Several legends can be connected to the Gundel family, which played a prominent role in the popularisation of the Hungarian gastronomy. We’d like to commemorate their achievements with the story and recipe of the delicious Gundel pancake.
According to the official website, the Gundel legend started with Johann Gundel, who tried his luck in the field of catering at the age of 13. He reached the peak of his career in the elegant restaurant of the Stephen Archduke Hotel. His son, Károly grew up in the world of gastronomy. In 1910, the family moved to Budapest to take over the Wampetics Restaurant, which is the world-famous Gundel Restaurant today.
Károly Gundel tamed the Hungarian cuisine and combined it with new, international impacts. His pioneer work put Hungary onto the world’s gastronomic map. His career is also of historic importance, because he collected Hungarian specialties from all over the country, just like Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók did with Hungarian folk songs.
The restaurants of Károly Gundel were frequently visited by famous Hungarian politicians, artists, authors and sportspeople. The staff was happy to create unique dishes for their famous guests. This is how the Munkácsy style egg, the Újházi meat soup, the Jókai bean soup and the Feszty beefsteak was created.
This brings us to the topic of this article, the Gundel pancake. You would think that it is the family’s specialty, but is was actually created by the wife of a famous Hungarian writer, Sándor Márai. According to foodandwine.hu, the theatrical adaptation of his novel titled “Before consulting” was presented in the October of 1940. The banquet following the premiere was held in the Gundel Restaurant. Ilona Matzner (Lola) made one of her family’s specialties, pancakes filled with walnut, raisin and orange zest for the occasion. Károly Gundel liked it so much that he put it on the menu under the name of Márai pancake. But after the emigration of the couple, he renamed it to Gundel pancake.
The Márai-Gundel pancake went through quite a lot of changes in the past 70 years. In the 1940s and 1950s it was baked in an oven with a butter topping before serving, the vanilla flavoured chocolate cream was only poured over the pancakes in the last minute. However, the original pancake didn’t blaze and had a characteristic rum flavour.
A few decades later, another famous Hungarian dessert was created with very similar ingredients: walnut, rum, vanilla, chocolate and whipped cream. It is the Somló sponge cake, which was also born in the Gundel Restaurant.
The Gundel family has always played a prominent role in the Hungarian gastronomy. We’d like to commemorate their achievements with the recipe of the phenomenal Gundel pancake.
Ingredients (makes four servings):
For the pancake
- 5 dl of milk
- 250 grams of flour
- 2 eggs
For the filling
- 200 grams of ground walnut
- 2 dl of milk
- 1 vanilla stick
- 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- a handful of raisins
- the zest of one orange
- 1 tablespoon of rum
For the sauce
- 200 grams of sugar
- 5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 dl of water
- 5 cl of rum
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 beans and stick, let it simmer for a while and then take out the stick. Add the ground walnut, powdered sugar, grated 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 the chocolate sauce.
Enjoy the dessert.
Source: Daily News Hungary