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Sour Cherry Cake
1 medium/large sized jar of sour cherries 150 g butter, softened 150 grams icing sugar 4 eggs, separated A pinch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar 180 g flour 1 tsp baking powder Additional icing sugar for dusting on top Whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rectangular cake pan with waxed paper. Cream together butter and icing sugar until fluffy, add egg yolks. Slowly add flour and baking powder, mix well. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Slowly mix beaten egg whites into batter until well incorporated. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle cherries on top of batter. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden and a tester comes out clean.
When cake is cool, trim edges and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream if desired.
Another classic recipe is rétes (strudel). Although many Hungarians make strudel dough by hand—a long and messy process—filo pastry from freezer section does trick.
Almás Rétes (Apple Strudel)
1 kg grated apples (granny smith work best) ¾ cup granulated sugar 2 cups plain bread crumbs Ground cinnamon to taste 1 package of defrosted phylo pastry 1 stick of melted butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Unroll filo pastry and put 4 layers on a clean kitchen cloth. Spread apple filling in a long strip (about 3 inches wide) at one end of pastry. Top with sugar, cinnamon, and a layer of breadcrumbs. Fold sides of pastry inwards and roll dough to make a long roll. Brush to top of roll with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until rétes is golden brown. Trim edges and slice into pieces at an angle. Dust with icing sugar
Other rétes fillings include:
Sour cherry filling (drained, jarred cherries work best) Substitute cherries for apple in above recipe.
Sweet Cheese filling You can use a mixture of cream cheese and ricotta (250 g), mixed with 2 egg yolks, ½ cup of sour cream, a teaspoon of grated lemon rind, 200 g sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ cup raisins. Fold in 2 beaten egg whites and spread filling in a long strip (about 3 inches wide) at one end of pastry.
Another favorite sweet main dish my grandmother made was Hungarian version of rice pudding, usually served with a white wine sauce. This was a Friday favorite.
Rizskoch (Rice Soufflé)
Butter/oil spray for baking dish A handful of breadcrumbs 350 g short grain rice 1 liter milk A pinch of salt 100 g butter 120 g icing sugar 3 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an over proof dish by greasing with butter. Place rice and milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over gentle heat, stirring often, until rice is half cooked. Set rice aside to cool slightly. Mix butter, sugar, and egg yolks and mix into half-cooked rice. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into rice mixture and mix well. Spread mixture into prepared dish and bake for about 30 minutes (or until top is golden brown).
Borsodó (White Wine Sauce)
1 cup/250 mL white wine 80 g icing sugar 3 egg yolks Juice of half a lemon, plus 1 tsp grated lemon rind
In a double boiler, whisk egg whites, sugar, wine, lemon juice and rind together. Continue whisking until mixture is heated and thickened, but do not let it boil. Serve hot or chilled over rice soufflé.
Palacsinta (Hungarian crepes) are an indispensable dessert in Hungary, and another Friday dinner classic. These thin pancakes can be served with simple fillings (jam, cocoa, or cinnamon sugar) or more elaborate fillings such as sweet cheese or ground nuts mixed with a bit of rum and sugar. Fresh fruit or apples sautéed in butter and sugar until soft and caramelized are also a nice filling.
1 cup flour 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 ¼ cup milk Pinch of salt 1Tbsp melted butter Vegetable oil or butter for frying.
Place flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in center and add eggs. Begin whisking and slowly add milk, breaking up any lumps (you can also use a hand mixer to do this). Stir in melted butter.
Heat a few tablespoons in a skillet/frying pan. Pour a ladle-full of batter into pan, tilting pan to coat entire surface. Fry until underside is golden brown and use a spatula to flip crepe to cook other side. Re-oil pan and repeat. Stack crepes on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Serve with desired filling.
Ilonka Oszvald is co-founder of Online Cooking.
Ilonka Oszvald is the co-founder of Online Cooking.