When I went back for a visit in 1972, I took a chance and dropped in at the Hungária Coffee House, the New York now, and had a much smaller, but equally good somlói. After that I just dreamed about it, never quite repeating the same experience. I remember trying one at the Erkel in 1984 and in some coffee shop in Tatabánya four years later and on both occasions being utterly disappointed.
SOAKING SYRUP: 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, rind of 1 orange, rind of 1/2 lemon, 1/3 cup rum
CUSTARD: 4 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 2 cups whole milk, 1/2 vanilla bean, rind of 1/2 lemon
CAKES: 6 egg yolks, 6 Tbsp sugar, 6 Tbsp cake flour, 2 Tbsp finely ground walnuts, 2 Tbsp cocoa
Rum Raisin: 3/4 cup golden raisins, 1/3 cup rum
1 cup finely ground walnut
1/3 cup apricot jam, sieved
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 Tbsp icing sugar
Rum-Chocolate Sauce: 3/4 cup water, 3 Tbsp rum, 6 squares high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, 3/4 cup sugar
• Place 3/4 cup of golden raisins in 1/3 cup of rum and then set it aside for use later.
• To prepare the soaking syrup, place 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan.
• Cut off the rind of one orange, removing the white pith. Add the orange rind to the pot.
• Cut off the rind of half a lemon, removing the pith. Add the lemon rind to the pot.
• Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
• Place the saucepan on the stove and bring its contents to a boil.
• Keep simmering until syrup is reduced to 1/2 cup.
• Then remove from heat.
• Remove the rinds with a slotted spoon, squeezing out the syrup back into the pan.
• Discard the rinds and set aside the syrup to cool.
• When the soaking syrup is lukewarm, pour the rum off the raisins into a clean measuring cup.
• Set the rum raisin aside for later use.
• You need 1/3 cup of rum, but since the raisins soaked up some of it, replace now the missing amount.
• Add the 1/3 cup of rum to the soaking syrup and then set it aside.
• To prepare the custard, cut open the vanilla bean and put it into a microwavable bowl.
• Add the zest from half a lemon and 2 cups of whole milk. Heat to the boiling.
• Transfer the hot milk with the vanilla bean to a saucepan and bring it to the boil.
• When the milk comes to the boil remove from the heat and set it aside to cool, allowing the vanilla bean to steep a little while longer.
• Meanwhile beat 4 egg yolks with 1 cup sugar for four minutes.
• Add the sieved 3/4 cup of flour to the beaten eggs and beat to combine.
• When the milk is no longer scalding hot, very gradually, in driblets first, add to the yolk mixture whisking to combine.
• When all the milk has been added to the yolk mixture pour the whole thing back into the saucepan.
• On medium heat cook up the custard, all the while whisking vigorously.
• When custard is sufficiently thick remove from heat and set it aside to cool.
• Meanwhile bake the cakes.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Line 3 cake pans with parchment.
• Place 6 egg yolks, 6 Tbsp of sugar into a bowl and beat for 4-5 minutes until very thick.
• Gradually add 6 Tbsp of sifted cake flour, 2 Tbsp of sifted cocoa and finally 2 Tbsp of finely ground walnut, beating well with each addition.
• In a clean bowl and with clean beaters beat the egg whites until very stiff peaks form.
• Gradually fold the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture, being mindful not to crush the egg whites.
• Divide the cake batter between the three prepared pans and bake until tops resist when gently pressed.
• Remove cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans.
• While the cakes cool, set out the fillings.
• The raisin rum and the soaking syrup are ready. In addition you will need 1 cup of finely ground walnuts and about 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa.
• Remove the paper from the cakes.
• Place one cake back into the pan it was baked in. If the pan is not deep enough, for three layers, use instead a casserole dish or a plastic container that will fit the cakes.
• Sprinkle 1/3 of the soaking syrup over the cake.
• Scatter 1/3 of the raisins on top.
• Sprinkle 1/3 of the ground walnuts on top.
• Spread 1/3 of the custard on top.
• Place the second cake layer over the custard, pressing it down a bit.
• Sprinkle the second cake with half of the remaining soaking syrup; scatter half of the remaining raisins and half of the remaining ground walnuts on the top. Then spread half of the remaining custard over the top.
• Now lay the third cake layer on the top, pressing down a bit.
• Sprinkle with the remaining soaking syrup.
• Spread the top with a thin layer of sieved apricot jam.
• Scatter the remaining raisins on the top.
• Sprinkle with the remaining ground walnuts and spread the remaining custard on the top.
• Sieve 1-2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa over the custard layer.
• Cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and then wrap it up with aluminum foil.
• Place in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours.
• Sometime before serving make the rum-chocolate sauce.
• In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water, 6 squares of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, 3/4 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp of rum to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
• Cook at a brisk simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
• Cool slightly.
• Just before serving whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
• Sweeten with 2 Tbsp of icing sugar and then beat until stiff peaks form.
• Serve the somlói galuska as individual desserts. With an ice-cream scoop or a soup spoon, scoop out 2 or 3 dumplings from the cake and stack it on a plate.
• Smother with whipped cream and drizzle the top with the rum-chocolate sauce.