Lajos Kossuth was one of the greatest figures of the 19th century, the leader of the fight for national autonomy and the head of the 1848-49 War of Independence. It is believed that he loved to try new gastronomic experiences during his trips. This is how the delicious half moon-shaped cake was named after him. Even though it’s called crescent or crescent roll in Hungarian (kifli), it is something different 🙂
According to mindmegette.hu, the nutty dessert, which is the Sunday favourite of many people, started its conquering tour from Pozsony (Bratislava). That was where the parliamentary sessions were held in the 19th century, and that was where Lajos Kossuth represented two dowagers, Baron Anna Révay and Count Bóra Pongrácz. His name became famous when he started his Parliamentary Reports during the 1832-36 session and started popularising the reform opposition in the manuscript journal that was spread in the form of letters.
The young lawyer usually ate at Jakab Palugyay’s Vasforrás Restaurant in Bratislava, which was the favourite of the members of parliament. The menu of the famous chef and wine-merchant always featured the characteristic dishes of the region, like the walnut and poppy seed Bratislava crescents. Legend has it that Kossuth preferred the almond version, this is why the crescent-shaped dessert created by Palugyay was named after the famous Hungarian.
The life of Kossuth and the host known as the “Gundel of Bratislava” had another joint venue: in the beginning of 1848, Palugyay took over Zöldfa Hostel (Hotel Carlton today), where Kossuth was a regular guest and where Lajos Batthyány, the prime minister of the first independent Hungarian government was presented to the public. (The balcony was taken to Hungary, it can be visited in the garden of the Calvinist Church of Cegléd.)
It is said that Kossuth who was used to a Gentry cuisine at home was not picky at all. During his country tours, he loved to try everything that was offered to him or was even named after him. This is probably how the Kossuth roast and the Kossuth bread were created. The latter was the typical dessert of the era, the dry tea biscuit flavoured with almond and chocolate was even served in the Pilvax Café.
The Kossuth crescent’s recipe has several variations, but the base of all is the buttery sponge layer. Even though most people flavour it with walnuts, the “real” one is sprinkled with almonds. It is actually quite an easy but fantastic dessert to make. Check out the following recipe 🙂
- 200 grams of butter
- 180 grams of flour
- 200 grams of powdered sugar
- 4 eggs
- a little bit of baking powder
- one lemon’s zest
- 100 grams of almond or walnut
Mix the butter and the powdered sugar until it becomes frothy, then add the egg yolks one by one, and mix them well. Add the lemon zest and mix again. Whip up the egg whites and gently combine it with the buttery-sugary-eggy batter. Finally, add the flour and baking powder.
Spread the batter into a prepared baking tin (either lined with a baking sheet or buttered and floured). Sprinkle the top with the chopped up almonds or walnuts. Bake it at 180° Celsius for half an hour or until golden. Let it cool down and cut crescents/half-moons with a scone cutter.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/KatlanTóniVendéglőjeaMalomhoz
Source: Daily News Hungary/ www.mindmegette.hu