Monday, January 10, 2011

Hungarian Happiness

It's international week at cake hour!  That's because a number of our colleagues are returning from foreign lands and bringing home the goodies. Today we got a special treat of sweets schlepped back from Miskolc, Hungary.  The stuff was so impressive looking that security at the Frankfurt Airport attempted to confiscate it probably for no other reason than they intended to consume it themselves! But our intrepid colleague impressed on them that the sweets were destined for cake hour and, of course, the Germans relented rather than corrupt cake hour.
Back from the homeland!

A plate of Hungarian Delights
Gerbauds, Túró Rudi and Kókuszgolyó

What came back was quite a spread of Hungarian Happiness.  We were also very pleased and honored to learn that the featured treats were homemade by the mother and aunt of our returning colleague!  The featured item was Gerbeauds - ground walnut and jam filling between layers of sponge cake covered with chocolate. It looks a little bit like baklava but the chocolate and the jam distinguish it. This is a signature specialty of the Cafe Gerbeaud in Budapest and we are thrilled to now have experienced two of the most famous Hungarian confections - the Doboc Torta and now the Gerbeaud! Many, many thanks to Mama Derdak for taking the time to make these and for giving cake hour an international flair. Mama Derdak - mi szeretünk téged and your Gerbeauds.
Homemade Gerbauds!

Lots of layers with good stuff!

Auntie Derdak made another Hungarian specialty known as Pogácsa which seem like a type of small scone albeit not sweet. These were made, I believe, with some potatoes and cheese.  They were also very good and offset the sweet things very well.  I'm not sure if the longer version in the picture is also Pogácsa but they were very similar and also included caraway seeds or something similar. They were light and airy - sort of a Hungarian Cheesy Poof!
Different versions of Pogácsa, we think!

There was more on the sweet side, however, and that was Kókuszgolyó –  translated as Hungarian Coconut Rum Balls and as you can see they look like coconut balls. These are apparently made from crushed cookies and include some chocolate, cherries and of course rum or they wouldn't be called rum balls.  They were a little bit like a truffle but not as fatty. Nor were they too sweet which made them very easy to consume.  Another hit from the Derdak family!

Rum flavored coconut balls!
Lastly, as if all this was not enough happiness we got to try a classic Hungarian candy bar sort of.  We were told it was something very popular with children.  These were the famous Túró Rudi chocolate bars which are filled with a sweetened type of cheese or quark. (Sort of a cross between yogurt and soured cream.) The taste was not that common among us Americans and most sort of tried to figure out what it tasted like some thinking it was like sour marshmallow or tangy pastry cream.  Since it was not too familiar we may have to classify it as an acquired taste. There were plenty to go around and we even sent some home with people to give their children a Hungarian Delight. We'll check back to see what the kids thought and if they are like-minded to their Hungarian counterparts.
Bag o' Túró Rudi
Quark filled chocolate!

Quite a spread thanks and now we all want to go to Hungary!
So now there is a dilemma - we've been spoiled and now cannot let our resident Hungarian stay away for the next five years like he did the last five. Otherwise he is going to have to learn how to make all these things in the event that we get a craving for them. Thanks to him, however for this unexpected "Taste of Hungary" and to Mama and Nagynéni Derdak we say köszönöm szépen!

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