My Citizens – we are in the final days of December and I wish to share with you a classic Hungarian recipe as the snow falls and we enter the New Year!
Central European palacsinta are thin pancakes similar to the French crêpe. The main difference between the French and Central European version of the dish is that the mixture for palacsinta can be used straight away, unlike that of crepes which is suggested to be left at rest for several hours.
Palacsinta are made by creating a runny dough from eggs, wheat flour, milk, and salt and frying it in a pan with butter or oil. The origin of the name comes from the Latin word placenta (a flat cake). The name of the dish has followed a track of borrowing across several languages of central and south-eastern Europe.
The dish originates from the Roman era of Central Europe and the Austrian-German term Palatschinke(n) is deemed to have been borrowed from Czech palačinka, that in turn from Hungarian palacsinta, and that in turn from Romanian plăcintă (a cake, a pie), where it ultimately derives from Latin placenta a word of Greek origin.
Unlike thicker types of pancakes, palacsinta are usually served with different types of fillings and eaten for lunch or dinner. Palacsinta are traditionally rolled with apricot, strawberry, or plum jam, and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
A variety of fruit sauces (like apple sauce), or thick fruit jams called lekvar (plum, prune, raspberry, cherry or sour cherry jam), lemon juice and sugar, chocolate sauce, hazelnut-chocolate cream (Nutella), almonds, dried or fresh fruits, sweet cottage or quark cheese and raisins, cocoa powder, poppy seed, or any combination thereof, may also be used.
Rakott palacsinta are layered pancakes with sweet cottage cheese and raisins, jam and walnut layers between the pancakes, baked in the oven, comparable to the French mille crêpe.
A well known Hungarian version of palacsinta is the Gundel pancake (Gundel palacsinta), made with ground walnuts, raisin, candied orange peel, cinnamon, and rum filling, served flambéed in dark chocolate sauce made with egg yolks, heavy cream, and cocoa.
Citizens, my version of the classic Hungarian recipe hews very closely to the original with one key change: a good splash of passionfruit juice in addition to the orange juice used in the batter!
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