Thin pancakes layered with almond filling and sweet apples, this dessert manages to toe the line between homey/rustic and elegant. It’s also not overly sweet so it seems just as appropriate for breakfast as it does for dessert. The sour cream gets baked into a nice and tangy top crust. The original recipe used thick, fluffy pancakes, but since I had extra palacsinta from breakfast, I decided to use thin pancakes instead. In the end, I think the thin pancakes would be preferential anyways. Otherwise I imagine the cake getting a little too dry and doughy.
Just like yesterday’s recipe for pancakes stuffed with a sweet walnut filling and topped with chocolate rum sauce, I think that a bunch of different nuts could work, so feel free to experiment. You could also double the amount of apple if you’d like a strong apple flavor.
Almond and Apple Layered Pancake Cake
* 4 palacsinta (or 4 crepes, using your favorite crepe recipe), the same approximate size as your springform pan
Almond and Apple Filling:
* 3 eggs, separated
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar
* grated zest of one lemon
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 cup ground almonds
* 1 baking apple, peeled
* 3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8-9” springform pan.
Prepare the filling by whisking the egg yolks and powdered sugar until smooth and thick Stir in the grated lemon zest and sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy and the whites begin to hold shape and then fold them into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in the ground almonds. Combine gently but thoroughly.
Place a pancake on the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Spread about one-third of the almond mixture on top of the pancake. Cut about one-third of the apple into thin slice and press the pieces into the almond filling.
Repeat the process twice more and then top with the final pancake. Spread the sour cream evenly across the top and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, cut into wedges and dust generously with powdered sugar.
Thin Hungarian pancakes, stuffed with a sweet walnut filling and drizzled with a sweet chocolate rum sauce make an elegant dessert or a decadent breakfast or brunch. I’m very much in the dessert-for-breakfast camp (my favorite dessert-for-breakfast used to be my mom’s apple pie) so I had no problem, or feelings of guilt, devouring this well before noon.
Hungarians are big fans of walnuts, but I imagine that a lot of other nuts would also work well. So feel free to experiment with almonds, hazelnuts, chestnuts, or a mixture of several kinds. Adding fruit would also be a nice touch.
Pancakes à la Gundel
* 12 palacsinta (or 12 crepes, using your favorite crepe recipe)
* 1/3 cup light cream
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 Tablespoons rum
* 2 cups walnuts, ground
* 1/4 cup chopped raisins (optional)
Chocolate Rum Sauce:
* 2/3 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1 cup milk
* 3 egg yolks
* 2 Tablespoons sugar
* 2 Tablespoons cocoa
* 1 Tablespoon butter
* 2 Tablespoons rum
Prepare the walnut filling by combining the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rum, ground walnuts and raisins and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Place a heaping teaspoon of the walnut filling in the center of each pancake. Fold the pancake into four.
Saute the folded pancakes in a small pat of butter for 2-3 minutes on each side. Make the sauce by combining the chocolate chips and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Mix in the sugar, cocoa, butter and rum and stir until smooth. Place two pancakes on each plate and drizzle with the chocolate rum sauce.
Apparently the origin of thin European pancakes, known as crepes in France, palatschinken in Austria, palacinky in the Czech Republic, and palacsinta in Hungary, is a contentious issue. George Lang, a well-known Hungarian born chef claims they actually originated in Romania.
Regardless, these thin pancakes have become a staple food in Hungary. Infinitely adaptable, they’re the perfect breakfast or snack, and often used as a base for both savory or sweet fillings. They’re also much eggier than other crepe-like recipes I’ve made in the past. If you’re nervous about making, and flipping, thin pancakes, these are the perfect recipe to start with. The relatively large number of eggs really binds the batter together while cooking, making them much easy for even a novice to flip. I’ve already used these palacsintas as the base for at least two desserts, which I’ll be sharing in the coming days. Here’s a little sneak peak.
Palacsinta- Hungarian Thin Pancakes, Adapted from The Cuisine of Hungary
Palacsinta- Hungarian Gluten-Free Thin Pancake
Yield: Approximately 10-12 pancakes
* 3/4 cup brown rice flour
* 1/4 cup tapioca starch
* 1/4 cup potato starch
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* Pinch salt
* 3/4 cup milk
* 3 eggs, slightly beaten
* 3/4 cup sparkling water
* Butter for frying
Mix the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, sugar and salt with milk and stir until smooth. Add in the eggs and combine thoroughly. Immediately before cooking, stir in the sparkling water.
To cook the pancakes, melt a small pat of butter in a 8 or 9-inch skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour a small amount of batter into the center of the pan, and gently tilt the pan to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook on the other side for one additional minute.
Remove the cooked pancake to a plate and repeat process until all the batter has been cooked.
I never ate mushy Brussels sprouts growing up. In fact, I never ate any Brussels Sprouts at all, so I never quite understood the constant verbal attacks on the poor vegetable. It was only in my adult years that I gave them a try. By that time, I’d already been heavily influenced by the Barefoot Contessa, i.e, roasting was my go-to vegetable preparation technique. Steaming, boiling, and plain old baking seemed too boring and too flavorless. And when I finally tried roasted Brussels Sprouts, drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, it was clear that Brussels Sprouts were undeserving of their bad reputation.
But as good as they are, a girl cannot live on roasted Brussels Sprouts alone. In this Hungarian dish, Brussels sprouts are parboiled and then combined with a pork-flavored sour cream sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden and bubbling. With a preparation like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if all Hungarian children loved their Brussels Sprouts.
Baked Brussels Sprouts Gratin
* 2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
* 6 cups water
* 2 Tablespoons salt
* 1/4 cup minced salt pork (note: salt pork is easier to cut when nearly frozen)
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons black pepper
* 1 1/2 cups sour cream
* 1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a medium-to-large baking dish (I used a 9 x 9 glass Pyrex dish, which worked perfectly)
Wash and trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts. Bring the water and 2 Tablespoons of salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the Brussels Sprouts and let them boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Fry the salt pork in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the bits have browned and become crispy. Remove the salt pork bits with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion to the rendered pork fat and cook over medium heat until the onion has softened. Add 1/4 cup of water, one teaspoon of salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Stir in the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir well to combine and coat each sprout with the sour cream mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with paprika and the reserved salt pork bits. Top evenly with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.