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9.12.11

FLAKY BISCUITS - LEVELES POGÁCSA


Pogácsa is a great alternative to the sweet stuff served around Christmas and New Years. I made two kinds, one half is plain and the other half is with cheese. Planning ahead of time as well as using two types of fat is important. Most pogácsa contains yeast, and yet they should not rise except when baking in the oven. Like most biscuits, pogácsa is best hot out of the oven, but they also freeze well. I like to make a batch and freeze it. Jim goes down to the freezer every so often and brings up a couple. This is a great answer to “ na van valami harapnivaló?”

When I immigrated to Canada, I brought my grandmother’s pogácsa with me. Aun’t Lizi was waiting for me with a fancy dinner in Vancouver. I stopped over in Vienna for three days so the pogácsa was quite hard by then. I was just about to discard my week old pogácsa when my aunt grabbed the bag away from me and ignoring the lovely meal she was about to put on the table sat down and devoured my pogácsa. Then at the meal, which was incidentally quite lovely, it hit me that henceforth nothing will ever taste like home again.

4 cups flour
1 Tbsp quick rise yeast
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lard
salt to taste
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream [not light]
1-1/2 Tbsp butter, soft
1 cup hard cheese, grated
1 egg for egg wash

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
• Add the yeast.
• Add the butter and the lard.
• Crumble the fats into the flour.
• Add the salt. Taste it, the dough should be mildly salty.
• Add the eggs and the sour cream.
• Combine to form elastic dough.
• Divide dough into two parts.
• Roll out the first dough very thin. It can be a rectangle or a circle or something in between. What shape it is does not matter.]
• Lightly butter half of the rolled out dough. You now have 2 layers of dough.
• Fold the empty side over the buttered side.
• Again, lightly butter half of the folded dough.
• Again, fold the empty side over the buttered side. You now have four layers of dough.
• Wrap it up with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
• Roll out the remaining dough.
• Sprinkle half of the rectangle with the 2/3 cup of the grated cheese.
• Fold the empty side over the cheese.
• Again, sprinkle half of the dough with the remaining cheese.
• Again, fold the empty side over the cheese.
• Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
• The next day, preheat the oven to 375F.
• On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough 3/4 inch thick.
• With a sharp knife cut slightly into the dough in a diamond pattern.
• Cut into rounds with the smallest biscuit cutter [1-1/4 inch diameter].
• Place on parchment lined baking tray.
• Brush the tops with egg wash and bake in preheated 375F oven until light golden brown.
• Cheese pogácsa is ready first. Remove these and place them on a cookie rack to cool.
• Return plain pogácsa to the oven until they are golden brown.
• Makes 36


Using Up the Leftover Dough:

• Shape leftover dough into thin strands, cut with a pizza cutter, brush with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with sea salt and/or with leftover grated cheese.
• Bake these too at 375F until golden brown. This is the version of horse devoirs that we called “sós teasütemény”.

7 comments:

  1. Zsuzsa, don't tempt me with pogacsa... They look beautiful and so delicious. I have been meaning to make the krumplis pogacsa for ages (also promised it to my Hungarian friend) and your posts reminds me about it.
    Lovely story. Reminds me of how I devoured half a kg of sour cherries (meggy) after several years abroad. You have so many food-related anecdotes, I think your recipes and stories would make an extraordinary cookery book. (Count me as the first buyer!)

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  2. Thank you thank you. We do miss some of those old tastes don't we?

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  3. is this the pogacsa you add bacon crackling too? Wondering how much to add? also my mom (who in all honestly looks so very much like you!!) used to put salt and caraway seeds on the tops. Going to try this recipe too...although making pogacsa is an "art" in my opinion.

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    Replies
    1. I have a recipe for Crackling Scones. It tells you how much. Caraway seeds... yes very Hungarian. Your mom looks like me? People say we all have a twin somewhere. :-) Pogacsa making is like everything else. If you make it often enough you bound to become an expert.

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  4. The last sentence before the recipe made me cry. I was born in New York to Hungarian immigrant parents and I wonder if they feel that way, especially now that their parents are gone. It breaks my heart a little. I looked up this recipe to make pogacsa for someone who has never tasted them before, so even after one dear thing is gone, others are just beginning.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed it is true. The beginning is very difficult, but eventually we all make a home in the new land. I stopped being homesick decades ago. The best thing you can do for yourself is to go back 20 years later to realize you are no longer rooted in the culture. How does the saying go? You cannot really go back or turn back the time... You realize everything has changed while you were away, but most of the change was in you. When that happens you are glad to come back. There was one particular trip back in 1988, I was so happy to be back in Canada I almost kneeled down at the Vancouver airport to kiss the ground.

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  5. Anonymous6.10.16

    When my grandmother emigrated from Rábapordány, Hungary, in 1913, her mother sent her off with a supply of POGÁCSA. (Gram was 17, traveling with no family, just with people from her village). That was all she ate on the nine day voyage to Ellis Island -- and she was the only one of her group in steerage who was able to keep food in her stomach. So, even at the age of 69, whenever a POGÁCSA comes my way, I think of 17 year old Terézia who left her family behind [and never saw them again] to make a life in America and to eventually become my loving Gram.

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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