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MY COOKBOOK

13.11.11

HUNGARIAN CREAM PUFFS – KÉPVISELŐ FÁNK


Ah the magnificence of képviselő fánk! It translates into English as “representative doughnut”? This is standard fare in Hungarian coffee houses and with home bakers alike and no French choux pastry can ever come close to its splendour. In a class all by itself, in size, presentation and general magnificence, képviselő fánk is far superior to profiteroles or éclairs. The small chocolate ganache covered cream puffs have been aptly named indianers, because they resemble turbans, but by far képviselő fánk is the preferred choice. I made it yesterday in honour of two dear old friends, for Jan who was visiting us from Victoria and for Ann who loves pastry. There was chatting and a lot of multitasking, except I am not so good at that anymore, oh not the chatting part hehe, so my pastry cream got scorched. There was no time for a repeat so I grabbed a package of vanilla instant pudding and some whipping cream from the fridge and whisked it together for the vanilla cream. This turned out so good; I just might use it again. I froze one of the magnificence’s so I can take a photo of it in daylight and it surprisingly retained all its splendour in the freezer, so yes, you can prepare it ahead of time and just bring it out an hour or two before serving. The recipe makes 9 pastries, one per person is all most people will handle. This is your basic Hungarian képviselő fánk. Nothing is better.

1. Pastry:

1 cup water
sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

2. Cream Layer:
1 batch of Pastry Cream – the recipe is here. You can replace the pastry cream with an instant vanilla cream. Recipe for Instant Vanilla Cream is included at the end.

3. Whipped Cream Layer:

• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Place water, salt, butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat to medium and add the flour all at once.
• Start beating with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
• Remove from heat.
• With the wooden spoon start adding the eggs, one at a time and keep beating until the egg is fully incorporated.
• Repeat the same process with the remaining eggs.
• Spoon the dough into 9 piles; [aim for height] onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
• Leave lots of room between the dough piles for expansion.
• Bake the pastries in preheated oven until puffed up, light, dry, and golden.
• Do not open the door, because the pastry can fall.
• Meanwhile make the pastry cream or in its place whisk together the instant vanilla cream.
• Cover and set aside in the fridge.
• Whip up 1 cup of whipping cream to soft peaks.
• Add 1 Tbsp sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
• Add 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
• Cover the whipped cream and place in the fridge.
• When the pastries have a deep golden color and are crispy in appearance, turn off the heat and open the oven door a little.
• Let the pastries cool down in the oven a bit. This way you won’t have to scrape out the insides before the fillings are added.
• Transfer the cooled pastries to a tray and slice the tops off.
• Spoon or pipe the vanilla cream around the perimeter of the bottom pastries. Divide the remaining cream in the middle of the pastries.
• Spoon the whipped cream on top of the vanilla cream.
• Place on the tops.
• Sprinkle the tops with icing sugar just before serving.

INSTANT VANILLA CREAM

1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipping cream

• Whisk together instant pudding with the whipped cream.
• Cover and refrigerate.

[Next time I will try it with half and half instead. I may not be able to use 2 cups though.
You don’t want pudding consistency, because the vanilla cream is best piped.]




6 comments:

  1. These are gorgeous! I love French cream puffs so these must be good :) Love the size and multiple fillings!

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  2. Oh they ARE! And it’s not as complicated to make as it's generally made out to be. They get puffier and higher spooned than piped. For piping you need professional sized piping tips, which are not easy to get. But the most grief is caused by the pastry cream layer. Most cookbooks and recipes on the NET are lacking in workable, foolproof custard for profiteroles. They are either doughy or runny. Nobody gives away their secrets and home cooks will rather run down to the neighbourhood bakery for a cream puff or two.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Zsuzsa, your cream puffs look amazing! I love profiteroles (in France they are served with vanilla ice-cream filling not custard cream; at least the ones I love, and they pour hot chocolate over them...), but I can never finish one portion (they tend to serve several puffs). Of course I have never had the Hungarian fànk. Your express cream idea sounds worth remembering.
    I have a very good pastry cream recipe, found in Piere Hermé book and I agree a good recipe is not easy to find. I think many chefs hide certain details and tips on purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I often wondered about this Sissi... Is it careless recipe writing or purposeful omitment of facts? I was given a cookbook of a famous Hungarian chef about 45 years ago. It gave me nothing but grief over the years. I used to think all the failures I had with it were my fault. Finally I just stopped using it.

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  5. Zsuzsa, I have many books where recipes are scandalous. I have bought a very famous chef's book. Many recipes are simply not even read by anyone who cooks (for example creams made out of 400 ml milk and 4 egg yolks are supposed to be enough for 8 people! there are other obvious mistakes too). I think it's simple carelessness and I'm sure some time ago chefs used to hide their tricks and tips, but now this attitude seems to disappear. This is why I appreciate so much foolproof, well written books (the one by Ducasse I have written about is simply perfect and I'm sure it was carefully read several times by him or one of his good chefs). Pierre Hermé's book is also excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sissi, my husband is a hobby woodworker and he has the same experience with woodworking books. I agree with you, the tide is changing somewhat, but we still have a long way to go. There are not many books with "tested recipes" and even then, I think it may not be enough. I found that I have to make the same recipe 3-4 times without variations to fine-tune it and to cover the various different scenarios that can arise.

    ReplyDelete

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