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Monday
Apr122010

Csúsztatott Palacsinta, Hungarian Pancake Dessert “Slipped Pancakes”

This dessert is all about texture - by browning only one side of each pancake as you layer them you end up with a creaminess and fluffiness that makes this a unique, authentic and special dessert. I cook this for dinner parties with at least 6 people so it will all be eaten fresh on the night. I like to keep all courses in the Hungarian theme with a goulash main or the Hungarian Layered Pork Mince and Sauerkraut dish (Pork and Veal section) for example. I cook it particularly for people who will appreciate a delicious Hungarian Tokay alongside this simple yet stunning pancake dessert - that is my favourite way to savour the fresh pancake batter. I also tend to keep to the simple icing sugar between layers to really highlight that pancake flavour and allow the textures to stand out.

"My grandmother handed down this Hungarian recipe to my mum who has tried to teach it to me"- Dave Kalmar.


Pictured: Csusztatott Palacsinta, Hungarian “Slipped Pancakes”

7 Egg whites - room temperature
3 Egg yolks - room temperature
125g unsalted butter - room temperature (Can cut into cubes and let sit for a while to soften or microwave on low – do not melt!)
3 tbsp + 1 ½ tsp castor sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
5 heaped tbsp plain flour
250 ml milk - room temperature
Icing sugar for dusting
Optional Ingredients
Chocolate shavings or ground hazelnuts - sprinkled between layers with icing sugar

Preheat Oven to 180°C.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites with Mixmaster or electric beater, slowly increasing intensity (ie. 3 > 4 > Max). Whilst on high throw in the extra 1 – 1 ½ tsp of castor sugar. Whip until whites become puffy and stiff but not dry (like a Pavlova - should be able to turn bowl upside down and whites remain) – do not overbeat! (Tastetip - a little lemon juice can help stabilise the proteins which helps keep the meringue fluffy and with no clumps from over-beating).

Cream the butter, adding the remaining castor sugar (3 tbsp), using speeds 2 - 3.
Add vanilla extract, and then egg yolks, one at a time, mixing after each.
Mix in 2 tbsp of the flour, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing after each. Pour in milk a little at a time, alternating with the remaining flour, mixing after each, on minimum speed. This process is similar to that of turning a roux into a béchamel sauce, being careful not to separate the mixture, but achieving a creamy, smooth, thick consistency. By having ingredients at the ready and at room temperature, and being gradual with the additions of milk and flour, it helps to avoid curdling the mix.
Tips -
You may need to vary the amount of flour or milk so as to get the texture and consistency right. If the mixture is separating try adding more flour first. You may need to use a spatula and mix the remaining milk manually, folding in the sides of the bowl.

Pour a spoonful of egg whites into the batter to loosen. With a wide flat spoon, fold in the remaining egg whites keeping the batter as fluffy and homogeneous as possible.

To Cook -
Heat a 10 - 15cm frying pan - preferably a heavy think pan over gas heat, on low - med heat, not too high so as not to burn bottom of pancake. Spray with oil so as mixture won’t stick.
Pour a ladleful of mixture onto the hot pan - enough mixture to cover most of the pan, waffle thick, medium wide - enough to manoeuvre a large spatula around to get the pancake off. Pancake is ready when it forms aeration holes on top.
Only cook one side.
Using the large spatula (may need to use two), and angling the fry pan, remove pancake and place on a large oven proof plate, in centre. Sieve icing sugar over pancake. Place in oven – this will cook and fluff the top of the pancake while you make the next pancake.

Repeat, placing each pancake on top of the last, adding sifted icing sugar to each, and putting back in the oven after each.
When placing last pancake (make nice and round) on pile, flip over, so cooked side is facing up. Sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate.

Leave in oven for 5 minutes. Then cut cake into slices and serve.

Goes well with drinking a cool glass of milk, or a desert wine like the Hungarian Tokay, or Amaretto.

Serves 6

Tastetip - Pronounced "Chus-tu-tote Pal-la-chin-ta". Palacsinta are the pancakes, which can be filled with savoury fillings such as chicken or veal and topped with a paprika sauce, or the sweet variety such as here. The term "slipped"is belived to relate to the cooking method where they are slipped off the pan.

 Pictured: Hungarian Paprika Spoon