Hungary and its people are famous for their love of good food. It is almost mandatory for a good meal to end with a delicious dessert, and what could be better than finishing a meal off with some of Hungary’s most beloved and famous desserts, many of which were named after the person who came up with the idea.
This article features some of the most iconic Hungarian desserts, as well as their recipes so that you can try them out at home.
According to the Collection of Hungarikums, this dessert is a “layered pastry named after its inventor, Hungarian chef József C. Dobos, a delicatessen owner in Budapest. Dobos cake was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885; King Franz Joseph I and Queen Elisabeth (Sisi) were among the first to taste it. The cake soon became popular throughout Europe.”
It is so iconic that it has its own entry in several English dictionaries, and the original recipe is the following:
“You need 6 sponge layers for a 22 cm cake.
For the sponge layers: mix 6 egg yolks with 3 lots (lot=half an ounce, 50 grams) of powdered sugar, whip 6 egg whites into a hard mousse with 3 lots (50 grams) of powdered sugar, then mix the egg yolks with 6 lots (100 grams) of flour and 2 lots (35 g) of melted butter.
For the cream, you need 4 eggs, 12 lots (200 grams) of powdered sugar, 14 lots (235 grams) of butter, 2 lots (35 grams) of cocoa powder, 1 lot (17 grams) of vanilla sugar, 2 lots (35 grams) of cocoa butter, and 1 bar (200 grams) of chocolate.
Beat the eggs with the sugar on the stove until it heats up, then take it off the stove and mix until it cools down.
Cream the butter, add the vanilla sugar, the melted cocoa butter, and the slightly heated, soft chocolate, then mix it with the cooled eggy mousse, fill in five sponge layers, pour caramelised sugar over the sixth layer, and cut it into 20 pieces.”
János Rigó was born in 1858 in Pákozd, with a great talent for playing the violin, which brought him to Pest, and he later travelled all around the world. In 1896, he performed in Restaurant Payard when he met Clara Ward and then fell in love. They both got divorced so that they could remarry. One time, he wanted to impress his woman with a creamy chocolate cake. While watching the couple, the confectioner who created the cake named it after him with a great sense for marketing. His hopes were right, the cake became popular and spread quickly.
For the sponge, separate the eggs and mix the egg yolks with the sugar. In another bowl, whip up the egg whites, add them to the sugary mixture and combine carefully. Then add the cocoa powder and the flour and mix everything together. Bake the sponge at 180 °C for 8-10 minutes. For the cream, melt the chocolate over boiling water. After it has melted, take it off the stove and slowly mix in the whipping cream.
Cut the sponge into two layers and spread the cream between them. For the glaze, melt the chocolate and the butter and spread the mixture on top of the upper sponge layer. Store the cake in the fridge and cut it into squares with a knife dipped into hot water before serving.
The exact origin of the recipe of this Hungarian dessert is somewhat shrouded in mystery or just lost to history, but most people connect the cake to the famous Esterházy family. Some sources mention Miklós Esterházy, while others state that the cake was made for Pál Antal Esterházy since he was known to be a real gourmand. For instance, the Esterházy sirloin was named after him.
Prepare five parchment paper pieces and draw 20 cm diameter circles onto them. Whip up the egg whites and slowly add the sugar. Then carefully add the ground walnut and a pinch of salt. Mix them together without breaking the mousse. Spread the mixture equally on the five circle-shaped parchment papers and bake each of them at 200 °C for 10 minutes.
Next up, you have to make the filling. Pour the milk into a pan, add the brandy and the sugar and start heating it. Mix the egg yolks with the flour until you get a smooth consistency, and slowly add this mixture to the milk. Stir constantly until the cream thickens, and take it off of the heat. Leave it to cool, and then mix in the room-temperature butter.
Then, layer the cake. Spread the filling between the sponge layers and on the side. Cover the top layer with melted white chocolate and draw circles with the dark chocolate. Take a toothpick and draw lines from the inside of the cake, thus forming a web shape. If you wish, you can decorate the side of the cake with ground almonds. Let the cake sit in the fridge for a few hours, then serve it.
Enjoy the dessert!
The name can be deceiving because it was not named after famous monarch Ferenc Rákóczi II but a confectioner named János Rákóczi. He was a unique master chef who worked all over in Europe’s best restaurants. His dessert debuted in 1958 at the world exhibition in Brussels.
Mix the ingredients of the pastry together with your hands, roll it out and put it onto your baking tray. Pre-bake it for 12-14 minutes. For the cream, mix the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture whitens, then add the cottage cheese, sour cream, raisins, lemon zest, and wheatmeal, and combine well. Spread the cream onto the pre-baked pastry, put it back into the oven, and bake for 25 more minutes at 180 °C.
For the meringue topping, start with whipping the egg whites, then slowly add the sugar so that it becomes a stiff mousse. Put it into a piping bag and draw bars on top of the cream. Bake it for 20 minutes and lower the temperature to 130 °C so that the heat slowly dries out the meringue. After you take it out of the oven, fill in the gaps between the bars with apricot jam. Let the dessert cool down, then serve it.
What is not to love about these light, airy pancakes which are drizzled with warm chocolate sauce? Surprisingly, this classic delight was first called Márai pancake after renowned Hungarian author Sándor Márai.
It was his wife Lola who perfected this superb Hungarian dish; the recipe was then passed on to the owner of the acclaimed Gundel Restaurant. Károly Gundel loved this classy dessert so much that he immediately included it on the menu.
It became Gundel pancake during the communist regime when the Márai family had to emigrate, and the use of his name was prohibited.
Mix the ingredients of the pancake, and let the batter sit for 20-30 minutes. Heat up a pan, spread the batter evenly, and bake thin pancakes. For the filling, heat up the milk in a pan, add the vanilla stick, let it simmer for a while, and then take out the stick. Add the ground walnuts, the powdered sugar, the orange zest, and the raisins soaked in rum.
For the chocolate sauce, heat up the water and add the sugar. After it has melted in the water, mix in the cocoa powder and the rum. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Fill the pancakes with the walnut filling and fold them twice so that they form a fan. Serve them with chocolate sauce.
Enjoy the dessert.
This delicious dessert was named after Emil Gerbeaud, a French confectioner. However, the story goes back a little further. It all started with Henik Kugler, a famous Hungarian confectioner, who had a workshop in Budapest. Because Kugler had no successor to pass his confectionery onto, he invited Gerbeaud to Hungary in 1882.
Two years later, Gerbeaud became the owner of the workshop, expanded the selection of desserts, and also invented the recipe of the ‘zserbó’ or Gerbaud cake. Since then, Café Gerbeaud has become one of Europe’s finest coffee houses and pastry shops.
Dissolve the yeast with a little salt in the warm milk. In a bowl, mix the lard and the flour thoroughly together, then add 50 g of powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, the eggs, and the dissolved yeast, then knead all of this together until you can roll it out. If the dough is too dry or hard, you can add a little warm milk to make it more pliable. If done, divide the dough into three pieces, and let them sit.
Once you have waited for a bit, you can roll out the dough into three identical pieces to fit the pan you use. Mix the ground walnuts with the rest of the sugar. Put one of the layers of dough into the greased pan, then spread half of the apricot jam or preserve onto the first layer. Cover it with the walnut-sugar mixture and poke some gentle holes into the dough with a fork. Repeat this step for the second layer, using the remaining jam and walnut, then place the third layer on top and make some holes in it with a fork.
If this is done, you should let it sit for about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until it gets golden brown. It is important not to use the forced-convection or fan mode on your oven. After baking, let it cool down, then spread the mixture of butter and melted chocolate on top.
It is best if the chocolate is just warm but not hot. If you fancy, you can even put another layer of jam right underneath the chocolate topping.
Enjoy your dessert.
Source: Daily News Hungary