Hungary: Kifli

When foreigners think of Hungarian cuisine, goulash and chicken paprika naturally spring to mind. However, traditional Hungarian food doesn't stop at these two tasty dishes. The food of Hungary has a long history with many influences - including those from neighboring Slavic countries, Germany, Austria, and France. Paprika, Hungarians' favorite seasoning, is used generously, though mild paprika is more commonly used than is spicy paprika.

Hungarians have inherited dessert recipes and other sweet concoctions from all over Europe. Somloi galuska is a decadent sponge cake containg rum sauce, vanilla cream, and chocolate syrup. Dobos torta is another unbelievably rich sponge cake topped with caramel. Those with sweet tooths will also enjoy doughnuts, strudel, and other sweet pastries and cakes that have become integral to Hungarian dessert cuisine. A favorite is Kifli which means 'crescent moon' Hungarian, a fitting name for these crescent shaped sweets.


Step One: Mix together 1/4 cup milk (warmed to 110 degrees), 1 tbs yeast, 1 tsp sugar and set aside. Ensure it does not clump.

Step Two: Using a pastry knife, mix together 3 cups flour, 1 cup butter (cold) and a pinch of salt. Add 3-1/2 tbs sugar and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

Step Three: In a separate bowl, beat 3 egg yolks. If the yeast mixture from Step One has begun to froth, add to the egg yolks. Mix in 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Step Four: Mix the wet ingredients together with the dry ingredients. The dough should have the consistency of peanut butter cookie dough. Add flour if sticky. Knead well and let stand 2 hours in a warm place.

Step Five: Divide the dough into 5 equal sized balls. Sprinkle sugar on a board, put a dough ball on the board, and roll out into a circle about 12 inches across. Flip the dough over and put more sugar on the board. Cut like a pizza into wedges about 1-1/2 inches at widest. Put Lekvar plum jam on each wedge and roll into into a cylinder from wide edge to point. Roll in sugar. Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 F for 15 min until golden brown.

Tip: If you do not want to or cannot order Lekvar jam, you can use apricot or other jam or a combination of ground walnuts, milk and sugar.

Recipe courtesy of Professor Mark Csele's Baba!

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