Café Gerbeaud, or known by Hungarians as the Zserbó is not far from the Lánchíd [Chain Bridge] and is probably the most elegant of all the historical cafes in Budapest. The name ‘gerbeaud’ or zserbó is also used for a walnut and chocolate rich layered pastry no Hungarian Christmas spread should be without. If beigli is for the adults, zserbó most certainly is for the kids. Although it contains yeast, zserbó must not be allowed to raise much before baking, or it will be doughy. And neither the walnut, nor the apricot jam should be replaced with something else, or it’s not zserbó.


1/8 cup water
1-1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
2-1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp butter
1 egg

apricot jam,
1 1/2 cups walnuts, ground

4 squares bitter chocolate
1 Tbsp butter

• In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in 1/8 cup of warm water.
• Sprinkle the yeast with 1 tsp sugar.
• In a large bowl combine the flour with 1/4 cup of sugar.
• Add the butter to the flour mixture.
• With clean hands rub the butter into the flour for fine crumbs.
• Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture.
• Break one egg into the bowl the yeast was in and lightly whisk with a fork.
• Add the whisked egg to the well and stir to combine.
• Kneed the dough until smooth, cover and set aside.
• Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, no longer.
• Meanwhile cut a sheet of parchment paper the exact same size as the rectangular* baking pan. This will be used for rolling out the dough. Set it aside.
• Next cut a larger sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the baking pan; leaving two ends hanging down the sides for easy gripping.
• Lightly spray the parchment and the unlined sides of the pan with cooking spray.
• Grind the walnuts in the food processor and set aside.
• Force a small jar of apricot jam through a sieve and set aside.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and pat them into rectangular disks.
• Place the smaller sheet of parchment paper on a flat surface and place the first disk on it. [Do not flour the parchment paper, you want the dough to stick.
• With a minimal amount of flour, roll out the dough to fit the parchment paper. You will have to play with the dough a bit to get a perfect rectangle.
• Place the dough inside the prepared pan and carefully peel off the parchment paper.
• Spread it lightly with apricot jam and sprinkle with 1/2 ground walnuts over the top.
• Roll out the second layer on the parchment paper as before.
• Place on the first layer and again spread it lightly with apricot jam and sprinkle it with the remaining walnuts.
• Roll out the last layer and place it on the top.
• Let it rest for 1/2 hour, no longer.
• Poke the top with a fork.
• Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.
• Place the pan on a rack and let it cool.
• Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler.
• Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled bar evenly.
• Place the pan in the fridge and let the chocolate set completely.
• Remove chilled bar from the fridge.
• Grab the ends of the parchment paper and move the bar onto a large cutting board.
• Cut the zserbó evenly into long bars.

 * If you find it a challenge to roll the dough so thin, I suggest you use a square pan instead of a rectangular pan. The layers will be of course thicker, but will still taste delicious.

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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!