A ridiculously moreish sweet paprika spiced cheese spread packed with gherkins, capers, caraway seeds, onions and mustard. It is most frequently served on an open sandwich on either rye or pumpernickel bread. You can also serve it as a dip with crackers and/or vegetable sticks and it can be used as a filling for tomatoes, cooked mushrooms, celery or hard boiled eggs. (Halve, remove the yolks, mash and mix with some liptauer and then spoon back into the egg whites.). It works well with bagels and apparently, the Viennese elite used to enjoy it with caviar. I’m much easier to please however, and I have served it here with some homemade Kürbiskernbrot, which is a light rye bread with pumpkin seeds.
Traditionally made with brimsen or bryndza, a soft sheep’s cheese, for convenience this recipe uses cream cheese mixed with some butter and sour cream. If you can get brimsen, omit the sour cream and replace it with more butter to make it more spreadable. Do remember that brimsen is naturally quite salty, so you will probably need less salt. It also works amazingly well with soft goat’s cheese.
The name comes from Liptau, which is the German name for Liptov, an area in northern Slovakia which was a county in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867 – 1918). Variations can be found in many countries in that area. In Slovenia it is known as liptaver, körözött in Hungary, liptao in Albania, to name just a few.
Although popular all over Austria, it is most frequently seen in Styria (or the Steiermark) and I first came across it when I lived there, in Graz, at the beginning of the 1990s. Hugely popular, it is sold in most delicatessens and supermarkets and it is an important part of their Brettljause – or breakfast platter – served alongside local cold meats, cheeses, pickles, vegetables and bread. It is also a very popular appetiser frequently served in wine taverns, known as Buschenschanken or Heuriger, as well as Bierkeller, beer cellars. It works well with beer and wine, particularly the local Grüner Veltliner.
Fabulous for breakfast, a quick snack, lunch or appetiser, this is a magical spread to keep in the fridge – I highly recommend it for those of you who have a houseful of hungry teenagers who constantly want to be fed during lockdown!!
How to make Liptauer
It is incredibly simple to make – just chop up a few ingredients (all very easy to get hold of) and mix everything together. All done!
Collect all your ingredients together:
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
40g/2 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraiche
2 teaspoons sweet paprika – ideally Hungarian
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, whole or ground
1¼ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon fine salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion
30g/5 cocktail gherkins, finely chopped
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped anchovies
1 – 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (not traditional but delicious!)
Simply mix it all together:
Finely chop the red onion/shallot, gherkins and capers.
The caraway seeds can be served whole or make them into a powder using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature and then beat, with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
Add the sour cream, paprika, caraway seeds, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper and beat again until mixed.
Fold in the chopped red onion/shallot, gherkins and capers.
Also fold in any additional ingredients – I have added finely chopped parsley and red pepper. I particularly like adding red pepper/capsicum; it bring a delicious sweetness to acid and salt.
Made this recipe?
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