" In fair Verona, where we lay our scene ...."

"Romeo & Juliet" by William Shakespeare

(1) Flower shop near the Statdpark in Graz, (2) Edegger & Tax bakery , (3) Altstadt

Fifty kilometers distance from the southern border with Slovenia lies Graz, an Austrian city oozing of art and history. Every corner in Altstadt (the "old city" center) is a postcard from 16th century revealing architecture true to Italian Renaissance style. Every so often you are greeted by Baroque facades where angels, flower blooms or fruit baskets are playing together in a "trompe l‘oeil". Pastel colours, wood carpentry and onion helmet „campanile“ , elements which depict a city with a mixed identity - sometimes Italian, sometimes slavic with roots in lands for which it was a capital once: Northern parts of Italy - Trieste, Carniola, Goritz and Slovenia along with southern Austrian territories - Styria and Carinthia were ruled by Habsburgs from Graz during 13-17th century. After Ferdinand I Holy Roman Emperor died, Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna became residences for his sons reigns - the power of a triumvirate: Karl II (Inner Austria), Ferdinand II (Outer Austria) and Maximilan (Austria proper). Karl II (1540 - 1590) became ruler of Inner Austria at 24 years old. His main mission was to defend the southern Austrian borders from the rising Turkish empire threat. Just to place him in a global context he was one of the candidates to the hand of Elisabeth I of England. Like for many others his intentions were granted with failure. After all Elisabeth did not marry during her life and remained in history as The Virgin Queen.

(1) + (3) Baroque doors in Graz, (2) Altstadt passage

History made Graz the home of Austrian Baroque and not because of its architecture but because the most acclaimed Austrian Baroque architect was a "Grazer", Johann Bernhard Fischer (1656-1723). His father was a Grazer too, a sculptor and an artisan. He contributed to the interior sculptures of Landhaus in Graz a Renaissance masterpiece (see below). At the age of sixteen Johann became the disciple to Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the "Father" of Italian Baroque sculpture. He studied and worked mostly in Italy until 1687. In 1691 emperor Josef I moved the capital from Graz to Vienna. Johann Bernhard Fischer was commissioned with the occasion of the coronation of Josef I in 1690 and won the heart of the king with his works, becoming the Habsburg court architect; even receiving a nobility title: von Erlach. Among his great works: Schoenbrunn Palace and Karlskirche from Vienna. Before living to Vienna, he designed the interiors of Ferdinand II Mausoleum, an impressive Romanesque edifice built in 17th century (see below 1)

(1) Mausoleum of Ferdinand II, (2) the "Styrian panther" , (3) Landhaus built in 1557 for the Styrian parliament meetings

With six universities and a simple statistic: "every 5th resident is a student" Graz is definitely a major centre of education. Almost 60.000 students live and study in the Graz each year, “forcing” the city to reinvent itself, to reinterpret the past and incorporate new elements, new flavours, to harness freshness. And talking about flavours the city is labeled as the Austrian capital of culinary delights. My short visit just confirmed: Graz does not fail its guests. Every street is hosting restaurants, bars, confiseries or bakeries for every budget competing for deliciousness and diversity. Few of them caught my eye, delightful moments of enjoyment, day-dreaming after each bite, among them: Frankowitsch (est.1932), Edegger & Tax (est. 1569) and Cafe Konig (est. 1918).

When talking of desserts in a city with royal bloodline, we expect well preserved technique and historic recognition. Still could not find any Grazer representative sweet dish like Salzburger Nockerl or Linzer torte. So I had to imagine. Graz blends ethnic influence, royalty and fusion elements in a very unique way building authenticity. I had to create a dessert that would incorporate at least few of the elements previously mentioned. Tough mission. I thought of a royal stiff laced collar (thereofore the "baiser"), the pink salmon hue of the buildings in Hauptplatz and the fresh vibes of the city (therefore the pink tart queen of spring : the rhubarb). I started my documentation with the Ribisel Baiser Kuchen recipe. I happily recommend the outcome - a perfect match of flavours tart / sweet.

Few words about "baiser" (literally meaning "kiss" in French). Baiser stands for meringue. There are few stories telling how this delightful sugar and egg white mixture made its way to our tables. And there are few recipes: Italian, French and Swiss meringue. As you saw also in my previous Schaumrolle article I prefer to use the Swiss meringue -  because the egg whites are semi cooked and stable ensuring really stiff peaks.

(1) Lace on an old house in Hauptplatz Graz, (2) Baiser kuchen mit Rhabarber, (3) Altstadt passage


Tart flavours of the rhubarb matching perfectly with the sweet baiser. Serves 8 people.


2 tarte form 15cm diameter, 4,5cm height

Pipe nozzle Wilton no. 104 & piping bag



250g universal flour ( Type 480 - glatt)

125g butter (unsalted, cut in tiny cubes)

55g sugar (finekristal)

1 egg yolk (M)

50ml milk


700g Rhubarb (trimmed in 2cm pieces)

160g sugar

4 Tbsp Maizena (cornflour)

4 egg yolks (L)

50g butter melted


3 egg whites (M)

130g sugar (finekristal)

(1) + (3) Rhubarb Baiser kuchen, (2) Graz plaza



Best way prepare it the night before serving it ( otherwise it has to stay in the fridge min 2hours)

Sift the flour in a large glass bowl. Add the pieces of butter (at room temperature). Rub the flour and butter together between the palms of your hands until the mixture is the texture of fine crumbs and the butter is absorbed. Add the sugar.

Combine the egg yolk with the milk and add it to the flour and butter mixture. With a wooden spatula stir gently until the milk and egg are fully absorbed in the dough.

Scrap the dough from the glass bowl with your hands and place it on a work surface dusted with flour. Shape the dough in a ball and with the back of your palm press it pushing it away from you and then roll it back in the ball form. Cover with foil and place it in the fridge for minimum 2 hours or better overnight.

The next day start by preheating the oven at 200C. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it with the rolling pin. Lay it the tart tin. Press the pastry into and up the sides of the tin. Cut the edges of dough overhanging the tin.

Blind bake the pastry for 10min, with a parchment paper on top filled with dried beans or special baking balls not allowing the pastry to inflate when baking.

Remove the pastry shell, take out the beans and leave for 5min more the shell in the oven for a rich, golden color. Remove the pastry from the oven and leave for rest and cool. Now the pastry shell is ready to be filled.


You can prepare the custard one night before as well. It does not need to stay in the fridge but for efficiency you can use my recommendation.

Bake the rhubarb with half of the sugar in a ceramic oven proof dish (around 15 min at 190C). Set aside until cool. Puree with a hand mixer and pass it through a sieve for a fine pink rhubarb texture. Pour it into a pan. In a separate bowl mix the flour with the remaining sugar. Add one teaspoon at the time from the rhubarb puree (from the pan) until you reach a smooth mixture. Add it back to the pan. Bring the pan content to a boil on medium heat, leave it to make bubbles for 1 min and remove it from the heat.

Mix the egg yolks with the melted butter and stir into the rhubarb puree to make the custard. If you did the custard the night before place it in fridge otherwise it is ready for the assemblage.

Pour the custard into the pastry shell and let it bake at 180 C for about 20min (to settle). Remove it from the oven and let it cool.


Mix (electric mixer - low speed) the 3 egg whites and the sugar in a bowl (metal or glass) above simmering water (bain-marie method) until the sugar has dissolved completely (about 5min). Move the bowl on the working surface and continue mixing (electric mixer - high speed) for about 10min until you reach stiff peaks. With a spatula add dollops of baiser ( meringue ) into a piping bag (nozzle Wilton no.104) and pipe in ribbons the baiser covering the rhubarb tart.

Enjoy and share it with your guests ...or keep it entirely for yourself ! :)

(1)  work surface in my kitchen, (2) Grand Hotel Wiesler's salon entrance, (3) Breakfast at home :)

And in the end a bit of history - Habsburg rulers between 16th and 18th century , characters in our stories above

(1) Ferdinand I - Holy Roman Emperor (1503-1564), (2) Charles II - Inner Austria Archduke (1540-1590), (3) Ferdinand II - son of Charles II (1578-1637), (4) Josef I - great-nephew of Ferdinand II (1678 - 1711)
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