Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hungarian Nut Bread

For most people, a traditional Easter means Easter candy and a great meal complete with a honey baked ham.   For my family, it means my Grandma's traditional Hungarian Nut Bread recipe and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut and Sour Cream.   And just as odd as you think it is to have sauerkraut on Easter, that's how I feel about all ya'lls Honeybaked Ham.  For me, not having my mom's Hungarian delicacies on Easter would be like having pheasant on Thanksgiving instead of turkey.  Confusing.   Because, really, where the hell would you even get a pheasant these days--we don't live in Edwardian England.

So, freshly dressed in our Sunday best, back from singing what were intended to be joyous hymns as off-key funeral marches as per the wishes of our choir director at Mass, my mom and I chugged some coffee and got ready to roll out the Nut Bread, just as our ancestors did in the old country.

Refueling so I can live up to the tradition of my Hungarian ancestors--Those women are "strong like bull"
My mom pretends that she knows the recipe by heart, but she totally doesn't.   She also pretends its like a family secret and now it is in fact the recipe my Grandma used when my mom was little.  It used to be, however, that my mom used to buy Hungarian Nut Bread at Big Bear until it went out of business about ten years ago and then, with no other option, she got the current recipe off this Hungarian lady she used to work with.   This lady was actually Hungarian, so much so that she had the European attitude about hygiene and sported some chronic B.O. that my mom used to complain to me and my sister about.  Finally, she ponied up and asked my Aunt Charlane for my Grandma's traditional recipe.  And we've found out its the best.   But anyway, my mom and I consulted our generations old family recipe and got to baking.

This picture ACTUALLY was not staged.   That's  just how much concentration was needed.   Also:  Those are the Cabbage Rolls simmering in the Crock Pot with Sauerkraut.

After our recipe consultation, we whipped up some egg whites while my mom scooped out the dough to start rolling it out.   I love cooking with my mom, and it's even better now that she trusts me not to eat dough and doesn't have to scare me with declarations that doing so will give me seizures (my sister believed this until college when her roommate laughed openly at her when Jeanie scolded her for inviting epilepsy by eating brownie batter).
No seizures here.
At this point, Jeanie sauntered downstairs wanting in on the action.   Probably because it would seem to the casual observer, especially judging by this picture, that I'm my mother's favorite.  So my mom gave her the job of rolling out dough, which, you know, is about on her baking-skill level because even children roll out play-dough with out much error.  Also, fun fact, my sister didn't know whether "T" meant tablespoon or teaspoon and was equally confused by "tsp".  Hah!  Dumb.

So easy a child could do it...

The next step is spreading on a delicious egg white/walnut mixture on the rolled out dough and then wrapping it all up into a delicious roll loaf.  My mom always says the consistency should be that of a "baby's bottom."

We made two rolls, baked the hell out of those suckers and as they came out of the oven they looked like this...

They kind of conjoined at some point like those twins you see on TLC specials, but they are delicious nonetheless (Trust me, I've tasted).  Guarantee they're the perfect pairing for Cabbage Rolls, and that they're way yummier than Peeps (which are GROSS unless they're stale anyway).  Yep, tastes like heritage; ox carts, and gypsies, and Dracula and superstition.  That's where my people come from.


  1. Pheasants abound in today's England, Annie. They are everywhere. We bought a couple just to try them, from a market. They were fine if you enjoy picking buckshot out of every other mouthful. First and last time for us. We'll just admire them in the fields.