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MY COOKBOOK
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29.1.11

SWEET BRAID - FONOTT KALÁCS


I have to confess I had several failed efforts, but finally I was able to develop the recipe for the Hungarian sweet braid we call fonott kalács. The best part of this recipe you don’t need cake yeast for it to work and it will still taste like the real thing. I brushed it with a vanilla glaze and topped it with dry blueberries, but this is optional. I took a slice hot out of the oven and I found it absolutely delicious. After I let it cool I placed the remaining braid into an unused plastic bag. I had a slice with my coffee this morning and it was just as soft and delicious as yesterday. Next I will be experimenting with Jewish challah to see if that is better. It doesn’t have to be of course, but we shall see. For sure I am keeping this recipe.

1/3 +1 cup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
3-1/2 tsp dry instant dry yeast
2+1 cups flour
1/8 cup sugar
2 pinches of salt
2+1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter

• In the microwave heat 1/3 cup milk to lukewarm.
• Add 1 Tbsp sugar and the instant yeast. Set aside
• As the yeast proofs measure out the remaining ingredients:
• Put 2 cups of flour in a large bowl and set it aside.
• Add 1 cup of flour to a small bowl and set it aside.
• In the microwave heat 1 cup of milk to lukewarm.
• Add 1/8 cup sugar, a pinch of salt and 2 egg yolks to the lukewarm milk.
• Whisk to combine and set it aside.
• Slightly melt the butter and set it aside.
• Add the yeast mixture to the 2 cups of flour in the large bowl.
• Combine with a wooden spoon.
• Place the dough inside the microwave and shut the door.
• Let dough rise until doubled in size.
• Remove risen dough from the microwave and gradually add the milk and egg mixture while beating with a wooden spoon to combine.
• Gradually add the slightly melted butter and beat to combine.
• Finally add the remaining 1 cup of flour and beat to combine.
• Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed.
• Kneed dough until large holes is visible when you cut into it.
• Put the dough back in the large bowl and set it inside the microwave to rise.
• When dough is doubled, braid the dough and place it on a greased cooking sheet.
• Brush the top with the remaining egg yolk and let it rise.
• When the braid has doubled in size, turn the oven to 400F.
• Bake the braid in the oven until nicely browned on the top.
• Remove from the oven. This recipe makes one large braid.

 

13.1.11

COTTAGE CHEESE BISCUITS - COTTAGE CHEESE POGÁCSA


The original recipe calls for túró, but since túró is not readily available in Canada, I replaced the túró with cottage cheese. The whey has to be removed first; otherwise the recipe will not work. This is a delicious pogácsa and is well worth the extra little bit of effort.

*Start with a 500 g tub of good quality cottage cheese. To remove the whey from the cottage cheese, place a fine sieve over a bowl. Put 1-1/2 to 2 cups of cottage cheese into the sieve and let the whey collect in the bowl below. Let it drip for a couple of hours or longer. Discard the whey or save it to put back with any leftover cottage cheese. You only need one cup of cottage cheese with the whey removed for the recipe.

2 cups flour
1 cup cottage cheese with whey removed*
1 cup butter
1 egg yolk
6 g instant dry yeast
10 g salt

• Combine and knead the ingredients thoroughly.
• Cover the dough and let rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Roll out the dough very thin. [It can be a rectangle or a circle or something in between. What shape it is does not matter.]
• Brush half of the rolled out dough thinly with egg yolk.
• Fold the empty side over the egg brushed side.You now have 2 layers of dough.
• Again lightly brush half of the folded dough with the egg yolk.
• Again, fold the empty side over the buttered side. You now have four layers of dough.
• Next roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut out the biscuits with the smallest biscuit cutter you have.
• Brush the biscuits with egg.
• Let them rest for 10 minutes.
• Bake at 400 F for 20-30 minutes until light golden brown.













  

12.1.11

BROCCOLI SALAD


This was a surprisingly tasty salad, we will make it again. Use fresh ingredients only; frozen broccoli is not suitable for this dish.

2 cups fresh broccoli, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup grapes, sliced
1/2 orange, cubed
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
2 green onions, diced

• Cook broccoli only to al dente.
• Discard the liquid and place broccoli in a bowl.
• Add the grapes and oranges
• In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar.
• Toss with the mayonnaise dressing.
• Cover broccoli salad with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
• Just before serving chop the green onions and toss.
  Serves 3-4
 

CORN CHOWDER


Corn chowder has a delicate flavour so go easy with the salt. You can always salt it at the table, but you cannot remove salt once it’s been added. So aim to under-salt, because salt easily kills the delicate flavour of corn chowder. Once you add the whipping cream, you cannot boil the chowder. If you have to reheat it, keep a close watch so it won’t come to boil.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
2 Tbsp flour
1 potato, diced
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cup milk
1/4 cup whipping cream

• Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a medium pot on medium heat.
• Add the onions and sauté until almost soft.
• Add the diced red peppers and continue to sauté until onions are soft.
• Add the diced potatoes.
• Stir in the flour.
• Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring continuously.
• Add the dried parsley and season with salt and pepper.
• Heat 1 cup of milk in the microwave to boiling.
• Add the hot milk to the pot pouring through a small sieve to remove milk skin.
• Bring chowder to a slow simmer.
• Adjust salt if needed and stir in the whipping cream.
• Cover the pot and remove from heat.
• Let the chowder steep for 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 4

10.1.11

SCALLOPED POTATOES WITH BACON - SZALONNÁS TEPSIS BURGONYA


This is the Hungarian version of scalloped potatoes. I like this more, in that it simply tastes better. One reason is the light bacon flavour and the other is the onions have been tamed and become virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the dish. Sautéing and crisping first instead of layering uncooked onions with potatoes is definitely easier to digest and if you are not a fan of onions, well there can be other obvious problems with visibility and taste issues. I had only cheddar cheese when I made this one, but I actually prefer it with milder white cheese. [But do not use mozzarella] With a salad or pickles this becomes a perfect one dish meal.

5-6 potatoes, average size
4 thick slices of bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream [14%]
cooking spray
1/2 cup white cheese, grated

• Wash the potatoes and cook them halfway.
• Meanwhile fry the bacon bits in a fry pan until crispy.
• Remove bacon and set aside on paper towel.
• Discard the bacon fat and place 2 Tbsp olive oil in the fry pan.
• Slice the onions thinly, separating segments.
• Add the onions to the fry pan and begin to sauté on medium-low heat under cover.
• When onions are soft, remove the lid and lightly crisp the onions, turning over often.
• When onions are golden crispy, remove from heat and set aside.
• Pour off potato water and gently let the potatoes fall into the sink.
• As soon as you are able, peel off the skins.
• Slice the potatoes and place them in a large bowl.
• Add the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.
• Add the sour cream and gently stir to coat the potatoes.
• Fold in the onions and the bacon.
• Spray a rectangular casserole dish with cooking spray.
• Add the potato mixture.
• Grate 1/2 cup white cheese on the top.
• Place in the oven and bake casserole at 350F until the top has a nice golden color.
 

SOUR CREAM BISCUITS - TEJFÖLÖS POGÁCSA


Pogácsa is an “ősmagyar”, ancient-ethnic, food of the Magyars. Our ancestors brought it with them when they re-entered the Carpathian Basin. These were made to last and not go rock hard within a day as other biscuits go. The lard is an important component for keeping it enjoyable for several days. Every time I make pogácsa Jim gets mildly electrified. I can never get the same level of enthusiasm when I make him biscuits, even though they are rather fabulous. I can’t decide what I like about this particular pogácsa more, its flavour, softness or the fact that it will last for several days. Well it could last! The ingredients are easy to cut in half, which is what I did and still had plenty. These are great to take along on a trip or picnic!

1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
1 tsp sugar
4 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup lard
1 cup sour cream
2 egg yolks
1 egg, lightly beaten for glazing
salt for sprinkling

• Place the lukewarm milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl.
• To a large bowl add the flour, salt.
• Add the lard and rub into the flour until well combined.
• Add the egg yolk, sour cream and the yeast mixture.
• Combine ingredients.
• On a lightly floured board kneed it into semi hard dough.
[Not actually hard dough, just not too soft]
• Form into a ball, cover, and place in a war place to rise.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Place dough on a lightly floured board and pat down to 3/4 inch height.
• Score the top and spread beaten egg on the top.
• Cut rounds with the smallest biscuit cutter.
• Place the pogácsa on the prepared baking sheet.
• Lightly salt the tops.
• Turn the oven to 350F.
• While the stove warms up the pogácsa rests.
• When the oven is heated to 350F place the pogácsa in the middle of the oven.
• And bake until tops are golden brown.
Yields 40
   

8.1.11

VENISON


If you are not a fan of wild meat, you can still make a tender, juicy and almost ‘not gamey’ tasting roast from deer. Hopefully Bambi hasn’t outlived all his peers and the meat was dressed by someone in the know. I was in luck; my son in-law brought him down and the rest was done with the help of his Italian dad. When it comes to butchering our in-law is definitely in the know. So the roast we had was first class venison. I kept it in the fridge for 4-5 days, submerged in water with a bit of vinegar to get the gamey taste out of it. Then I rinsed it, patted it dry, rubbed olive oil and herbs into it and in a fresh bowl doused it with red wine. Bambi’s remains set in the fridge tenderizing for a couple of more days before we had him. Remember not to salt venison until it gets to the dinner table, salting prior or during the cooking process toughens deer meat.

1/4 cup vinegar
water to submerge roast
2-1/2 lbs deer roast
1 cup red vine
2 Tbsp olive oil
sprinkling of rosemary, sage, savoury and sweet marjoram
1 cups red vine
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot
1 parsnip
segment of rutabaga
a bit of broccoli
3 bay leaves
4 thick slices of bacon

• In a deep bowl submerge venison with vinegar water and place in the fridge for 4 days.
• Rinse meat and pat dry with paper towel.
• Rub olive oil into the meat and roll into a mixture of herbs.
• Place in a clean bowl and pour 1 cup of red vine on it.
• Wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
• Preheat the oven to 325F.
• Line the baking dish with sliced onions.
• Discard the marinade and place the venison on the sliced onions.
• Surround venison with chopped vegetables.
• Cover the top with slices of bacon.
• Add 1 cup of red vine to the baking dish and cover.
• Place covered dish in the oven and roast for 1-1/2 hours or until tender.

7.1.11

TRIFLE



After two different, soggy trifles over Christmas, I decided to dig deeper into this trifle making. Yes, the Brits tend to make soggy trifles, whether they use stale sponge or not, but those who swear by the superiority of pound cake are equally misguided. I don’t believe you can force smooth texture out of a two-egg sponge, not even from a stale one, and much less from a dense pound cake no matter what spirits the dousing is done with. Then there is the jam, or jell-o layer. I could never understand that part. Now after you spoon out a few servings of this stuff, and your trifle begins to resemble vomit, you either unload it on someone else or dump it in the trash. I kept thinking about the divinely smooth texture of Somlói Galuska, which is the Hungarian equivalent of English trifle. You douse the cake with liquid and yet it’s never soggy. That is when I realized I needed to start with a foam cake Hungarians call 'piskóta'. My choice of spirit is rum, but I tamed it with a bit of light syrup I made from water and sugar. I wanted to use Devonshire cream, which I had to make, because nobody sells it anymore. I prefer trifle with fresh fruit; raspberries or sliced strawberries. Good homemade custard and a generous topping of whipped cream are a must. The holydays are over, so I made the trifle very small. For a larger trifle, with some variations of course, I would double most of the ingredients. I would cut the cake into two layers with Devonshire cream in between and on the top. But I would finish the rest pretty much the same way. If you like a boozy trifle, go ahead and increase the rum and reduce the water in the rum syrup. But I like mine this way; to cover up the delicate flavour of real vanilla custard with the taste of liquor would be a shame. At the end of the recipe I included my ingredient list for the large trifle.

Cake:
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp sugar
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp cake flour

Rum Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup sugar

Devonshire Cream:
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup whipping cream

Fruit:
1 cup of fresh fruit
Or 1 canned fruit, drained

Custard:
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
1/8 cup + 1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cold butter

Whipped Cream:
1-1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar

• Make a foam cake from two eggs first.
• Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon coloured.
• Stir the flour mixture into the yolk mix.
• In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually and gently incorporate the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture.
• Select a cake pan with the shape of the trifle bowl in mind.
• Line the cake pan with parchment paper.
• Lightly spray the paper with cooking spray.
• Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
• Gently smooth out the top.
• Bake at 350F until the middle springs back.
• While the cake bakes make the rum syrup.
• If you can’t use alcohol just flavour the syrup with rum extract.
• Put 3 Tbsp of rum syrup in the trifle dish and lay the chiffon cake on top.
• Sprinkle top of the cake with 3-5 Tbsp of rum syrup.
• Next make the Devonshire cream.
• In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese, sugar and salt.
• Beat in cream until stiff peaks form.
• Spread the Devonshire cream over the cake layer.
• Wrap the trifle bowl and place it in the fridge for overnight.
• Next day take the trifle bowl out of the fridge and spread a layer of fresh or canned fruit on the top.
• Place the fruit around the edge first and then scatter the rest all over the top.
• Wrap the trifle bowl and put it back in the fridge.
• Your best friend is a good whisk for making the custard next.
• Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan.
• Place the eggs in a small bowl and whisk well.
• Heat the milk in the microwave to the boiling point.
• You don’t want the eggs to curdle, so temper them.
• To temper eggs: Bit by bit stir 3/4 cup of hot milk into the beaten eggs.
• Add the remaining hot milk to the pot with the cornstarch mixture.
• Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean segment into the pot and add the pod too.
• Gradually whisk in the tempered egg mixture and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.
• Simmer, whisking constantly, until custard is sufficiently thickened.
• Test: Custard should thickly coat a wooden spoon.
• Remove pot from heat.
• Remove the vanilla pod and stir in the cold butter.
• Place pudding in a medium bowl.
• Place the bowl inside a large pot and surround it with ice cubes.
• Cover the pot and cool the custard to room temperature.
• Take the trifle bowl out of the fridge and add the cooled custard, smoothing out the top.
• In a deep bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
• Beat to add 1 Tbsp sugar.
• Cover the custard with the sweetened whipped cream and the trifle is ready.







For the large trifle:

Cake: 4 egg yolks, 6 Tbsp sugar, 4 egg whites, 4 Tbsp cake flour

Rum Syrup: 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup rum, 1/2 cup sugar

Devonshire Cream: 1/2 cup cream cheese, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 pinch salt, 1 cup whipping cream

Fruit: 2 cup of fresh fruit Or 1 canned fruit, drained

Custard: 3 cups whole milk, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 vanilla pod, scraped, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp cold butter

Whipped Cream: 2 cups whipping cream, 2 Tbsp sugar

6.1.11

VANILLA CUSTARD


Your best friend is a large whisk when making custard. You don’t want the eggs to curdle; if the eggs curdle, the custard can’t be salvaged. So beat the eggs first lightly and then temper them by gradually adding 3/4 cup hot milk whisking vigorously all the while. Then gradually add the tempered eggs to the rest of the mixture in the pot. If something goes wrong and the custard gets lumpy, whisk it really fast or whizz it up in the food processor. Custard is not hard to make.

3 cups whole milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 vanilla pod, scraped
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter

• Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan.
• Place the eggs in a small bowl and whisk well.
• Heat the milk in the microwave to the boiling point.
• Temper the eggs: Bit by bit stir 3/4 cup of hot milk into the beaten eggs.
• Add the remaining hot milk to the pot with the cornstarch mixture and whisk well.
• Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the pot and add the pod too.
• Gradually whisk in the tempered egg mixture and bring the mixture to simmer, whisking constantly.
• Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until custard is sufficiently thickened.
• Remove pot from heat.
• Remove the vanilla pod and whisk in the cold butter.
• Serve the hot custard as is or transfer to a medium bowl.
• Place the bowl inside a large pot and surround it with ice cubes.
• Cover the pot and cool the custard to room temperature.
• Use the cooled custard or wrap and refrigerate for use later.
    

HOMEMADE DEVONSHIRE CREAM


Trifle is best with a bit of Devonshire cream. Of course nobody sells Devonshire cream anymore. One can buy every Chinese or East Indian novelty where I live, but there is no Devonshire cream to be had for the holidays. It looks as if British Columbia finally lost its British heritage.

Well, I am already making Hungarian túró, I might as well make some Devonshire cream. It turned out quite well. I can hardly wait for the trifle.

1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup whipping cream

• In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese, sugar and salt.
• Beat in cream until stiff peaks form.
• Chill.
  Yields 1 cup
   

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!

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