One of the most popular Hungarian desserts is zserbó, a crispy pastry with walnut, apricot jam and a shining chocolate glaze. It is traditionally made at Christmas and Easter time, but you can taste it in confectioneries all year around. Why not try it in Gerbeaud Café, founded by Emil Gerbeaud, the creator of zserbó? This is the story of how a proper name became common name known by everyone.

According to the official website of the café, Emil Gerbeaud worked in German, French and English confectioneries before moving to Hungary in 1884 at the invitation of Henrik Kugler. The owner of the café at Gizella Square (Vörösmarty Square today) was looking for someone widely travelled, open to novelties, a true confectioner who would be able to take over the lead of the confectionery, which was the meeting point of the elegant world.

The timing was perfect because Emil Gerbeaud was instantly blown away by the shop, so he bought is from Henrik Kugler. The confectionery flourished under his direction. He won a gold medal with his products at the World Exhibition of 1898 and 1900 thus getting acknowledged on behalf of the Hungarian confectionery industry.

Mindemegette.hu writes that the confectioner introduced many novelties. He broadened the confectionery’s selection with unique, new products: bonbons, candies, buttercream desserts, tea-biscuits etc. He even set up a small chocolate factory, which produced the famous “konyakos meggy”, made from sour cherry, matured in cognac and covered with dark chocolate. But the most famous dessert connected to the confectioner is definitely the zserbó cake (Gerbeaud is pronounced zserbó in Hungarian).

Hungarian classics (Zserbó, Eszterházy Cake, Dobos Cake) on one plate – Photo: www.facebook.com/GerbeaudCafé

The success of the dessert was so huge that the proper name became a common name: zserbó instead of Gerbeaud. The secret of the classic zserbó lies in the perfect triumvirate of chocolate, walnut and apricot. What’s great is that is lasts for a long time (unless your guests destroy it at once), in fact, it only gets better and softer with time.

Just like most desserts, this one also has many variations thanks to the creativity of kitchen fairies. Some people make it in the form of bonbons, dumplings, noodles, pancakes and even ice cream. We definitely recommend making zserbó at home, because you will feel quite accomplished for creating such a divine dessert. Below, you’ll find a classic recipe 🙂


For the pastry

  • 500 grams of flour
  • 250 grams of butter
  • 20 grams of yeast
  • 100 ml of milk
  • half a teaspoon of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 800 grams of apricot jam
  • 350 grams of ground walnut
  • 250 grams of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar

For the glaze

  • 5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of hot water
  • 80 grams of butter
  • 5 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Photo: www.facebook.com/ZserbóKávéházésCukrászda


To make the pastry, mix the yeast with the sugar and let it rise in warm milk. Mix the flour and the salt and crumble the soft butter in the flour. Add the egg yolks, the risen yeast, then mix well, preferably with your hands. Separate your pastry into four equal parts and form small balls, put them into bowls and let them rise in a warm place for an hour.

For the filling, mix the ground walnuts, powdered sugar, vanilla sugar and divide the mixture into three parts. Also divide the jam into three bowls.

After your pastry balls have rested, roll them out so that they fit the size of your baking tray (lined with parchment paper). Start layering: brush the first layer of pastry with jam, sprinkle it with one third of the filling, and repeat this process twice more. Finish with the fourth pastry layer, poke it with a fork at several spots and bake it for around 35 minutes at 180° Celsius.

Once your zserbó is baked, let it cool down. For the glaze, mix the ingredients except for the lemon juice. Heat up the mixture, then add the lemon juice and pour your chocolate glaze over the cake. Let the flavours come together and serve your dessert.


Featured image: www.facebook.com/Cookta

ce: ZsK

Source: Daily News Hungary

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