Hungarian Brioches with Cottage Cheese and Raisins (Túrós ökörszem) are deliciously aromatic sweet buns with a lovely topping of cottage cheese and raisins. Our last stop of "Around the World in 12 Plates" took us to Hungary!
Song of the day: Budapest - George Ezra
The year has gone fast and going around the world with the group of bloggers from "Around the World in 12 Plates" has been an exciting adventure. Our last stop of the year is still my beloved Europe, in a country, though, I've never been, Hungary.
Like most of my fellow Europeans, traveling Europe far and wide is very common. The distances are mostly short, there are many ways to travel, not only by airplane, but also by train, bus, boat, and car. So I can say I've visited my fair share of Countries, but I've never been to Hungary. My preferred way is by airplane, we have few low-cost air flight companies and to fly to a European capital is often really affordable, especially if you're willing to travel light and be open to different dates. Years ago, I used to spend my birthday traveling. I would choose a European city and year after year a couple of my dear friends would join me in my adventures. One year I was close to choosing Budapest, in Hungary, but then we decided to go to Prague, in The Czech Republic.
When I was researching some traditional Hungarian recipes, as we always do before attempting to cook something from a culture we do not know much about, I noticed many similar foods among neighboring countries of Central and Eastern Europe. I was determined to bake, but not a cake, I was thinking of a pastry or something we could have for breakfast (my favorite meal of the day). I was almost settled on Kakaós Csiga (chocolate snail), a breakfast-type pastry of spiral-shaped dough swirled with chocolate, kind of like a cinnamon roll, but chocolate (so better, in my eyes), when I encountered a website, Zserbo.com, and its traditional homemade Hungarian recipes. You all know by now, that I love to reproduce traditional, classic, Italian recipes, so the idea of making a traditional Hungarian recipe was appealing to me. I started scrolling the many recipes on the website when I saw these Hungarian Brioches with Cottage Cheese and Raisins (Túrós ökörszem) and it was love at first sight.
A quick read of the description and the ingredients and I was sold. I've learned that Ökörszem which literally means ox eye in English (and also in Italy, we have a sweet treat called Ox-Eye, Occhi di Bue) and can also refer to the small bird Eurasian wren, is a soft yeast dough pastry with creamy cottage cheese and raisin filling. But what sold me to make the recipe was the mention that these beautiful, and absolutely delicious brioches, or sweet buns, are almost completely disappearing from bakeries in Hungary. What a shame! I thoroughly enjoyed making them and eating them, either for breakfast and dessert.
Hungarian Brioches with Cottage Cheese and Raisins are fairly easy to make. Preparing the dough resembles the making of brioche, but after it has risen, the dough is rolled out and cut into rounds that are left to rest for a second rise. The dough is fragrant and light, made with flour, yeast, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and the seeds of a vanilla bean. The filling is also aromatic, with creamy cottage cheese, sugar, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and raisins.
Before the oven, the top is brushed with egg yolk and that gives the brioches a beautiful golden color. The scent, while they are baking in the oven, is wonderful: sweet, and citrusy and vanilla-y. As usual, I could not wait to taste one. Still slightly warm they are amazing. The combination of the brioches dough and the creamy filling, with the juicy, plump raisins (optional, but highly recommended) is heavenly.
I halved the recipe and after rolling and re-rolling the dough I managed to make 6 Hungarian Brioches with Cottage Cheese and Raisins and with the scraps of dough I made a little bun that it was still delicious, especially filled with chocolate spread. A light dusting of icing sugar on top gives that dreamy look and a touch more sweetness to a bun that is just mildly sweet.
I am hoping that recipes like these ones do not go lost. They are the world's heritage and in my own little way, I am trying to keep it alive. Definitely, they will be made again and again in this household, since they were very much appreciated.
Thank you, Gabby The Food Girl in Town, for your wonderful idea of this group of bloggers going "Around the World in 12 Plates". It was an exciting, fun, and learning experience.
Cheers to the year that is ending and to a new year full of adventures!
Song of the day: Budapest - George Ezra (love this song!).Print
For the dough:
- 250 g (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 50 g (¼ cup) raw cane sugar
- 12.5 g fresh yeast (or 5 g active dry yeast)
- 125 ml (½ cup) milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk, organic, free range
- seeds of a half a vanilla bean (or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract)
For the cottage cheese cream:
- 125 g cottage cheese
- 50 g (¼ cup) raw cane sugar
- seeds of a half a vanilla bean
- zest of ½ a lemon
- ½ egg yolk (keep the other half for the egg wash)
- a handful of raisins (optional, but so good)
For the egg wash:
- ½ the yolk leftover
- 1 tsp of the egg white leftover
- ¼ tsp milk or half & half
- Heat up the milk. Mix the yeast, a tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour into the tepid milk, and let it rise.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour, add egg yolk, vanilla, salt, sugar and activated yeast. Knead until smooth and pliable. Cover and leave the dough to rest for about an hour.
- Soak the raisins in lukewarm water and a splash of vanilla.
- Make the cottage cheese cream: mix together the cottage cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and egg yolk using a hand blender to make it creamier.
- On a floured surface roll out the dough to a 1 cm/half inch thick. Using a round cutter, cut out 6 x 10 cm/4 inch circles, re-rolling the scraps of dough until finished.
- Place the rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let them rise for about 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Make a hollow in the middle of each circle with a 6 cm/2.5 inch round cutter.
- Brush the top with beaten egg/milk mixture and spoon some filling in the hollows (you might have some leftover).
- Bake the brioches for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let them cool on a rack, although still slightly warm they are delicious!
- Prep Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Brioches
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: East European
Check out what Hungarian dishes our blogger friends made for the challenge:
Evelyn Culture Eatz made Hungarian Christmas Wine Soup
Bernice Dish 'n the Kitchen made Rugelach
Korena in The Kitchen made Hungarian Kifli
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.