My semester studying in Hungary during college didn’t include very much ethnic cooking by me–I lived in the dorms. I made some random food I liked, and only occasionally did I make some actual Hungarian food. A group of Hungarians threw a Christmas party for the international students, providing a lot of traditional foods and doing traditional Christmas things. My roommate and I helped the guy down the hall prepare the pogácsa (po-GOT-cha) for the party.
Pogácsa is a very common biscuit in Hungary (not just at Christmas), used as something between an appetizer and the cheese that goes with wine. This does not fall into the “easy” category, but it is definitely tasty. This isn’t necessarily the most authentic recipe (we made it in a dorm kitchen!), but my family definitely likes it.
The measurements were originally in the units used in Hungary, so I’ve done a little converting and rounding to make it work in the standard US kitchen. Don’t stress about getting the measurements exact, it’s not that kind of recipe. Don’t over mix the dough or the biscuits won’t be tender. Even though this includes yeast, much of the preparation is more similar to a baking powder biscuit.
1/2 cup warm milk pinch salt pinch sugar 1 package yeast --------------- 4 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter (tasty tip--swap some of the butter for bacon drippings) 1 egg yolk 1/3 cup sour cream ------------------- 1 egg (slacker tip--just use the egg white that's left from above) 4 oz shredded cheese
Mix the first four ingredients and let grow for five minutes. Combine yeast mixture, flour, salt, butter, egg yolk, and sour cream, trying to “fold” rather than “stir”. Feel free to use your hands for this–all good dorm cooks do. A pastry blender would probably work, too. Add a little extra milk if it is dry. It should “come off your hand” when it is the proper texture. Cover with towel, let rise in a warm place for 1/2 hour.
Pat/roll out dough about 1 inch thick. (Authentic touch–score the dough with a knife.) Cut with a small biscuit cutter. Beat an egg. Dip the pogácsa in the egg or spread it on top with a pastry brush (slacker tip–slather egg over the whole thing before cutting. The downside of this is that part you roll out a second time is a bit slimy.). Place on parchment paper (totally optional) and sprinkle cheese on top. Let rest a few minutes. Bake in 400°F oven for 12-14 minutes. The pogácsa pictured here was patted to about 1/2 inch because my child was crawling around the kitchen floor and tripped me, thus I was distracted and ended up with very thin pogácsa. It was still tasty, though.