When I was a child I loved when my grandmother made filled “Albert” biscuits. Albert biscuits are Hungarian sweet biscuits that you could (and can) get at any corner shop, and I guess each family used to have it on the shelf as a quick sweets for the family when there were no other Western options. My grandmother sticked biscuits with chocolate cream together and sliced it diagonally, so the biscuits got a nice striped pattern. I liked it so much that I didn’t mind even the waiting time it needs to soften- although I was always impatient- as children are- when it came to sweets.
Many years have passed since then and this recipe went completely forgotten until now, when I discovered it in my grandmother’s notebook. I look at the directions. I should cook a thick chocolate pudding with coffee and rum using pudding powder, then beat it with soft butter until it gets foamy. I am a little bit disappointed: pudding powder is quite handy when I am lack of time but now I was thinking about a rich, chocolaty cooked cream. I discuss it with my grandmother and it turns out that she didn’t like using pudding powder neither.
“ I think I used to cook a nice chocolate cream instead and filled the biscuits with it.”
Well, obviously it is not an accident that she is my grandmother. Or that I am her grandchild.
Of course she made the cream just following her instincts/by feeling, so I can already see this is another great opportunity for me to experiment. At this moment I haven’t known yet, that this will be the beginning of a 2-weeks-long non-stop tasting and eating of different filled Albert-biscuits for my complete family.
First I make the original version with the pudding filling, it ends in the usual result. Biscuits will soften quickly and its colour is nice dark-brown. Next step is to create a nice chocolate cream. My starting point is a chocolate sauce recipe but I reduce the proportion of milk and try to find out the right amount of butter and chocolate to it. The cream becomes a little too light so I realise I should have added more chocolate but I spread the biscuits with it and looking forward to the result the next day. The cream doesn’t taste coffee and rum is too dominant in taste.
“It is nice, but the one with pudding is better”- states Áron honestly, my mother tries to comfort me by saying “both are really tasty”. My sister is a big pudding-fan so gives her vote definitely to the pudding-filled one. I could take it bad, but actually I agree with them and I must laugh at the fact that a pudding beats a sophisticated, rich chocolate cream.
I give it another try. I make a chocolate ganache I learnt when I worked as a pastry cook and stick the biscuits with it. I need to wait another day, we test the next day. Áron says aloud what I was thinking: “It is good, it is like Prince biscuits” Fantastic. At least I know how to make home-made Prince biscuits but I am not any closer to my original mission.
I start again with the cooked chocolate cream, but this time I add a little cocoa powder and more coffee and chocolate, and skip rum. Just to be sure I make a chocolate butter cream as well and stick together another bunch of biscuits.
Next day is the big day of testing. There is a mountain of filled biscuits in the fridge and I am full of doubts.
“If this time it doesn’t work, I give it up”, I murmur although I am not easily giving things up. I take out the two test samples from the fridge and the one with the cooked chocolate cream is a love for first sight. I slice a piece and I realise that it softens much slower than the pudding-filled one (please keep it in mind in case you are going to try!) But the taste…
Standing in the middle of a ridiculous, filled-biscuit heaven I can finally say: This is it!
Biscuits filled with coffee-chocolate cream
200 ml milk
2 egg yolks
50 g caster sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 vanilla bean or 2 packages of vanilla sugar
40 ml freshly brewed espresso
100 g dark chocolate
2 teaspoons Dutch cocoa powder
100 g soft butter
2 packages of “Albert” biscuit or any kind of sweet biscuit
Mix 100 ml milk with the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder and flour using a whisk. Bring to boil the rest of the milk with the vanilla bean and chocolate. (If you use vanilla sugar, add it when the chocolate cream has already thickened and you removed it from the heat) When chocolate is completely melted, add coffee and pour it to the egg-milk mixture while stirring continuously then put it back to the stove. Cook it at low heat while stirring continuously until it thickens. Add vanilla sugar (if using) and let it cool a bit, but not completely, because if you cool it down completely, you get a different colour and consistency. ( I tried it) Beat butter until gets fluffy. Slowly add the chocolate cream and beat until it is really foamy and soft. Line a saddle of venison cake tin (or any other long-shaped cake tin) with a piece of plastic foil. Spread the chocolate cream on the biscuit and stick them together. Cover with the plastic foil and put it to cool place for a day to get soft. Slice diagonally when serving.