Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert

Hungarian Brioches with Cottage Cheese and Raisins (Túrós ökörszem)

Nicoletta December 31, 2017

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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,, 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.

Hungarian Brioches with cottage cheese and raisins

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!).

Hungarian Brioches with cottage cheese and raisins

Hungarian Brioches with Cottage Cheese and Raisins (Túrós ökörszem)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 brioches 1x
  • Category: Brioches
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: East European


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!

Recipe adapted from Túrós ökörszem on


For the dough:

  • 250 g (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) raw cane sugar
  • 12.5 g fresh yeast (or 5 g active dry yeast)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk, organic, free range
  • seeds of a half a vanilla bean (or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)

For the cottage cheese cream:

  • 125 g cottage cheese
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) raw cane sugar
  • seeds of a half a vanilla bean
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 egg yolk (keep the other half for the egg wash)
  • a handful of raisins (optional, but so good)

For the egg wash:

  • 1/2 the yolk leftover
  • 1 tsp of the egg white leftover
  • 1/4 tsp milk or half & half


  1.  Heat up the milk. Mix the yeast, a tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour into the tepid milk, and let it rise.
  2. 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.
  3. Soak the raisins in lukewarm water and a splash of vanilla.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Place the rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let them rise for about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
  8. Make a hollow in the middle of each circle with a 6 cm/2.5 inch round cutter.
  9. Brush the top with beaten egg/milk mixture and spoon some filling in the hollows (you might have some leftover).
  10. Bake the brioches for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Let them cool on a rack, although still slightly warm they are delicious!
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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

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  • Avatar
    Reply Evelyne CulturEatz December 31, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Oh my, I am in bed getting ready to have breakfast…I am just going to head over to your place instead to have these brioche.they look amazing. I don’t remember indeed seeing them there when I was in Budapest. Happy New Year Loreto and Nicoletta.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 31, 2017 at 7:40 am

      Thank you, Evelyn! They were so good at breakfast 🙂 . Long gone, unfortunately 😉 . I know, that’s the shame, they seem to have disappeared. Happy New Year!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Korena in the Kitchen December 31, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    These are absolutely beautiful and they sound delicious! Nice work!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you! They were unbelievably delicious, I’m going to make them again and again! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Diane Galambos January 1, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Great song choice! Will try these and compare to mine – so yummy. Loved the story. Hope you get there one day!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 1, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Thank you, Diane! I love that song, and George Ezra’s voice 🙂 . I want to go, one day with Loreto 😉 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Lorraine Parente January 4, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Can ricotta cheese be substituted??

  • Avatar
    Reply Salme Woodington July 10, 2020 at 12:24 am

    Hi Nicoletta, I am reviewing recipes on your blog and came acctoss this Hungarian brioche one. They look so delicious. Could I substitute fresh yeast with dry yeast and if so, how much dry yeast? Secondly, vanilla beans are very expensive here. Can I use liquid vanilla or vanilla sugar. Again, if yes, how much liquid vanilla or vanilla sugar?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta July 10, 2020 at 7:57 am

      Hi Salme, welcome to our blog, so happy you are here. Yes, you can substitute active dry yeast, you will need 5 grams. As for the vanilla, sure, you can use vanilla extract, I would go with 1/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp, it depends on how much you like the vanilla flavor (I prefer to taste more the lemon). If you’re using vanilla sugar I would add 1 tsp, but I would also remove 1 tsp from the total of cane sugar I have listed. Happy baking and let us know!

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