing the seeds and pulp. Lay the halves face down in a baking dish along with about 1/4-1/2 inch of water and roast at 425 degrees F until the pumpkin is tender, 60 -90 minutes. When cool, scrape out the pumpkin meat:
Puree this with the cream and creme fresh - I used an immersion blender. You don't want it to be too watery. Stir in the fresh dill and season to taste. I added just enough cayenne  - about 1/4 tsp - to lend a very subtle heat to the dish. 

For the gnocchi, combine the potatoes, salt, nutmeg,  and 25 grams of the flour. Make a well in the middle and incorporate the egg yolks, one at a time. Once combined, if the dough isn't holding together add more griffig flour a bit at a time. Gently knead the dough until smooth on a lightly floured surface. Divide into four sections and roll each out into a long tube, about 3/4 inch diameter. Cut the gnocchi into pieces with a dough cutter. I made mine a bit larger and more rustic than I normally would, as that's how I remember the dish:
Working in batches of about 12-14 gnocchi, plop into vigorously boiling salted water. Once they float, give them 90 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon to drain.

When you've worked through all the gnocchi, in a bowl gently begin folding in the pumpkin cream until the gnocchi are well coated and surrounded, but not swimming in sauce. Transfer this to a casserole and top with the grated provolone. Bake at 350 degrees until brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it, and top with a chopped parsley and dill mix for color. The dish goes from looking rather wan before cooking to utterly scrumptious after:
Naturally, you should enjoy this with a nice Grüner Veltliner or Zweigelt. I had the dish on two successive evenings (the leftovers were fabulous!) with these very different wines, and somehow they both worked.  But then, I am no sommelier. 

You can get all fancy and serve it like this:

... or, more to my liking, you can serve it in a giant pile. This dish is a bit of work, but it's so worth it.  Though I suggest you try and make it before your New Year's resolutions go into effect.

And don't forget to enter the pumpkin seed oil giveaway:
Good luck and happy holidays!





47 comments:

  1. Trix

    Having recently made a (more humble) dish of boxed pasta and pumpkin sauce I can vouch for the exquisite taste of these gnocchis; true they may take a little time but the result is so outstanding it is worth being the star of a holiday dinner.

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  2. Hey Trix! I retweeted before coming here. :) Anywaaay, I got it: boil the spuds, put through a ricer, and leave them uncovered in the fridge for a night, for that fluffy effect. And you're awesome whether or not you post international. ;) Great post!

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  3. I love the idea of the potatoes being boiled instead of baked. Sounds like the resulting gnocchi would be a bit more moist and luscious:) And it looks that way in your photos-yum!
    Ooh, and pumpkin seed oil sounds so healthful and delicious. I bet Papa Trix had the best B-Day...

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  4. Lucky Papa trix for his bday dish! Yay for finally getting the recipe. I enter and I read: those potatoes get the heavy spa treatment?

    I Feed follow you of course already

    Off to tweet about your giveaway

    PS total fluke I was reading your post when your comment came in lol

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  5. I think I would almost give up my self-imposed "no more pumpkin in 2010" rule for this dish.

    I LOVE that the gnocchi go directly from the cutting board into the oven, no boiling, no frying, just one easy step...perhaps I'll make it Jan 1, 2011...Theresa

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  6. This looks delicious! I've been trying to create a gnocchi that is made from pumpkin ... I love that this dish cooks traditional gnocchi in pumpkin! And the griffig flour makes me think of griffin ... my last name. Does this mean I have Austrian roots? :D

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  7. You know that I love you and I want to come live with you. I love anything with pumpkin in it but I am too lazy to make gnocchi. Every time I make anything like it I have a flop on my hands. So, I am coming to live with you instead. Ok?

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  8. I've always loved pumpkin, but it wasn't until recently that I started enjoying gnocchi. I recipe looks fairly easy and very delicious. Poppa Trix must be loving his birthday meal!

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  9. I found you at the right time for a giveaway, eh? The gnocchi looks fantastic - and love the color. I'm so sorry about your dog. =(

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  10. These gnocchi are wonder!!!! Bravissima...baci, Flavia.....and a very merry Xmas

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  11. I'm afraid to make gnocchi again because didn't yield the results that I thought it would. Also, I never thought about how much pain a jumbo egg would impose on a hen - but you are right! I just purchased a kitchen scale, so I am going to try this recipe, it sounds like you have tested it a couple of times. :)

    Pumpkin oil is quite special, and yes, very hard to find here in the US. There's a terrific pumpkin seed oil semifreddo recipe on Delicious Days, if you have extra to experiment with. Happy holidays!

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  12. Wow, count me in on this one. I make a pasta with pumpkin sauce but this looks amazing.Don't know where to find the griffig flour but I do have a pumpkin..I supposed butternut squash will work just as well. I'll also tweet this and I follow you

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  13. What a lovely dish.. I've only been to Austria once, but not long enough to try this pumpkin seed oil obviously! It sounds like it would be wonderful though. And this gnocchi? I still need to try this little potato pasta out myself! I like that you baked yours.. I'm sure Poppa Trix loved it!

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  14. A very unique method of making gnocchi with the potatoes boiled and left to dry out overnight. And they sound just wonderful baked in the pumpkin cream, delicious!

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  15. i always enjoy your posts, and this one sounds amazing. something i love about pumpkins is that they are always free - starting november 1 people always put out perfectly good pumpkins for people like me to experiment with. i've made a sour cream pumkin pie right our of joy of cooking, and kolokithopita off the cave cibum blog, and some soup so far, but my freezer is still full and i've never tried my hand at gnocci! thanks!

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  16. I was in Vienna for 3 weeks before I had kids (a lifetime ago!), and this Viennese Gnocci brought back such lovely memories. You know I like making pasta but somehow have never made gnocchi before. If I start with your gnocchi recipe, it wouldn't be setting the bar too high, would it? ;-))

    Just wondering why you used Bread flour to dust instead of just the griffig flour... will it make the gnocchi too hard? I also get your point about the jumbo eggs, the thought made my eyes water and I never buy them!

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  17. I forgot to add that I hope you, Poppa Trix and the 3 cats are slowly healing from the loss of your beautiful Pete. And because I love this site, your stories and the recipes, I've just followed you too!

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  18. I got a lot of small pumpkins from my farm coop this year and just tossed the last one. Wish I'd seen this recipe earlier because it sounds delish.

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  19. Amazing flavors, these look awesome hope you and your wonderful hubby have a fabulous holiday

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  20. Wonderful idea to make gnocchi baked in pumpkin cream for a special dinner. I would say "utterly scrumptious" used as an adjective to sum as up this baked pasta dish works quite well here! Oh and the photo of the little pumpkin is out of this world:-)

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  21. wow amazing gnocchi and fab giveaway :-)

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  22. This looks delicious! I was lucky enough to be in Vienna last year when pumpkin was in season and it was delicious :)

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  23. amazing have never seen anything like this...love it HAppy Holidays Trix & Papa hope they are the best ever~

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  24. Hi Trixie Girl! I have no intentions here in leaving my comment other than to wish you Happy Holidays (pumpkin seed oil or not!). I just wanted that darn recipe from your trip to Vienna is all! Thanks so much for sharing and being a brilliant interpreter of griff! Uh, is it creme fresh or creme fraiche? Hugs to you both!

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  25. Nummy recipe, Trix. I have never seen them done that way either. I got some toasted pumpkinseed oil to make that fab recipe you had earlier and now just make the sauce... it's that good. I should try this puppy for my vegetarian guest on christmas who is feeling sad about the main course!

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  26. What a beautiful gnocchi dish. The color is amazing. I really enjoy your pictures. You have such wonderful presentation.

    Merry Christmas!

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  27. The tip is to leave the prepared potato overnight! Awesome.. will try this over my holidays. You know how much I LOVE gnocchi....

    I will love to a bottle of this pumpkin seed oil..

    Merry Christmas lovely!

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  28. Lovely things made my trix : ) Merry Christmas

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  29. your recipe sounds wonderful! I love how you did the potatoes, and the pumpkin cream amazing!
    I can only imagine how flavorful that dish was!
    Great presentation with the gnocchi!
    Cheers
    Dennis

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  30. This looks scrumptious. I've never eaten gnocchi!

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  31. I devoured every word. I read your entire post -- twice. I grew up in Cajun country and I don't think my mama or my grandma owned a cookbook between the two of them. For twenty years I cooked the tried and true and I could do it with my eyes closed. Then, the internet came along and I fell in love with cooking blogs. I'll attempt anything, too ...and this recipe has already gone into the queue of things I must try. It sure does cook up beautifully (no more wan, like the duckling that turned into the beautiful swan). I do, however, have to hunt down this "griffig" ...never heard of it but that's ok ...I will own some soon! Thank you for the detailed instructions! (And the chance to own this wonderful oil!)

    Merry Christmas!

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  32. ...and I am your newest GFC follower!

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  33. oooh, i do all the gnocchi steps except letting them sit in the fridge overnight. i like my gnocchi, but i am aware in the realm of cooking there is always room for improvement! i'll have to add this step and compare gnocchi next time i make some. i like how you added nutmeg to the dish with the pumpkin for a festive recipe. mmm!

    you're so generous to give away such a rare bottle from your new collection! i would love to get my hands on it!

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  34. forgot to mention i'm also a follower! long time reader, long time poster...hehehe.

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  35. I've not actually made potato gnocchi yet - I wimped out and made pumpkin gnocchi a few times last year but I love the idea of this baked version - oh and the fancy presentation? Love it!

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  36. Am also a long time follower of your blog, as you know :-)

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  37. These sound perfect- I love anything and everything pumpkin no matter what time of year.

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  38. Thanks everyone for entering, and, as always, for your thoughtful comments - the contest is now closed, but I do wish I had enough yummy pumpkin seed oil for everyone! I am really looking forward to finding out who wins (via Random.org) and announcing it tomorrow, the 27th. Happy holidays!

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  39. Hi Trix, s nice to hear from you. It has been a hectic season. Hope everything went well at your side. Btw, your pumpkin cream gnocchi sounds really awesome. Hope to try it out soon. Wish that I have more time for this.
    Merry Christmas to you & your family and wishing you a Happy New Year too. May all the good things come to you in year 2011.
    Blessings, Kristy ((hugs))

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  40. Oh and @foodiva - My pastry instructor said to always use bread flour for dusting ... I suppose because it's so soft. (I am ashamed to say I can't remember her exact reason!)

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  41. What a beautiful dish. I have never tried making gnocchi before....but this really tempts me to give it a whirl. ;)

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  42. Sorry, I hope this is not a repeat but I think I lost my comment here...
    And sorry again about your pup...but I hope you guys had a lovely Holiday...and a Happy Belated Birthday to your husband, what a wonderful dinner and great recipe :)

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  43. I have always been really intimidated by gnocchi, but your instructions make it seem very do-able! I think its the pictures, they always make recipes seem more accessible!

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  44. I tweeted the giveaway:

    http://twitter.com/#!/PurpleLarkspur/status/20245401684672512

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