I used to call these Walnut Thingies. For some inexplicable reason I had the right proportion of ingredients, I guessed them correctly and they worked. Butter was the easiest to figure out and flour gave me the most grief.  I came to the New World with flavour memories, but my culinary knowledge was locked inside the pages of an old Hungarian cookbook. The book was old, the title page and part of the index was missing. The recipes were vague and metric. That first year we bought a kitchen scale before Christmas, but it only measured in pounds, so a lot of my time was spent converting the recipes to imperial measurements. When things didn’t work out I never knew if I made the mistake with the calculations or with the cooking. I managed to learn a few Hungarian dishes, but after I mail ordered a Purity Cookbook I switched to American style cooking. More than a decade passed before I bought myself a metric scale and slowly started to use the old cookbook again. For better or worse my children’s flavour memories got rooted in North American cuisine.

Immigrants that arrive in groups are more successful maintaining cultural traditions. There were pockets of Hungarians across Canada following the 1956 Revolution, but a decade later it was a different story. Anyway Hungarians tend to melt into the local population. I met some Hungarians, but beyond the language the Hungarians I came across were very different… really old world… insanely conservative… possession oriented and annoyingly rigid. I could have had more luck in a bigger city to find progressive thinkers from the motherland, but here was I, first in Rupert, 100 Mile House, Prince George and then in Kamloops [wherever Jim’s occupation took us] and I came to the conclusion that where you come from is less important than where you are going.

1/2 cup + 2-1/2 Tbsp butter, soft, but not melted
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1-1/2 + 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup apricot lekvár or thick, smooth apricot jam
3 egg whites
1-1/2 cups finely ground walnuts
1-1/4 cups icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Line a 9X12 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Let it overhang on two sides for easy removal.
  • Beat the butter and 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy.
  • One by one beat in the egg yolks.
  • Add the flour and the salt and mix to combine. Do not beat with the flour.
  • When the dough comes together, press it into the prepared baking pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile finely grind the walnuts in a food processor and force the apricot jam through a fine mash sieve if needed.
  • Combine the finely ground walnuts with the icing sugar and set it aside.
  • Lightly heat up the jam. Do not let it come to a boil. You only want it a spreadable consistency.
  • Remove the baking pan from the oven.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
  • Gently spread the jam on top of the pastry layer. Be careful the pastry top will be fragile.
  • In a clean, grease free bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat.
  • Using a wooden spoon, gently fold the walnut mixture into the egg whites. Be mindful not to crush the egg whites.
  • Smooth out the top with an offset spatula.
  • Place in the oven fro 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove pan from the oven and let the slice cool down in the pan.
  • Grasping the parchment overhangs, remove the slice from the pan.
  • Let it cool and cut into narrow rectangles.

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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!