Last week was really eventful and full of excitements. One thing is to blog week after week in my own little world, another thing is to make a presentation about gastronomy and Taste of Memories at the university and yet another is to bake potato brioche on a stage at Bakony Expo, an event celebrating regional artisanal food.
And what if these events happen within one week? I would say it is quite exciting, and I can express with one word what I feel before: panic. I start panicking weeks before, just in case, and it comes to its peak in the last couple of days. I am like a racehorse wearing blinders: I am racing toward the finish line, writing presentation, baking and re-baking brioche that I want to prepare on stage, making lists and notes, go to bed and wake up by thinking of it. I even dream about it.
Finally challenges arrive, one milestone after the other one, than afterwards everything seems to be only flashes of unforgettable moments.
When an English professor comes to me at the end of my presentation at the university and tells that one of my references was a work of his best friend. He asks my permission to forward it to his friend, to let him know that his work is read and known in Hungary.
The moment when Áron, my boyfriend arrives at 10 am. on time at my studio ready to carry all my stuff and ingredients and a freshly baked brioche to the car and accompany me to the Expo. As always he comes with that smile of him that can calm me down even in the most catastrophic situations.
To see the members of my family who take place in the first row of the auditorium made from straw bales.
Aunt Ili, my grandmother’s neighbour for more than 50 years, who asks her daughter to take her to the Expo because she has seen me in the newspaper. My grandmother is not with me any more but when she takes my hand and tells me how proud she was of me, it is a little bit lake having my grandma on my side.
Ica, my tutor at grammar school whose grandmother’s recipe I bake at the stage. I was to busy to inform her before, but she visits the Expo exactly the time I am baking the brioche and talking about her. The mixture of surprise and joy when I receive her message with photos that she had secretly taken.
The security guards that nicely help us to get as close to the stage as possible and to whom I send some freshly bake brioche in return with Áron. (I hope you liked it!)
Kids, holding napkins in their little hands, waiting for me to slice brioche for them.
Smiles, nice, encouraging words and warm hugs.
Memories, linked to tastes.
This week I bring you another recipe that recalls memories. Mágnás pite, walnut pie is a kind of classic in Hungary, especially in Swabian families for whom having a walnut tree in the orchard was always a must. I am sure my grandmother won’t mind that I modify her recipe a little bit, I reduce the amount of baking powder, add a pinch of salt, and replace a part of the ground walnut by roughly chopped one in the filling. Instead of using a rectangular baking sheet, as my grandmother used to, I take round cake tins with removable bottom.
The base is friable, the walnut is crunchy, and the meringue is as sticky as it should be. When I bite into the first slice I am thinking that it is still worth to chase my dreams even if it means to fight with my most frightening enemies: fear, insecurity and a strict, sometimes even cruel critic: myself.
“Mágnás” walnut pie
For the dough:
300 g flour
150 g butter
100 g confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch salt
1 package vanilla sugar
For the filling:
200 g confectioner’s sugar
2 eggs, separated
100 g ground walnut
50 g walnut, roughly chopped
7 tablespoons apricot jam
butter for greasing moulds
Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Grate butter or cut it into small pieces and mix with the flour properly until it forms small crumbles. Add sugar, vanilla sugar, egg and zest and juice of the lemon and knead it until the dough is soft and smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Lightly grease seven 12 cm non-stick round cake tin with removable bottom. Divide the dough first into 6 parts, use the rest later for the the seventh tin. Roll out each piece thinly (3 mm) and line the cake tins carefully. Trim edges and prick the base with a fork. Pour a spoonful of apricot jam into each tin’s bottom. For the filling beat the egg yolks with the sugar (don’t worry, it will be a little bit crumbly) then add ground walnut. Whisk egg white until stiff peak form then fold in carefully into the walnut mixture. Divide the filling between the the cake tins (keep a little portion for the seventh!), sprinkle with the chopped walnut and knead thin sausages of the dough to decorate the top of the pies. Use the rest of the dough to line the seventh cake tin. Bake the pies for 30 minutes. Let it cool down then remove the pies from the tins.