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Hold it hold it. Nem mind arany, ami fénylik. Literally: "not everything is gold that glitters" It is true I work to reinvent with readily available ingredients, but my last attempt to make töpörtyűs pogácsa from salted pork did not meet with everyone’s approval. “Sometimes you just have to make túró” [Zsuzsa]

Finally I got hold of a little bit of pork fat, not first quality mind you, but after cutting away the membrane layers I had enough pork fat left to make decent töpörtyű. The recipe calls for 300 g of töpörtyű, I had only 253 g töpörtyű in the end, less actually, because we had some of it for lunch with green onions. The added bonus is the lovely soft homemade lard and plenty of it. No doubt, zsíros kényér time is upon us, I will have to make a sourdough loaf sometime this week. I can hardly wait!

A bit of background though if you don’t know what töpörtyű is. One of the results of rendering lard is cracklings. The Hungarian biscuit that uses cracklings is delicious and no New Years Eve celebration is complete without it. The biggest obstacle to making tepertős pogácsa is getting hold of fresh cracklings or the type of pig fat that is necessary for making it. Where I live the only place to obtain pork fat is from an independent butcher who cures his own sausages. Then again, you have to plan and order the pork fat and depending on when the butcher makes his sausages or gets new supplies you may have to wait if, all he has is fifty pounds of solidly frozen pork fat in his freezer. You could luck out, but don’t count on it. As I found out you cannot make descent cracklings from bacon or salted pork. The taste is very different and the result is simply not worth the effort it takes. If you cannot buy cracklings where you live, make it from pork fat and pork fat only.

4-1/2 cups flour [measured with 1/2 cup sweep method]
1/2 cup homemade lard
salt to taste
2-1/4 tsp dry instant yeast [1 pkg]
2 cups finely chopped töpörtyű
1 egg
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat sour cream
ground pepper to taste
1 egg yolk for brushing

• Make the töpörtyű first. Reserve the melted lard and with a chef’s knife chop up the töpörtyű.
• Add 4-1/2 cups of flour [with the 1/2 cup sweep method] to a large mixing bowl.
• Add the lard and rub it into the flour.
• Add the salt and mix it into the flour. Taste it, it should be pleasantly salty.
• Add the dry instant yeast.
• Whisk to combine.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, the wine and the sour cream.
• Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
• Place dough on a board and kneed smooth. Dough should be pliable and soft.
• Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
• Roll out dough fairly thin.
• Scatter 1 cup of finely chopped töpörtyű on the top.
• Press the töpörtyű into the dough and fold up like an envelope.
• Cover dough and rest for 20 minutes.
• Repeat procedure, roll out dough again and scatter 1 cup of töpörtyű on the top.
• Press the töpörtyű into the dough.
• Sprinkle with ground pepper. The amount of ground pepper used is up to individual preference.
• Fold up dough like an envelope.
• Cover dough and rest for 20 minutes.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Roll out dough to a 12 by 9 inch rectangle and score the top with a knife. [Do not cut through]
• Cut into rounds with a small biscuit cutter.
• Reroll the dough scraps and cut more rounds.
• Place the pogácsa on the prepared baking sheet.
• Spread the tops with the egg yolk.
• Let rest for twenty minutes.
• Meanwhile set the oven to between 400 and 425F.
• Bake the pogácsa in the preheated oven until golden.
• Töpörtyűs pogácsa is best on the day it was made.

Now these are almost perfect. The shape is not as elegant as the previous one; I forgot to roll them a bit at the end, but the taste is superior. I am finally happy with them otherwise.



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