Pogácsa are delicious Hungarian snacks similar to English cheese scones but much richer. These tasty nibbles were made for me on a recent visit to my Hungarian friend Edith, who's now living in Barcelona.
I first met Edith a few years back when she was living in London. A friend of my good friend Natalie, we instantly hit it off perhaps because we are both partial to a glass or two of wine and good food. When Edith heard I was coming to Barcelona with Natalie for a few days she insisted that we both came to visit and I agreed so long as she would share a recipe with me for Friends in the Kitchen, (I can be pushy like that) and she kindly agreed. Edith's home is now by the sea about half an hour train ride from central Barcelona. Soon after we arrived we set off for a lunch at a beachside restaurant. After a leisurely meal - it's a tough life - we went back to Edith's home and to make and shoot Pogácsa (pronounced Po-gah-tcha).
Edith claims to not be a very good cook, but trust me, if these tasty little bites and the delicious smoked cheese risotto she made for supper are anything to go by, she is. She loves food and loves entertaining and having friends to stay, and she wanted to share her recipe for Pogácsa because they remind her of her home. Pogácsa are served at all sorts of celebrations, gatherings and parties and Edith likes to make them whenever she has friends around.
There are many recipes for Pogácsa but Edith likes this recipe because you just dump all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined. She evens adds the butter in one block. If you do that make sure it is soft or it will not mix in evenly. Chill, roll, cut out then bake and serve "It couldn't be easier," she says. In fact, sometimes she doesn't even roll out the dough and instead just places spoonfuls of the dough on the baking sheet.
Edith doesn't work from a recipe as she says this is so easy to remember with equal quantities of flour, butter and cottage cheese. Now I have a confession to add here, I have made these recipes at home a couple of times since and I have slightly increased the flour to 300g (2⅓ cups) as I found they kept their shape a little better if slightly drier. I did try them with as much as 350g (2¾ cups) but they started to lose some of the delicious buttery flakiness of the one's Edith had made. So I compromised. If you want to stick to Edith's exact recipe then use just 250g (2 cups) of flour.
You can also make them ready for baking several hours ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. Then you just have to pop them into the oven just before your guests arrive. Which she did!
Serve warm or cold with drinks.
- 300 g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 250 g cottage cheese
- 250 g butter softened
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 7 g sachet easy blend yeast
- a little olive oil for brushing
- Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil into a large mixing bowl and mix together with your hands until all the ingredients are evenly mixed and it forms a soft dough.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Turn the dough out onto a lighlty floured work surface and roll out until about 2cm (¾in) thick. Brush the top with a little olive oil then score a diamond pattern on the surface with a dinner knife.
- Use a 5cm (4in) round biscuit cutter cut out the Pogácsa and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Re-roll the trimmings until you have used all the dough.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
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