Túró has long been one of my favourite foods. I guess the English translation is dry curd cottage cheese, but that doesn’t sound like something that is truly delicious, does it now? And that’s a shame because it is delicious. If you like cheesecake, you’ll love túró. Túró provides an creamy, sweet and sturdy vehicle for many Hungarian baked goods and desserts, and I am definitely going to revisit some of my childhood favourites. I love it mixed with a bit of sugar and lemon zest, and as the filling for crepes (palacsinta), or formed into balls and pan-fried in breadcrumbs (túrós gombocs).
In this recipe, túró makes an appearance to provide some texture and flavour in these biscuits, or what Hungarians call pogácsa. My grandmother was an excellent and frequent pogácsa baker, so we were lucky to grow up eating these tasty and savoury treats. I’ve been meaning to make them for a while, but was a bit daunted by the fact that it is a bit of a complex recipe and, to be frank, requires a LOT of butter. A food-share day at work, however, inspired me to go for it. I should also note that there are many, many pogácsa variations–some require yeast, some are made with lard, some are made with potato–so this is one type out of many.
Finding the dry curd cottage-cheese isn’t that hard–I found the Western brand at my Loblaws. (I believe you could also use regular cottage cheese that has been drained of its liquid.)
For my method, I mixed a couple of recipes, but my backbone recipe is from the classic tome of Hungarian cooking, The Cuisine of Hungary, by George Lang.
Oh–and, like most European recipes I’ve seen, the ingredient amounts are in weights, not volume. If you have a kitchen scale, it is very simple to bake in this way. It’s a very exact method–I’d recommend it.
Túrós pogácsa (Hungarian cottage-cheese biscuits)
Yields 60 pogácsa
These flaky, buttery biscuits topped generously with cheese make for a satisfying and truly delicious snack, or accompaniment to a hearty stew or soup.
500 g dry curd cottage cheese* (túró)
500 g butter, cold
500 g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
200 g cheddar cheese (optional, for that extra-indulgant finish)
2 beaten egg yolks
*Dry curd cottage cheese is a common ingredient in much Hungarian baking, called túró (pronounced tour-oh).
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, grate butter. Crumble the dry cottage cheese into with the butter and mix them together. Mix the butter and cheese with the flour blend. Using your hand, mix into a dough and knead for about 5 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured wooden surface, and fold it. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat kneading, rolling, and resting in refrigerator twice. (Full disclosure: because I was short on time, I only followed this step once, not three times. I know, I’m sure George would disapprove! Next time I’m definitely going to follow his advice, because some of the biscuits flopped over and didn’t rise up nice and tall, because the butter was too warm.)
When finally ready, roll the dough to a 1-inch thickness, and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Preheat oven to 375F.
With the point of a sharp knife, score the tops of the biscuits in a lattice. Beat the egg yolks with 1 tsp of water, and brush the glaze onto the biscuit tops. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake for 25 min, or until golden brown. George says: “…more golden then brown. They should look like the colour of 24-carat gold.” Because I sprinkled them with cheese, I probably covered up the possibility of the true goldenness.
Cool on a wire rack and serve as a snack, with soup, or, as George suggests, as an accompaniment with wine. Mmm. Now there’s an idea!
Serving Size 1 (28g)
Recipe makes 60 servings
Calories 110; Calories from Fat 71 (64%); 12% Saturated Fat 5.0g 24%; Monounsaturated Fat 2.1g; Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g; Trans Fat 0.0g; Cholesterol 21mg 7%; Sodium 135mg 5%; Potassium 16mg 0%; Total Carbohydrate 6.6g 2%; Dietary Fiber 0.2g 0%; Sugars 0.2g; Protein 3.2g 6%