Túrós pogácsa (Hungarian cottage-cheese biscuits)

Pogacsa

To me, nothing can quite match their flakiness and flavour.

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.

Pogacsa

These definitely bring back memories of childhood.

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.

Ingredients
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).

Method
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!

Nutrition
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%

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Certified yummy.

    -Office mooch

  2. How do you figure out the nutritional values on homemade goods? I would have thought you would need fancy computer stuffs?

    exo

  3. Thanks, office mooch. :)

    Erin, to figure out nutritional values, there are some websites that let you do it. http://www.nutritiondata.com is one, as is http://www.recipezaar.com (I use the latter.)

  4. You're making me crave these beyond belief right now. They look amazing!!! I don't suppose you could bring some along with you this weekend, hehe? Though I wouldn't be surprised if they were all gone long before then.
    xo

  5. Well well, maybe Friday night could yield some baking results. After all, you need a house-warming present, don't you?

  6. Your biscuits look incredible. I love cottage cheese too!

  7. Anonymous says:

    holy yum! Also- great idea about the nutritional info… hope you keep doing that.

  8. Oh. My. God. It's maybe a good thing we don't live in the same city, because I'd go over and stuff that whole batch in my face. Think I'm exaggerating? Try me. Really, I had no idea as a kid how good I had it on Saturday or Sunday mornings after a sleepover. Gourmet breakfast treats!

  9. Only the toportyus pogacsa is better than turos
    pogacsa.Calories would increase from 110 to 200
    easily.

  10. Ha–no pork cracklings in the house. Next time!
    Tara, next time, I shall bring. Promise.

  11. Plus I'm probably the only person to ever calculate calorie counts for pogacsa…

  12. I'm a Hungaryan women,and this pogacsa recipe are great,i would put sour cream also.
    love,Erika

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. A friend's mom used to make these for us, and I was very nostalgic for them.

  14. Hi Anna! If you were here with me right now, I would give you such a big hug and a puszi. This is the 3rd recipe I've tried in as many days for various types of pogacsa. I had to throw out the first two tries. My mom used to make the most incredible ones ever but she sadly died without passing on the recipe to me. Your recipe is PERFECT! I did exactly as you instructed and my little pogacsas rose up mighty and tall, buttery and delicious. Thanks, I am forever grateful! Annie

  15. Annie, your comment is awesome. I'm so glad to hear that! Thanks for posting. :)

  16. My family in Budapest uses this same recipe for at least a hundred years! Exactly as you have it (but without the chedder cheese). They serve it with cocktails and wine before dinner.

  17. I first read this recipe in the 1980's in a cook book in Hungary – there it was called Egyensuly vagy Mindenre jo teszta .

    My auntie jazzed it up with some ewe curd cheese .(juhturo) That was fantastic !

  18. Oh Ann, I cannot stop the Flashbacks to my childhood days in Hungary, before 1956, when sunday afternoons were get-togethers – parents chatting and we kids exploring the kitchen, following all those awsome aromas of dinner-on-the-stove and goodies backing in the oven. We got to take the batter-bowl outside and LICK the sweet coating clean. Then Töpörtyüs Pogácsa piled high on a huge platter…trying to get a handful without getting caught… then Túrós Gombóc you mention…AHHH – size of a tennis balls, golden brown crumbed… sprinkle some sugar on it and CHOMP… OH it seems like yesterday. THANKS for your Blog and bringing those days back, 55 years ago :) Kornel on L.A.

Speak Your Mind

*