Archive for March, 2015
“Mom, my country is Hungary,” exclaimed my middle schooler as we were talking about her day. “That’s what I was assigned for my project. Can we make the class treats from Hungary?” Love it. I’ve always believed that studying the world through your taste buds can be one of the best approaches to learning. Together we looked up Hungary’s history together and flipped through online images of the county–and its food.
We settled on Gerbeaud slices (Gerbeaud-Szelet), a yeasted dough that hugs sweetened walnuts between its layers, which are held together by sticky apricot jam–the whole concoction is coated with a silky finish of dark chocolate.
One of the quintessential coffee houses in Budapest, the Gebeaud Cafe dates back to the late 1800s and a talented pastry chef by the name of Emil Gerbeaud. He’s credited with creating these slices, which capture the flavor of fine European pastries. Even better you can cut them up into small pieces to serve as samples for 30+ hungry kids who want a bite of Hungary.
Makes 18-24 slices
3 3/4 tsp. (around 1 3/4 envelopes) dry yeast
1/2 cup milk (heated to warm)
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
14 tbsp. butter (not margarine), cut into cubes
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup apricot jam
4 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. butter
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. dark cocoa powder (opt.)
- Stir yeast into heated milk and allow to sit until dissolved (about 3 minutes). Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract.
- In a food processor, mix together dry ingredients, including flour, sugar, and salt. Add in butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Then pour in the yeast.
- Process until the dough becomes sticky–akin to sugar cookie dough.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface and then seal in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Pulse the walnuts and sugar together in the food processor until they resemble cornmeal.
- Coat a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray. Add a piece of parchment paper (or waxed paper). Spray again and spread with flour. Tap out any excess flour.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time (the other two remain sealed), roll out the piece into 9×13″ using as little flour as possible. Heat the jam until warm.
- Place the dough into the pan and spread with 1/2 cup jam and then sprinkle with half of the walnut mixture.
- Repeat using the second piece of dough and the remaining jam and walnuts. Use the third rolled out piece to top. Allow the assembled dough and filling rest in a warm place for 1 hour (don’t worry if you don’t see the dough rising; it’s not supposed to).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is just barely browned. Cool for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the icing by mixing sugar and water in a small saucepan. Boil until the mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency–add in chocolate, remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Mix in butter and salt (and cocoa powder, if using); whisk. Allow the mixture to keep cooling; it will continue to thicken.
- Remove the pastry by gently lifting it out of the pan using a corner of the parchment paper. Invert onto rack; place the rack on a cookie sheet. (I put a large piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pastry and then carefully flip.) Pour the icing over the pastry. Eat any chocolate drips leftover on the cookie sheet.
- Refrigerate the pasty until the icing is completely set; cut the pasty into slices. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.