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.
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 Generalissimo
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
2.2 lbs apples (I like a mix of Cameos, Galas and Granny Smith), peeled, cored and grated
7 oz ground walnuts (about 1.75 cups)
7 oz ground poppy seeds (about 1.5 cups)
1 jar of plum jam, about 2.5 cups
1 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 tsp ground mace (preferred) or cinnamon (for traditional version)
A pinch of ground cloves
3 tsp grated orange zest
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1. 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.
2. Make the poppy filling: Mix the ground poppy seeds, apricot jam, 1 tsp orange peel, cloves, with half the wine, sugar and raisins.
3. Make the walnut filling: Mix the ground walnuts, 1 tsp orange zest, and the other half of the wine, sugar and raisins.
4. Make the apple filling: mix the grated apples with the mace and 1 tsp orange zest.
5. Roll out the largest piece of dough to be slightly larger than a 12”x16” baking pan with sides at least 3” high.
6. Grease the pan with margarine and lay this first sheet of dough on the bottom.
7. Spread the poppy seed filling on the first layer of dough.
8. Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough, and top it with the apple filling.
9. Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough and spread it with walnut filling.
10. Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough and spread it with plum jam.
11. Roll out and lay down the final layer of dough and brush the remaining 1 egg yolk on top.
12. 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.