Citizens, Hungary is home to some of the finest desserts on the planet – I never miss the cafes in Budapest when I visit and this is one of my favorite desserts to sample while I’m there!
Flódni is a renowned specialty of the Budapest Jews, a semi-sweet cake whose layers of poppy seed, apple filling, walnut paste and plum jam are separated by thin layers of dough. Flódni could be described as the working-class Jewish response to the aristocratic tortes of Sacher and Dobos.
At one point, almost 1 in 4 residents of Budapest was Jewish – sadly, those numbers are vastly lower today due to the Holocaust.
As noted on dailynewshungary.com:
According to foodandwine.hu, flódni is “the queen of Purim desserts”. Purim is a Jewish celebration – the ‘Jewish Mardis Gras’, as The Independent calls it -, in the centre of which stands a woman called Esther and the fact that the Jewish population managed to survive a Persian king’s attempts to wipe them out about 2500 years ago.
The name ‘flódni’ most probably comes from the German version, ‘Fladen’, though it is important to note that
the German word refers to a broad, flat and thin piece of cookie, unlike the Hungarian word that is attached to a tall piece of cake that has several layers.
Interestingly, the first flódni mentioned describes the dish as having a cheese filling, suggesting that the walnut and plum jam fillings are a new addition and that the flódni that we know today is actually pretty young, 200 years at most. However, by now, it has definitely become a staple food and a popular dessert option for Jewish celebrations.
Flódni has a special place in Hungarian culture, partly because of Ráchel Raj. In 2012, she managed to win the title of ‘World’s Largest Flódni’ with her creation. The attempt at the record-breaking took place at the Sziget Festival, of all places.
For the event at the 20th Sziget Festival, Raj and her team used over 500 kilogrammes of ingredients.
Luckily, it was all worth it, and the team won the title with the dessert that was over 20 meters long.
The team of 8 worked on the challenge for a total of 100 hours. The number of flódni they made, if placed on top of each other, could have reached 96 meters, the height of the Parliament.
This cake isn’t especially difficult to make and is truly delicious – it’s rarely seen today even in Budapest, let alone outside Hungary, so I hope you will try it, Citizens!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- For the dough:
- 4 cups flour
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces and softened
- 5 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sweet white dessert wine (ideally, Hungarian Tokaji, 5 Puttonyos level or higher sweetness or use your favorite sweet white wine)
- Scant cup of red wine
- 2 ¼ lbs apples (I like a mix of Cameos, Galas and Granny Smith), peeled, cored and grated
- 7 oz ground walnuts (about 1 ¾ cups)
- 7 oz ground poppy seeds (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 jar of plum jam, about 2 ½ cups
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 tsp ground mace (TFD preferred) or cinnamon (for traditional version)
- A pinch of ground cloves
- 3 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix until incorporated. Add the egg yolks and wine and mix until a dough forms. Replace the paddle with a dough hook and knead dough on medium speed until smooth, 5-6 minutes. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic; set aside to rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into five parts, with one slightly larger than the rest. Refrigerate until the fillings are made.
- Make the poppy filling: Mix the ground poppy seeds, apricot jam, 1 tsp orange peel, cloves, with half the wine, sugar and raisins.
- Make the walnut filling: Mix the ground walnuts, 1 tsp orange zest, and the other half of the wine, sugar and raisins.
- Make the apple filling: mix the grated apples with the mace and 1 tsp orange zest.
- Roll out the largest piece of dough to be slightly larger than a 12”x16” baking pan with sides at least 3” high.
- Grease the pan with margarine and lay this first sheet of dough on the bottom.
- Spread the poppy seed filling on the first layer of dough.
- Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough, and top it with the apple filling.
- Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough and spread it with walnut filling.
- Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough and spread it with plum jam.
- Roll out and lay down the final layer of dough and brush the remaining 1 egg yolk on top.
- Bake the flodni at 350 degrees for about an hour until it is golden brown. Let cool and slice into 3-inch by 2-inch squares.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 1813.26 kcal
- Sugar: 99.75 g
- Sodium: 304.45 mg
- Fat: 75.21 g
- Saturated Fat: 21.42 g
- Trans Fat: 0.93 g
- Carbohydrates: 248.97 g
- Fiber: 24.7 g
- Protein: 33.56 g
- Cholesterol: 280.23 mg
Citizens, please note that I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc.
You can make a difference!
Please consider making a one-time donation to help keep the site live and the posts coming – click here to PayPal Me a tip!
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.