In America it is the turkey, in Germany it is the goose and in Italy it is the panettone and here in Austria it is the Bachlkoch - a traditional dish, which locals eat at Christmas.
The so-called Bachlkoch is a meal for poor people, like the Nidai, because it is made from cheap ingredients. In former times it has been possible for poorer families to cook this dish at Christmas, because it hasn't been very expensive to prepare it. Even today, locals eat the Bachlkoch at Christmas, because it is a day of fasting. But only at midday, because at the evening it is tradition that there is a huge feast. With this dish you can get yourself a little bit of Austrian tradition.
The traditions of the Bachlkoch
The tradition of this dish is more than just preparing it at home. In former times it was really important that all family members sat around the table while eating. Legend says that when someone enters the room, while the others were eating, a family member would die the next year. So when everyone is already in the room, the risk of someone coming in, is very low. Furthermore, it was important that the whole dish was eaten up and nothing was left, because otherwise the Perchts would come to the house. However, should still be something left, the rests have been spread on the bark of the trees, which meant that they would have many fruits the next year.
- Cook the milk (or the water)
- Slowly sieve the flour into the hot milk and at the same time stir it with a whisk
- When the consistency is a bit thicker, heat it again until it cooks, add the butter and a pinch of salt
- Before serving the Bachlkoch, add a little bit of honey to it
As an alternative, you can caramelize sugar with butter and put it on top of the Bachlkoch, instead of the honey. Enjoy!
Pictures: Klaus Bauer