Sun Valley’s long established Austrian heritage is nowhere more apparent than the newly reinvented Konditorei Café in the Sun Valley Village. Step inside, take in the endless expanse of the pastry case and step across the Atlantic to a culture where afternoon tea and cake are a daily ritual. As someone whose early childhood was spent in Germany and who delighted in sidewalk cafes filled with handmade delicious treats, the sight of Black Forest Cake, Linzer Cookies and all the new confections imagined by the Konditorei’s Head Pasty Chef Chris McCarthy, bring back a flood of fond memories.
Chef McCarthy understands the appeal of what he does, not only on a gastronomic level, but on a visual and emotional one as well. This Wood River Valley native attended culinary school in Arizona where he learned both to cook and bake. There, he found his true calling was in flour and sugar, pastry cream and buttercream. Before making his circuitous route back to his hometown and to the Konditorei upon its grand reopening last December, Chef McCarthy prepared pastries in prestigious kitchens from Sea Island, Georgia, to a Ritz Carlton in Florida.
As part of the Valley Sun Recipe from the Resort series, the chef shares with our readers the steps to create his fresh, flavorful Key Lime Pie with Creme Anglaise. Now, if you’re like me and intimidated by pastry prep, don’t worry. Chef McCarthy promises this recipe is easily replicable at home.
Konditorei Key Lime Pie
Ingredients for the crust:
#2 graham crackers – buy crumbs in a bag or crush in a food processor until they are the consistency of granulated sugar
19.2 ounces melted butter
9.6 ounces sugar
3.2 ounce all purpose flour
Combine until uniform in texture and form crust in small pie tins
Ingredients for the Crème Anglaise
2 quarts cream
1 pound sugar divided into two half pounds
1 vanilla bean — cut in half and scrape out the beans (this gives it the little dots in the sauce)
1 egg yolk
Method for the Crème Anglaise
Combine cream, half the sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil
Whisk together yolk and second half of the sugar
Temper in yolks with sugar (translation for people like me who don’t know how to do this: pour a ladle of hot cream into the yolk sugar mixture. This tempers the yolks so when you add them to the cream they don’t instantly curdle)
Combine all ingredients in cream pot and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon in a thin, even layer
Strain over an ice bath through a fine mesh china cap to remove any lumps that my have occurred during the cooking process and to prevent the egg from scrambling
Ingredients for Key Lime Pie Filling:
2 lb. 3 ounces sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces key lime juice
8 ounces egg yolks
Zest from 2 limes
Combine all ingredients together and mix until homogenous
Spoon key lime filling into graham cracker crust
Bake for about five minuites until outside is set then chill until ready to serve
Top with a dollop of Crème Anglaise
This makes about 12 – 15 small tarts
This dessert will certainly be met with a lot of ooh’s and ah’s at your next dinner party, but if you prefer to simply relax on the Konditorei patio and sip a cappuccino, Chef McCarthy and his six pastry wizards will present you with Key Lime Pie or any of the other daily offerings without all that clean up. My family’s favorite? The cream puff swans. Not only are they delectable, they represent the signature Sun Valley swans that glide gracefully around the picturesque Lodge pond.
The team in the Konditorei pastry kitchen also create hundreds of custom cakes (call ahead to order) and even spectacular wedding cakes. Chef McCarthy said he truly enjoys making one-of-a-kind cakes for one-of-a-kind occasions.
Be sure to visit the Konditorei for a taste of the old country (they serve breakfast and lunch, as well) with a modern, healthy, farm fresh twist. Maybe cake and coffee will become an afternoon tradition in Idaho, too. One can always hope!